Quality time. Words of affirmation. Physical touch. Receiving gifts. Acts of service. These are the five ways that people give and receive love according to relationship counselor Dr. Gary Chapman. This book guides you in how to “fill the love tank,” as Chapman words it, of your partner by learning how to assess the way your partner wants to receive love. By knowing which love language your partner speaks (i.e. which way they want to receive love), you can improve even the healthiest of relationships.
Originally written in 1992, the book still remains relevant today. The success of this work is evident in that it has been translated into 49 languages. Chapman admits that he was hesitant to let the book be translated since it was written with a Western-centric perspective, but to his delight and surprise, his theory on the five languages of love has become hugely popular internationally as well as domestically.
I listened to this entire audiobook in slightly over a day. Granted it’s not a long book, consisting of only four CD’s, but I couldn’t pull myself away from it once I started listening. I found this book to be incredibly insightful and the tips throughout make it not only a book of theories but a guide book for how to improve your own relationships. It is applicable to everyone who loves anyone, whether romantically or otherwise. I am not a self-help book kinda gal, but I fully intend to re-read or re-listen to this one every few years to be reminded of its wisdom. My only beef with the book is that Chapman starts to incorporate God into the book as it progresses. While this may appeal to some and actually improve their stock in his words, it could also have the opposite effect of alienating non-Christians who were at first finding insight in his advice.
Immediately upon finishing The Five Love Languages, I went on to the Johnson County Library website and requested other Gary Chapman audiobooks. He has several interesting books on relationships and how to communicate with and better love your partner, but interestingly, he has also branched out with books on parenting and work relationships. If you find wisdom in Chapman’s advice and appreciate his writing style, try reading Rising Above a Toxic Workplace: Taking Care of Yourself in an Unhealthy Environment or Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World.