The Five Love Languages

ISBN: 0805498621
ISBN 13: 9780805498622
By: Gary Chapman

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About this book

Are you and your spouse speaking the same language? While love is a many splendored thing, it is sometimes a very confusing thing, too. And as people come in all varieties, shapes, and sizes, so do their choices of personal expressions of love. But more often than not, the giver and the receiver express love in two different ways. This can lead to misunderstanding, quarrels, and even divorce.Quality time, words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, and physical touch are the five basic love languages. Dr. Gary Chapman identifies these and guides couples towards a better understanding of their unique languages of love. Learn to speak and understand your mate's love language, and in no time you will be able to effectively love and truly feel loved in return. Skillful communication is within your grasp!

Reader's Thoughts


I was tempted to not give this book a high rating because I do not like self-help books and especially marriage advice type things. So many people recommended this book to me that I wanted to read it just so I could have an opinion on it and I have to say that I think it is pretty useful. It is definitely cheesy and certainly oversimplified, but the author is on to something. I have been trying this out not just on my marriage, but also with my children and other relationships and it's just nice to know that people speak different "languages" or whateve you want to call them when it comes to feeling appreciated/loved. I do not think that there are only 5 and I do not think people have just one or two, but it's good to know that it probably isn't the one you are using and to try to observe and use different ways of communicating. My other criticism is that Gary Chapman never even mentions gender differences and I am sort of relieved that he doesn't because I would be worried that they would be oversimplified. But I do think that a lot of miscommunication happens along gender lines. All in all, I liked it and I would recommend it to anyone in a marriage or any type of relationship--not as the only tool, but as a useful one, in trying to understand and appreciate your spouse/significant other/child.


Honestly, this could be a 5 star book, but the last 50 pages get really preachy. As in, "You are more likely to find and keep the love of your life if you already love Jesus."The 5 love languages themselves were the best and most interesting part of the book. I was constantly thinking, "Of course! That's why this thing works and that thing doesn't!"Now, if your partner happens to be a philosophy might have more problems getting the ideas in this book across. There's not much in the way of "shades of grey" in this book. He says, as far as I can tell, ONE TIME that you could be "bilingual". Otherwise, you get one love language, and that's it. The rest of them will only kind of work on you.That sweeps a lot of problems people have right under the rug, I feel.All the same, my partner and I had some good conversations about this, and even though our relationship isn't anywhere near some of the disasters that are talked about in this book, I am sure it will help us never get to that point.Recommended for anyone who has problems expressing love.-----------------I'm having a really hard time deciding on a rating for this. Objectively, it should probably be 3 stars. The author is very sure of his own importance and correctness throughout the entire book. At one point, he quotes a study saying that the "in-love" feeling lasts 2 years. That study is never mentioned again, but the in-love feeling lasting 2 years is quoted as truth from there on out.Every conversation is stilted and full of "But Dr. Chapman! How could this ever work!" Well guess what, they came back 3 months later and called me a miracle worker!Yes you are very special, Dr Chapman, good job.I am afraid that someone reading this who has no background in psychology or philosophy or morality in general, would find it very easy to take everything he says at face value and not look beyond it. I am lucky to have a partner who wants to discuss things critically, but when he first brought up criticisms I got rather emotional and said I felt he wasn't taking me seriously.Relationships are powerful things and I think this book could really help some people who want or need more from their love life. I just want everyone to go into this knowing that there's more here than meets the eye and to think about it.-----------Update March 2, 2014Although my star rating has steadily decreased, I am still finding myself referring to this book. Mostly it is internal, but I really do feel like I have been nagging my partner less. I hope he doesn't tell a different story, but I am TRYING.I am bringing this book up again now because I just had a really great conversation with my dad. We don't see each other much (I hang out with my mom way more), and we have drifted apart over the years. He just took me out to lunch, where he mostly talked about his newest interest, bicycling on gravel. Which sounds absolutely horrible to me. We got to talking about my mom, and how she is obsessive when it comes to keeping the house clean. Like, it's not unusual for people to visit their home and ask if they just moved in because it is so spartan. They've lived there for 20 years.That got me talking about my cleaning habits, which are nowhere near my mom's standards, but I do like the apartment being picked up and presentable. I've been working 60 hours a week for the past 4 months, with only one day off a week. I have been coming home, throwing my shit down, eating a quick frozen burrito, and flopping into bed because I just worked for 14 hours. Needless to say, the place looks like a disaster area within a day or two of me cleaning it.Which brought me to my partner. It bugs me how much I've been working and how I feel he has been doing very little to help me around the house. Like even though I'm the one busting my ass, it's still my job to keep the place clean.I told my dad all this, then mentioned how I had read this book. I briefly went over the 5 love languages. My mom's love language is obviously acts of service. It means a lot to her to come home to a clean house. Mine is quality time. My partner's is physical touch. Then I said, "I'm not actually sure what yours is." It surprised me, but he actually looked thoughtful. This is totally not his thing, to talk about this kind of stuff. After a moment he said, "What means the most to me is that everyone in our family is always there. You can be flaky, but when I really need it, someone is there. It means a lot to me to be able to rely on that."I kind of felt like crying, really, because my dad is not an open person, and I felt like him saying that was some kind of break through.It doesn't really fit into any of the love languages, but I realized it doesn't really have to. This book is just a guideline, but it is still helping me define the love in my life.


