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Book Review:
The Five Love Languages
- How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate
Review by Joe Tracy, Publisher of Online Dating Magazine

The Five Love Languages

Gary Chapman

June 1995

Online Dating
Magazine Rating


The Five Love Languages Review:
Although it was published more than a decade ago, The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman, is as relevant today as it was when first published. The premise of the book is that every human being has a "love language" that makes him/her feel truly loved. For some it is when a kind word is spoken by their partner (Words of Affirmation). For others it is when their partner snuggles up to them (Physical Touch). According to Chapman, the five love languages are:

1) Quality Time

2) Words of Affirmation

3) Gifts

4) Acts of Service

5) Physical Touch

Chapman says that each person has a "primary love language" that they react stronger to than with the other love languages. A female may feel more loved by her partner when he buys her flowers versus when he tells her the meal she cooked was good. A man may feel more loved his partner tells him how impressed she is with his latest home improvement project versus when she cuddles up to him.

According to the book, once you've identified, with your partner, what love language fits you the most, then it becomes easier for each of you to express your love to each other in a way your partner understands.

I was first introduced to the concept of "love languages" about six years ago. Along with my partner at the time we sat down and went through each of the love languages and chose which one made us feel most loved. Ironically, however, I found that the love language I reacted to the most wasn't one of the five! Thus I ended up identifying my own love language - Acts of Thoughtfulness.

Acts of Thoughtfulness is when your partner does something unexpected that is an expression that he/she put time and thought into the action. For example, I once went on a road trip from California to Idaho to visit my Grandma. As I was getting ready to leave, my girlfriend handed me several wrapped packages and an envelope with instructions. I couldn't read the instructions until I stopped for gas. She had calculated the miles I had to go, miles per gallon I got on my car, and how many gas stops I'd have to make on my trip. Every time I stopped for gas, I had to open one gift (i.e. home made chocolate chip cookies, new CD to listen to, etc.). Along with the gift was a postcard (addressed to her and prestamped) that had a multiple choice question about our relationship. I had to fill in the answer and send it from the closest mailbox. If I got all the answers right, I would be given another gift upon my return!

Now something like that took her a long time to think about and plan, but more importantly that one simple act had me loving her more than ever. Suddenly a long road trip had turned into an adventure and that whole trip I found myself thinking about her and what she had done.

I also identify Acts of Thoughtfulness as little things that make life more pleasant for your partner. For example, the same girlfriend and I used to go to a particular movie theater. One day, just before a movie, she told me that the only thing she didn't like about the theater was the armrests because they were too hard and made her elbow/lower arm sore. From that point on, without ever being asked, I would rest my hand under her elbow during the movie so that she had a cushion.

A partner may see I have a headache and without being asked, come over and rub my head or bring me some water and Aspirin. This is an act of thoughtfulness and perceptive action on the part of my partner.

While I love the concept of the "Five Love Languages", it is clear to me that there are actually six and that Acts of Thoughtfulness should be included in the book. However, to his credit, Chapman does point out that there could be "numerous dialects" to each love language he talks about.

The Five Love Languages begins by discussing how many people, after they get married, see their love eventually deteriorated. Then comes divorce for many of these couples. This is where understanding your partner's love language becomes essential for a lifetime of love. From Chapter 1:

"Your emotional love language and the language of your spouse may be as different as Chinese from English. No matter how hard you try to express love in English, if your spouse understands only Chinese, you will never understand how to love each other."

The interesting element here is that just because love is best expressed to you through Words of Affirmation, doesn't mean it is the same for your partner. Thus it is vital to learn your partner's love language so that you can properly focus your expressions of love in a way that is meaningful to your partner.

For some people, it will be easy to identify what love language you possess. For others, it may take a little extra thought. Chapman devotes a chapter strictly to "Discovering Your Primary Love Language."

Chapman alludes to each person in a relationship as having an "emotional love tank" and when that tank hits empty, that's when there is danger of the relationship ending. But by understanding and speaking your partners love language often, you can essentially keep that tank near full forever.

The Five Love Languages is an excellent relationship book, because it helps you to better express your love to your partner. I highly recommend it and give the book an 8.5 out of 10 rating.

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