on February 4, 2013
I'm kinky, poly and queer and I found this book to be useful. Yes, it's garnished with biblical quotes and marriage elitism but the five love languages I believe can be relevant to everyone nevertheless.
It kind of reminds me of the Myers-Briggs personality tests - remember those? They helped us measure how social and how intro/extroverted we are, etc. Well, it's kind of like that in this book. The author gets us to explore how we prefer to be loved so that we can communicate it better to our partner(s). Are you more likely to feel loved through touch? Gifts? Acts of service? Quality time? Loving words? A combination? Which one? What does it look like for you? What about your partner/s? Here's a whole new way to have a conversation about wants and needs!
Another tool in my toolbox!
on June 18, 2004
I lucked up on this book. I didn't read it page by page. I thumbed through the book and got the basis of the book which is simple. I do believe that many times people are thinking they are being loving but not actually giving what their partner needs. I personally believe that every couple needs all of the 5 love languages in their relationship, but some may be more important than others. It was a reminder to me to try to make a choice to give the type of love I know my partner desires. I believe that if your mate is happy and their love tank is full, they will be less likely to stray in the relationship. It is a pretty good book. It is not the bible, where every word can be held to truth, but it is good and practical. I just checked out The Five Languages of Children today. I think we should all take time to read books that will strenghthen our minds to make us better mates and better parents.
on June 3, 2004
I learned a very practical lesson from this book: I need to love people in ways they will perceive as love. It sounds simple: I don't give a T-bone steak to my six-month old boy, and I don't give books on engineering to my wife, who loves romantic novels. Yet I am often too selfish to learn what really communicates love.
The main point of the book is that "real" love is a choice, and when exercising that choice, it needs to be done wisely, by loving someone in the manner ("love language") that communicates love best to that person. And then the feelings will follow, Chapman says, since "feelings follow choice." In contrast, he says, "falling in love" is spontaneous and often irrational. So the only real romantic love proceeds from choices grounded in duty.
I call this book unromantic, and do not mean that completely as criticism. Relationships have significant components of work and sacrifice that are not always romantic.
But perhaps Chapman has gone too far.
He has de-emphasized the romantic aspects of love so much that he has in effect denied what romantic literature for centuries has taught us, and in fact, what the only Biblical book about romantic love teaches us, too: that falling in love is not an irrational response, but a choice and response based on the qualities perceived in the beloved; that it need not be temporary, but can last, in various forms, through a lifetime; and that it is a reflection of the nature of God and also his relationship to us.
The Biblical book to which I refer, of course, is the Song of Solomon. The lovers fall in love because of the qualities they perceive in each other, and the completeness they feel together. That is why the Song is filled with so much mutual praise. It is also filled with feelings of wonder and delight. When the lovers of the Song display such delight on their wedding night, the Creator Himself endorses their feelings, encouraging them to celebrate this love and enjoy it. What Chapman disdains, the Creator embraces.
Chapman says that falling in love is illusory, unreal because it is spontaneous, not arising from duty. The Song of Solomon shows quite the opposite: that romantic love is a wonderful reality; that spontaneity is part of its beauty; and that devotion arises from love, rather than love from duty. Love gives birth to acts of love like "grace" gives birth to "works" from love. And neither the acts nor works are diminished because they arise spontaneously and joyfully, with all the feelings lovers have always described.
Chapman also says that the beginning of romantic love is mostly self-centered, evidenced in part by no concern for the personal growth of the other. But nothing could be further from the truth. "In one high bound," C.S. Lewis writes, "it has overleaped the massive wall of our selfhood. It has made appetite itself altruistic, tossed personal happiness aside as a triviality, and planted the interests of another in the center of our being."
Imagine two people with no possibility of a natural attraction between themselves reading Chapman's book. Are they to believe that by following his instructions they can create romantic love for each other --not the love God asks us to show towards all, but the romantic love shared only by two? Will romantic love follow their romantic choices?
I like some of Chapman's book, but I like the Song of Solomon better. In the final analysis, it is simply more realistic. It doesn't ask me to believe that any two people, unsuitable or not, have the power to create romantic love for each other, if they so choose. On the contrary, the Song encourages us to patiently wait for its arrival, and the special person with whom we will best experience it. And it suggests that behind my joyful choice of a partner is the Songwriter's choice of a gift; that love finds me as much as I find it.