I read this book for a class at BYU once. It talks about five love languages (giving gifts, quality time, acts of service, touch, etc...) and how you have to figure out what yours are, and what your partner's are. If your love language is gifts, so you keep buying your spouse presents to make him happy, but he really is more of a touching person, but you never touch him, your marriage will suffer.It makes some good points. Try to love your partner how THEY want to be loved, not the way you think they should want to be loved. It's also a good book to have read, because people reference it all the time.I am not a "gifts" person. Neither is my sister, or my family. It works out great. At Christmas we just say, "I don't want anything if you don't." Then we don't give each other presents. If we find something truly awesome, that we really want to give, and that the other person will genuinely like, we give it. But we're not mad if we get nothing in return. My husband has found this baffling, but has started to accept it over the years.His family, on the other hand, is way into giving gifts. I can't tell you how much crap we have that we'll never use that is stored away in boxes, just because it was a "gift". Oh, it drives me crazy! And my husband keeps bringing me flowers, even though I keep super nicely reminding him that he never has to bring me flowers ever again, as long as we live. I even told him, "Just come home from your business trip and tell me, 'Abby, I passed some flower stand at the airport and thought about buying you flowers, but I didn't". I would be so happy! Way happier than if he had bought them, because I'd still have $25.Maybe I should pull out this book and explain that my love language is NOT gifts.


I was standing between aisles in the bookstore trying to figure out where I wanted to go when an employee of the bookstore escorted a young woman past me to a shelf where the young woman pulled a book off and clutched it to her chest as if it was her most prized possession. The young woman was so excited to have found this book. After seeing her body language, I decided to pull the book off the shelf and read it no matter what it may be. When I pulled it off the shelf and saw the title and the purple cover with a couple walking down the beach with some frilly text, I momentarily balked at my decision to read it without seeing what it was first. It kinda felt like the time I was in 6th grade and was sent to the store for the first time to buy tampons for the women in my home. Okay, it wasn't near that bad, but I was just glad nobody was behind me at the register. This book is the key to the universe for committed couples. Seriously. Everyone should read this. Everyone. There are five major "Love Languages." It's imperative for your mate to express their love to you in your primary love language. We all express love in different ways. You typically express love in your primary love language, but your love language may not be your mate's love language. You need to love them the way they need to be loved. This does not refer to the "in love" period, which the books states is on average 2.5 years long. During this period, for a number of reasons, people don't see people for who they really are - love truly is blind. This book is about what happens AFTER that.

