The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman


I first heard about the 5 love languages at an assembly talk I had organized for my school. The speaker was talking to the students on how to communicate with their parents. I found the theory quite sensible. When I set up a SFE library for my school, I decided to purchase this book for both students and parents to read.

When my friends from KL were here, I told them about the primary love language I speak to my son, Aaron. I speak the language of gift – more specifically, the gift of food he loves. My friend SF was really interested in this and we started analysing the people we know around us. I feel I am more receptive to ‘Quality Time’, while my husband Mike was more on ‘Acts of Service.’

So what are the 5 love language? They are Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service and Physical Touch.

The author, through his encounters with couples, realized that what makes one person feel loved does not necessarily make another person feel loved. He began to see a pattern to what makes a person feel loved, which falls into five categories, and he called them the five love languages.

When a couple falls in love, there is a temporary high. But ‘Real love is the kind of love that is emotional in nature but not obsession. It is a love that unites reason and emotion. It involves an act of will and requires discipline, and it recognizes the need for personal growth. Our most basic emotional need is not to fall in love but to be genuinely loved by another, to know a love that grows out of reason and choice, not instinct.’

Everyone has an emotional tank. When your love one’s emotional love tank is full and he feels secure in your love, the whole world looks bright and your love one (spouse or child) will move out to reach his highest potential. But when the love tank is empty and he feels used and not loved, the whole world looks dark and he will likely never reach his potential for good.

If you speak all five love languages, that is good, but most people have a primary love language which he is most receptive too. You will most probably speak your primary love language to your love ones, but your love one may speak a different primary love language. A woman whose love language is receiving gifts may not appreciate the husband’s love language of ‘words of affirmation.’ Personally, I yearn for more quality time with Mike but he shows his love by acts of service, although something I appreciate, I prefer otherwise. Luckily for him, my love tank is quite full, so I let it be. For other couples though whose love tanks are both empty, this can spell disaster and leads to marriage breakdown.

Rather than write from his own experience, Chapman, being a counselor, draws on his vast clientele and case studies from many couples to demonstrate his theory.

He reminds his readers that love is a choice, and we can choose to demonstrate it by speaking the love languages of our love ones. Not everyone is comfortable speaking another love language but we can choose to do it out of love.

He says, ‘We each come to marriage with different personality and history. We bring emotional baggage into our language relationship. We come with different expectations, ways of approaching things and opinions about what matters in life….We need not agree on everything, but we must find a way to handle our difference so that they do not become divisive.’ With this, love languages can actually change the course of an unloving marriage.

He answers some interesting questions at the end of the book. Questions like ‘Does your love language change as you get older?’ ‘What do you do when a spouse refuses to speak your love language even when they know it?’

I personally think a person’s love language changes as one gets older. Kids may prefer Receiving Gifts when they are young but may change as they get older.

Also, culture may also play a part. Asians are not comfortable with Words of Affirmation, as Chapman rightly points out the myth that ‘if I reward mediocrity, i will curtail the person’s aspirations to be better.’ We are also more likely to use Acts of Service or Receiving gifts than Physical Touch. This unfortunately was not addressed in the book.

This book also has a test of love language for man and woman. Or you may do it online at http://www.5lovelanguages.com/assessments/love/

I did it and made Aaron do it (for teenagers), and I was right about our primary love languages. The hard thing now is to  practise speaking all the other love languages to him as well, or he’ll never lose weight from receiving all my love language.

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About vickychong

Just an ordinary woman.
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