The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman: Summary and Lessons

According to this best seller, learning your and your spouses’s “love language” will help your relationship thrive. I enjoyed this book and would like to share some ideas from it.

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The “in love” Experience

Most of us enter marriage through the “in-love” experience. This experience can be euphoric. The “in-love” couple are emotionally obsessed with each other, thinking about each other all the time and longing to be together.

Psychologist Dorothy Tennov, has conducted long-range studies on the “in-love” phenomenon. Her studies concluded that the average life span of a romantic obsession is two years.

When falling in love has run its natural course, couples may feel deceived- did we have the “real” thing? At that point they need to learn to love each other without the euporia of being “in-love”.

“In a way, the “in love experience” seems to serve for humankind the same function as the mating call of the geese… The in-love experience does not focus on our own growth nor on the growth and development of the other person. Rather, it gives us the sense that we have arrived.”

Creating Love that Lasts

We all have a strong intrinsic desire to be intimate and to be loved by another. It is at the center of our emotional desires. Marriage is designed to meet that need in a lasting way.

True love cannot begin until the “in love” experience has run its course.

Married adults long to feel affection and love from their spouses. We feel secure when our spouse accepts us, wants us, and is committed to our well being.

How do we meet each other’s deep, emotional need to feel loved? We need to learn what is important to our spouse. Once we learn that and choose to do it, then we can share a love much deeper than any infatuation we initially felt.

Here Are the 5 Love Languages

Love Language is the language we speak when expressing love. According to Chapman’s theory, although we may speak several dialects, each person has one primary and one secondary love language.

Most of us speak in our own primary language, which may not be the same as our spouse’s. It is vital that we learn to express love in a way that will be understood.

“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.”

  1. Words of affirmation- Using language to express compliments, appreciation, and encouragement. For example, the words “I love you” or “I’m thinking about you”.
  2. Quality time- Giving your focused attention. Togetherness, quality conversation.
  3. Receiving gifts- Gifts convey thoughtfulness and effort. The gift has a symbolic meaning.
  4. Acts of service- Easing their burden of responsibilities, such as bringing hot cup of tea or doing the dishes.
  5. Physical touch- Physical contact. For example, hugs and holding hands.

“Love makes requests, not demands. In marriage, we are equal adult partners. When however, you make demands, you have become not a lover but a tyrant. Your spouse will feel not affirmed but belittled.”

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Discover Your and Your Spouses Primary Love Language-

To help you discover which is your primary love language, answer— what makes you feel most loved by your spouse? What does your spouse fail to do or say that hurts you?

To discover your spouse’s main language- What does your spouse criticize about your behavior? People tend to criticize their spouse most loudly in the area where they themselves have the deepest emotional need.

If you are still not sure, you can take this quiz. Enjoy!

Love is a choice-

After we discover the primary love language of our spouse, we make a choice to speak it. This may not come naturally to us. In fact, when an action doesn’t come naturally, it is a greater expression of love. After choosing to speak his language, his love tank fills up and he will most likely reciprocate and speak our language, strengthening our love.

“Meeting my wife’s need for love is a choice I make each day. If I know her primary love language and choose to speak it, her deepest emotional need will be met and she will feel secure in my love.”

  • Important Disclaimer— I read an amazon review on this book I agree with completely claiming that this book is only useful when you have a normal, non abusive spouse:

“It turns out, when your significant other is verbally and mentally abusive there is no book that can help you. With a normal person, this book will help you understand the way your partner thinks.” ~amazon review

Jewish wife and mother, pursuing a life of happiness and meaning