Megan La Follett

One of the most practically useful relationship books I have read. I think his explanation of the difference between being "in love " vs choosing TO love is spot on and deserves a lot of thought. Reading this book has encouraged me to deeply consider how I have shown my love to family and friends, and I realize I have not spoken the right love language to many of them. I am grateful to discover this so I can make sure to show them love more effectively in the future! And as a parent, I will be reading the Five Love Languages for Children as soon as possible!

David Reber

Love is a many splendored thing and it is also a full-time job. Actually, it is my primary full-time job and everything else I do are just side jobs. Along with the two Eldredge books (Wild and Captivating) this is the third book TheRedHead and I have listened to on audio in as many weeks. We have had some good couple time in the car going to Kentucky and then Alabama and these books were great for us to consume and then discuss.I read this book six years ago and listening to it again was a good refresher on what I need to do to keep her love tank full. Her primary is Quality Time and secondary is Acts of Service. My primary is Physical Touch and secondary is Words of AffirmationWe also identified Reber2's primary love language and realize we need to do more to fill his love tank with quality time. His primary is Quality Time and secondary is Physical Touch. Funny how the boy's two are his parent's primaries.


I loved this book! Before reading I had considered the premise to be very basic, common-sense knowledge and didn't think the book would tell me anything I couldn't have figured out on my own. Five love languages, not everyone speaks the same love language....ok, well as long as you know what they are, shouldn't have to read the book, right? Wrong. Gary Chapman's years of marriage counseling have brought him invaluable insights that EVERYONE should be privy to. I'm not just talking married couples, I'm talking parents, children, friends...anyone in any relationship should know this stuff. Chapman explains what each love language entails, and gives examples of some of the "dialects" in each language (for example, quality time may mean quality conversation.) And then he tells you very specifically what you can do to learn to "speak" each love language. There are books geared towards different types of relationships that are probably worth taking a look at, too...but this one is fantastic!

Heather Murphy

This is an entertaining, well-written book from the perspective of a therapist who shares interesting stories about his patients and thier love problems and solutions.This book has potential to help people better understand those they love and to show love to them in ways they can feel/understand (I'll suggest a much better book below that does this).However, I worry that this book would do more harm than good since in it it says that a man's love language may be sex. How twisted is that??? And very dysfunctional! This could cause a wife to "do her duty" instead of viewing sex as a mutual concent action to unify the marriage and strengthen the couple.Also, another HUGE problem with this book is that it implies that others are supposed to "fill your love bucket." Which is VERY dysfunctional as well. If you desperately NEED someone, that's not love. That's need! A healthy love is where two people are already secure with theirselves by themselves (or with the help of God) and then they can give from their already full love buckets freely. It is not the responsibility for others to fill you up! You need to take charge of your own emotional health. Then you can share freely and not be a wiggly, needy scrounge for love.I suggest reading a much better book that promotes healthy interactions with others. It teaches to give love freely from your full love bucket (and how to get a full love bucket without relying on the actions of others). Although it is not as well written gramically as this 5 languages, it is the best! It is called: How I got this Way and What to do About it by Dr. Ellsworth. It has an amazing chart in it with a much better breakdown of love languages.The children's book The Missing Piece Meets the Big O by Silverstein addresses this issue about giving love from your fullness instead of taking love from others or trying to fill in their holes as the 5 love languages promotes.