For the distinction between Christian love for all and romantic love shared by two, The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis is helpful. For the romantic aspects of love, Solomon's Song of Love by Glickman is quite refreshing.
on March 24, 2003
The book is intended for couples, but the ideas are applicable in nearly any relationship. In fact there is a chapter at the end for parent-child relationships.
The premise of the book is that each of us has a natural way of both expressing and understanding love, and that those natural ways fall into five different styles, or 'languages.' In most cases we are married to a spouse whose natural language is different from our own. So when we try to express love to our spouse in our own language, it falls on deaf ears, so to speak. (In my own case I express in 'acts of service', and my wife understands 'words of affirmation'.) The theory is that this miscommunication starves the marriage relationship. But if we were to learn which language our spouse understands, and then use it consistently, we would improve our marriages tremendously.
Yes, I read this book at the request of my wife; thus lending credence to those who claim that a man won't read a marriage book on his own. But regardless of motivation and initiative, I'm glad I read it. While perhaps walking close to the line of being too simplistic, Chapman offers an easy to understand model. And the book also strives to be easy to apply by offering plenty of suggestions to help the reader get started in doing it. Expressing love consistently and over the long haul in marriage is by no means an easy proposition, but I think this book offers great help.
on February 13, 2000
What I love about this book is that it is a resource that helps me with people in my life. The title mentions "mate," yet the book gives insight to how all of us speak different love "languages." It doesn't necessarily mean within a romantic relationship. Some people are more inclined to give little gifts when showing someone they care. These are people who usually "expect" little gifts to show them how much they are cared about. The same goes for physically affectionate people, people who believe words said are most important, and so on. This is a great gift book for those going into relationships, those suffering from a recent relationship ending, as well as those who are in a present relationship. It's for women and men equally. Read it and find out what language you speak and therefore desire. You'll probably realize why roses aren't always the answer!
on January 9, 2001
Having trouble understanding your partner? Who doesn't? But Gary D. Chapman comes to the rescue and explains us how: The five love languages. It will help you understand why things are so cocked up at home. Simply because you don't do the things that the other partner want you to do. This book explains how you can identify what that mysterious thing is! And understand what it takes to please yourself as well. Finally I get proof for not being self-indulgant for always saying "I only do the dishes because I love you" (ok, that was before I bought a dishwasher, but anyway...)
A much simpler theory and approach than the Mars and Venus books - a worthy complement. And easier to follow. It will not solve all your problems (like when we guys want to dig deep into our caves and run away for some time) but it is one hell of a good start!
on January 16, 2003
This book is an interesting but indirect approach to improving love between couples. Its philosphy of using improved love to improve lovemaking has real merit. I know that when I feel closer to my husband the sex is always better. But there are alot of non-emotional, technique-oriented factors that can contribute a LOT to having great sex, and this book doesn't go into that with any meaningful contributions. If you are wanting something of that ilk, you'd do well with the book "9 Free Secrets of New Sensual Power" or the DVD "New Free Sex" by Clint Arthur, or if you really feel like being nice to yourself, have them send you "Goddess Worship" and have your guy follow along with the guy in the video. After that it will be you Expressing!
on November 8, 2000
We talked about this book at my College Girls Bible Study, and I was intrigued by it. I am not married or even in a relationship, but I still found it extremely helpful. This book discusses the fact that people have different concepts of what "love" is. For the time being, I can apply the basic concepts of this book to any relationship, with either family or friends. I am also glad that I have read this book before starting a serious relationship because I think it will help me to be aware that I may have to show love in different ways for different people. I would highly recommend this book for anyone who is interested in learning about how to make others happy!
on December 7, 2001
This is a good book for anyone who is trying to improve their marriage. I recommend this book and "His Needs, Her Needs," by Harley, as good starting places for marriage enrichment through books. Granted this book provides an over-simplified version of love and relationships, but that doesn't make it bad. In fact, the simplicity of this book is part of what makes it such a great place to start. Understand the basics first and then move to the more complex issues. When you are ready for that I recommend "The Passionate Marriage" by Schnarch.
on October 2, 2001
This book has helped to propell our relationship forward. We understand each other much better now, speaking each other's "love language." I like the simplicity and shortness of the book. The only reason I wouldn't give it 5 stars is because Mr. Chapman gets preachy religious quotes and towards the end he sounds as if he can fix EVERY relationship with his theories, when we know that love can not be categorized black and white as the book tends to preach.