Five Languages of Love, The Best-Seller Summarized

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One could suppose that the well-known book entitled The Five Languages of Love: The Secret to Love that Lasts, written decades ago by Gary Chapman, remains a best-seller because we're all wanting to really feel loved — and part of his book’s title, The Secret To Love That Lasts, sort of promises that — though are we sure any book can deliver?

Setting that aside, Chapman helps us out in the Simplicity Department because, as he says,

"After thirty years of marriage counseling, I've concluded that there are basically five emotional love languages — five ways that people speak and understand emotional love."

The Five Languages:

  • Words of Affirmation: Expressing affection through admiration or appreciation.

  • Acts of Service: Doing things for the other are used to show and receive love.

  • Gifts: Gifting expresses the love.

  • Quality Time: Showing affection with undivided, undistracted attention. (iPhones down.)

  • Physical Touch: Anything from a touch of one's hand to hugs to snuggling to foot rubs to making whoopee.

The Goal

The goal is two-fold.

One) How do you typically show and prefer to receive love?

Two) Likewise, how does your partner typically show and prefer to receive love?

Answer those two questions, and we begin to receive love in a way that resonates with us, and in ways that mean the most to our partners too. At least, that's Chapman's advice, and it's good advice.

Where one might nudge the notion a bit is that we also try to appreciate how, all along, our partners have been saying "I love you."

Sure, it’s maybe been in their preferred way, not yours. But, still, think of it like this: you’ve been waiting for the sound of a labrador going Woof Woof, not realizing that, all along, your partner's language has been one of a pug going Bau Bau.

That said, it’s not enough to just stick with our own way of Woofing or Bow-wowing. For a relationship to thrive, we want to learn how our partner’s most hear I love you.

Again, what’s their language of love?

You can probably guess yours or maybe even your partner’s language just by reading the list above, but Chapman created a quiz on his website if you’re so inclined. The quiz ranks which language-styles mean the most to you.

A Sixth Language: Curiosity

Either way, using the five languages as a means of self-awareness leads to more curiosity about ourselves and others. And, that's a sixth language that, perhaps, might be even more vital than Chapman's five.