Audio Book Review: The Five Love Languages by Gary ChapmanOnce you get past the fact that Dr. Chapman sounds a lot like Dr. Phil, and mixes in a fair amount of religious talk at the beginning and end of this book, The Five Love Languages is actually a really interesting way of looking at our relationships with others (both romantic and non-romantic). In the book, Dr. Chapman reveals that people express and receive love in different ways. Because of this, even in some of the most loving relationships, one or both parties may not feel loved because the way the love is expressed isn’t necessarily in a “language” the other is receptive to. In other words, we feel most love when the other person is expressing their love in a way that is important to us.There are 5 main love languages: Physical Touch, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, and Quality Time. Physical Touch means that a person feels loved through hugs, pats on the back, hand-holding, back massages, hair stroking, and other thoughtful touches. An affinity for physical touch isn’t synonymous with wanting to get it on all the time. Sure, that can be part of it, but just being near someone can be enough to show them they are loved. Thus, when a loved one never initiates any sort of touching, someone who values physical touch may feel unfulfilled.Words of Affirmation focuses on encouraging words. People with this love language feel loved when others complement them, verbally express their love, and give them meaningful praise. These people are thus very sensitive to criticism and insults.Acts of Service is all about expressing love by helping others. These people feel loved when others offer their unsolicited assistance and do things to make their partner’s life a little bit easier. So, being lazy and not offering to help with chores around the house sends the message that you simply don’t care.Receiving Gifts is not the same as materialism. Rather, people with this love language love the thoughtfulness and effort behind the gift. The type of gift doesn’t matter. Bringing home a person’s favorite candy after work or making something heartfelt is just as appreciated as something expensive – especially when finances are an issue. Every-day, simple gestures really communicate to these people that others love them.Quality Time is the final love language. These people yearn for the undivided attention of those around them. That means no TV, no cell phones, no computers – just enjoying each other’s company and the chance to talk without interruption. Doing new things together or having a date night with a loved one are more meaningful than anything else.This book was really enlightening; I understand now where the miscommunications in some of my relationships have stemmed from. Throughout the book Dr. Chapman shares many stories about how doing a six month experiment in trying to speak your partner’s love language has saved hundreds of marriages and led to more fulfilling relationships with all types of people – parents, children, friends, etc. (Chapman also has written books for the love languages of the office, children, and teenagers). Sure, at first it may take extra effort to communicate your love in a way that doesn’t come naturally to you, but he promises the payoff will be worth it, and all things considered, what do we really have to lose by trying it out? I highly recommend anyone to check out this book (he also writes a book geared towards guys for those reluctant male readers). You can probably skim through the first couple of chapters though, and get to the good stuff when he actually starts talking about what the love languages are.Final Rating: 4/5 stars


My mother in law gave me this book and I hesitated reading it because it sounds so cheesy (and just take a look at the cover--how dorky!) But I was stuck on vacation with nothing else to read so I reluctantly gave it a try. In a nutshell, this book has changed my life. Page after page I found myself wanting to yell, "yes! Thats exactly right!" If I could give this more than five stars, I would. Okay, maybe "changed my life" is a bit strong, but it has certainly enhanced my marriage like nothing else I've ever read or done.The advice this author gives is so profound and universal, it can be applied successfully to any deep relationship you have (children, parents, close friends). I just can't recommend it highly enough. Every couple, whether newly together or old marrieds, could benefit from this book.


We were given this book as a wedding gift but I didn't get around to reading it for almost 9 years. And when I finished it, I wished I hadn't waited so long. This is another book that can help you identify more effective ways of relating to loved ones. It gives suggestions for using it's tips and lays out how to change the way that you deal with other people. So often we show love and are angry or at a loss as to why it isn't appreciated or accepted. The jist of this book is that you have to show love to people in a way they understand rather than in the way you like. It makes loving some people more difficult for you because you aren't used to showing love that way or you find it hard or uncomfortable. But when we truly love someone, they will feel it more readily when spoken in their "language."

Joe Wisniewski

Everyone has "the" relationship book. This book will NOT automatically solve all relationship problems. People have to want to work on things; have to want to communicate needs and expectations. Having said that, I have not seen a better way to tie in to your significant other's point of view, then trying to understand how THEY need to have love expressed. But even more importantly, maybe, is looking at ourselves and seeing how we automatically expect others to "get" love the way that we need to 'get' it. Which is simply not the way it works.I was especially enlighted when Chapman talks about the difference between love as a "feeling" and love as an "action". The latter is what Christ is asking us to do.I had previously read the "Peacegiver". These two books together would be an excellenet companion set.


