What is the one major thing you struggle within your relationship?
Picture it in your mind.
Feel the stress.
Feel the frustration, the desperation and the urge to fix it.
Imagine you hold the answer in your hands and carefully, like a balm, you spread it over your relationship problem and never look back.
That’s Not What The 5 Love Languages Will Do For You!
Written 1995, almost 25 years later, The 5 Love Languages is one of the most popular relationships books ever.
That’s why I ended up doing this yet-another-the-5-love-languages-book-review.
People crave its magic powers, read it before they go to sleep, swear by that it saved their marriages and praised it as the best thing ever written on the matter.
What is this magic they see in the book?
Is it really applicable in every tough situation?
Even in yours?
Let’s find out!
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The 5 Love Languages Book Review
Gary Chapman’s main idea behind his masterpiece is this:
We all have our own love language – the language we understand and speak. If I start talking in French to you, no matter what, you would never know what I’m trying to tell you unless you speak French too.
Gary claims it’s the same with love.
No matter how many times per day you show your love and affection to your partner, they will never understand you if that’s not their love language too.
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Do you recognise yourself in this story:
You spend your days cooking and cleaning, running after the kids, preparing lunches for everyone in the house, looking after the dog, the cat and the man in the house, you might be 100% convinced that you show your love and appreciation to your husband.
And you will be right.
I mean, you wouldn’t do these 1000s of things daily just because you’re bored, right?
Then, one evening, your precious one looks into your eyes and says “I don’t feel like you love me anymore.”
Your jaw has dropped so low that’s closer to the centre of the Earth than to your face.
Your heart is racing and threatens to jump out of your chests, and you change all the shades of red while your mind plays like a movie all of the ways you showed him love today.
What about yesterday: you did so many other things…
He went to work, came back. He circled you for a while, hoping for a piece of meat to touch and kiss, and then spent the evening in front of the TV. How rude!
After a few deep breaths, you manage to ask him why he doesn’t feel loved anymore. He starts explaining things about sex, kisses and sexy lingerie and you are convinced you married a blind fool.
Why can’t he see and appreciate all the thousands of other things you do?
Why doesn’t he realises that because of all these thousands of other things you don’t have time for a proper shower and deep 7-hours of sleep? The last time you really wanted to put on sexy lingerie was when … you need a little bit of time to answer this.
You end up fighting, fully convinced he doesn’t realise how much you sacrifice yourself for this marriage.
He falls asleep with the knowledge he won’t get sex for the next month and a half.
You are both angry.
Yet, you still love each other.
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The Greatest Challenge in Solving a Relationship Problem
One of the biggest challenges, when I deal with relationships, is to work with both sides… when both sides are right. At the same time.
Yes, it happens more often than it doesn’t.
Yet, the answer always seems so easy.
The simple skill we learn all of our lives and never truly master.
One of the greatest writers in the world, Fyodor Dostoevsky said: “Much unhappiness has come into the world because of bewilderment and thing left unsaid.”
George Bernard Shaw writes: “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
Going back to The File Love Languages by Gary Chapman, I cannot ignore the opportunity to let you know that the whole book is a thorough lesson in effective communication.
It is not just a simple list and explanation of the five love languages people speak, but an interactive and convincing story of how relationships start right and end up wrong. While love is still on the table. And that’s the weirdest part.
Because, how many times you’ve witnessed (or been part of) a relationship where both people claim they love but aren’t loved?
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A Short List of The Five Love Languages
In a nutshell, the 5 love languages are:
- Words of Affirmation
- Quality Time
- Receiving Gifts
- Acts of Service
- Physical Touch
Can you guess what the languages are in the story I told you above?
If you recognised yourself in it, your love language is Acts of Service, and your partner’s love language is Physical Touch. None of you knows that, but both of you expect the other to “talk” the same language.
You want your partner to help you around the house and instead of keep kissing and hugging you exactly when you do the dishes, to tell you that tonight he will do them. At the same time, he expects you to giggle and answer his kisses and hugs even though you are doing the dishes. Actually, if you leave the damn dishes in the sink and jump on the sofa with him, watching TV while hugging each other would be perfect.
As simple as that!
Is There A Way To Fix A Problem That Doesn’t Exist?
Miscommunication and misunderstanding are serious battles where we fight mostly ourselves.
Step 1: Find out what makes you feel loved.
As Gary Chapman explains in the book, most of us “speak” more than one love language. His book will help you find out if you too, speak more than one language and which. I had to go twice through the love-languages section to find out for sure what my second language is. It’s tricky, you know?
Step 2: Find out your partners love language.
I bet this will be easier than finding out what your language is. As Gary says: just focus on what your partner complains about that’s missing. Not 100% applicable, but helps. It’s funny how we know the other better than us, huh?
Step 3: Learn each other’s love languages and start practising.
If you are looking for quick-fix of your relationship or marriage problems, you won’t find it in here.
You won’t find it anywhere and shouldn’t believe anyone who tells you they have your quick-fix.
Work, work, work, work
There’s one thing you cannot buy, steal, force to create or fake.
And that’s real love.
If you want to have the great relationship you had at the beginning, you have to work on what you have today. Model it, redo it, nourish it, wake it up, love it. Work your way through it. It’s worth it.
And that’s where The Five Love Languages book will help you the most. Hands up – if you struggle with anything in your relationship, I am positive this book will help you get the clarity and the extra push you need to be happy again with the love of your life.
Short Book Overview: The Five Love Languages gives answers to the questions why the same actions, words and activities have a different impact the couples. Each one of us gives and receives love differently. When the two parties of the relationship express and see love in a different way, the misunderstanding keeps them “blind” for the other’s love. Therefore we must be aware of what our partner’s love language is and to “speak” this language. At the same time knowing our love language will make it easier for our significant ones to express their love for us.
The book in one sentence: Express love in a way it will be felt and understood by the other.
Other Books by Gary Chapman: