Is Your Love on Target? Use “The Five Love Languages” to More Accurately Deliver Your Messages of Love and Improve Your Marriage
Picture a skydiver, guiding herself back to earth, aiming for a big heart-shaped target on the ground below. As she maneuvers her parachute towards a “bulls-eye” landing, a forceful gust of wind blows her off her mark and she lands in the tall grass nearby. Have you ever had a similar experience trying to hit a bulls-eye with love?
Well, if you want to do all you can to make sure your love messages hit their mark, you’ll want to read Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate. It’s about communicating love so that the person with whom you’re communicating will definitely get your message, and you won’t be standing in the tall grass wondering what went wrong.
Below is my summary of The Five Love Languages. If you’ve read the book and want to comment, go for it! Or, tell us about another relationship resource you suggest we review for a future post. We welcome your input, so join the conversation!
Until then, may your love notes land smoothly and safely in your beloved’s heart.
In The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate, Dr. Gary Chapman clearly explains his ideas:
- According to Dr. Chapman, there are five main ways to communicate love.
- Words of Affirmation — Language that clearly communicates that we are loved and appreciated
- Quality Time — Undivided attention and focused time that shows us that the other person really cares about us
- Receiving Gifts — Things we’re given–homemade or purchased–that let us know that we’re cared for and valued
- Acts of Service — Doing things for us or on our behalf, so that we are assured that the other person loves us
- Physical Touch — Touching, whether casual or intimate, that communicates the other person’s affection for us
- Each of us has a preferred way to receive expressions of love (our “primary love language”).
- To most effectively communicate love in our relationships, we need to speak the primary love language of the person to whom we want to show our love.
Dr. Chapman also describes how some of the love languages have specific “dialects” which might be the primary way a person “hears” love most effectively. For instance, within the language of “words of affirmation” are the three dialects of encouraging, kind, and humble words. So, you might practice making gentle requests of your partner instead of being demanding or directive (gentle requests are considered “humble words”).
The book is easy to read and its ideas can be readily implemented by anyone who has the desire to create a strong marriage or other important relationship. Even before I finished the book, I was reflecting on my love languages, contemplating what my husband Bruce’s might be, and even thinking about other important people in my life and how I might communicate my love more effectively to them as well.
Who it’s for:
Though The Five Love Languages is written for married couples, I think it’s a must-have resource for anyone who wants to receive love and express love more effectively in their lives. If you’re already married, I recommend using this book now so your expressions of love can hit home right now. What’s more, as Dr. Chapman illustrates with numerous stories, couples who are having relationship problems may experience profound transformation from practicing the teachings in this book.
The Five Love Languages focuses on marriage, however, I believe that Dr. Chapman’s message is applicable to all relationships. For instance, workplaces could be more effective and rewarding places to be if managers communicated their praise in the “primary love language” of each employee. Acknowledging a staff member’s work in front of their peers for someone for whom “words of affirmation” is their primary love language would communicate “love” effectively. Telling an employee you’re taking over their job of answering the phone for 20 minutes so they can have an extra break would let them know you cared if their primary love language was “acts of service.”
Benefits galore, if you’re willing to do some work. Personally, I was excited by the idea of seeking to communicate in Bruce’s primary love language as effectively as possible. I chose to marry him in part because I loved him deeply and now I get the opportunity to show him my love in a way he really understands and takes in. So, instead of wondering why he doesn’t melt when I clean the kitchen (acts of service), I now focus more of my energy on rubbing his shoulders as he works, kissing him spontaneously, and lavishing love through physical touch since this is his primary love language. Effectively communicating your love to your mate really can be that simple and fun. Ready to give it a go?
Dr. Chapman is a pastor at a church, thus he occasionally references the Bible. If this would deter you from buying this book, I encourage you to buy it anyway. I think his Biblical references were appropriate AND, if necessary, they can be skipped over without losing the powerful message of the book.
FYI, I read the 1995 edition, published by Northfield Publishing. There is a newer edition published in 1996.