I highly recommend this book for ANY couple. Married, engaged, dating, gay, straight. It matters not. I even recommend it if you're single. My husband and I were on the verge of divorce, even separated, but after some counseling and reading this book it has helped us out tremendously! I bought a copy for my mom, sisters, and brother because I think it is that important to read his book and understand your significant others love language.

Matthew Moes

The author says love is a choice. He says that the infatuation that people experience in the beginning of the relationship is not real love. It is something else. Real love takes work while the infatuation period is instinctual and effortless. But isn't it the stuff we dream of and wish would last forever? Can we really accept that we will only get that chance at the beginning of the relationship and that thereafter, in order to remain monogamous, we must accept that it is not for us to feel ever again? It explains a lot. But I accept his theory with the angst of a romantic.Yet anyone who is married and holds married life as a value that must be maintained must at some point consider the notion that making the marriage work after the honeymoon can be a matter of personal choice. And in so choosing, there are actions that communicate that willingness to different people psychologically. These are the five love languages that the author discusses: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Giving Gifts, Acts of Service, Physical Touch. I will not go into any details of what is meant by each of these here. The titles are somewhat self-explanatory, with the exception of the last one, which does not necessarily refer to sex. The author explains each love language along with the concept that most people are chiefly responsive to just one. He also discusses how to determine your own as well as your spouse's, and even provides some optimistic advice on how to practice the love languages with an unreciprocating partner. Despite the author's Christian underpinnings, as a non-Christian, to me this did not detract from the relevance of the author's ideas.In fact, these "love languages" are not confined only to the marriage relationship, but may also serve to strengthen bonds with children - or perhaps any other person you need to communicate your love and support for. I especially found the chapter on children the most valuable because it not only expands the concept beyond the marriage relationship, but also drives home the point. We might have a choice as to whether we wish to stay married or not - but our children are ours forever.And this brings me back to the point about marriage. Far from being ready to claim mastery of the ultimate male-female partnership, I have reflected upon it a great deal. In an age where the divorce rate challenges the age-old institution upon which the family is built, one must ask how marriages were ever successful in the past. Some may point out that they really weren't, but that society simply forced two people to be miserable by making it taboo to separate. And this then begs the question, why would the world's varied cultures and divinely inspired religions condone this relationship again and again? In fact, I would venture to point out that for the vast measure of our recorded history marriage has not only been a standard, but has also been traditionally arranged! What ancient wisdom allowed such "life-sentences" to form such a firm foundation for the basic building block of society?I suspect the answer lies right here in this book. As hard as it may be to admit, the commonplace yearning for finding a new and exciting fling is quite likely an unfortunate addiction to a desire that in its very nature is meant to be only a temporary rush that pulls two people inexplicably together at the heart during their initial engagement. It is later, through maturity and insight into what makes the other person tick that we can choose to make each other perpetually happy and foster the bonds of enduring love. This book provides some valid insight into this process. It is light and easy reading that I think every couple should invest some time into, again and again.MM March 1, 2005

Chad Warner

This book is unsurprisingly “touchy-feely”, but it contains insightful and practical lessons about love in marriage. Chapman says that people express love in five broad ways, or “love languages”, and he shows how to determine and speak your spouse’s love language. Chapman stresses the importance of communication and expectations in marriage. The book is mostly about love between spouses, but there’s a chapter near the end applying the lessons to parent-child relationships.It sounds cheesy, but the main concept is that each person has a “love tank” that must be filled for a person to feel loved. Your goal in marriage is to keep your spouse’s love tank full by speaking their love language. I liked Chapman’s idea of a Love Tank Game in which spouses ask each other each evening after work, “On a scale of 0 to 10, how full is your love tank? What can I do to fill it?”My pastor recommended this book during premarital counseling. My wife had already read it, and recommended it as well. Chapman is a Christian and he references the Bible throughout the book, but the lessons apply to anyone regardless of religion.The 5 Love LanguagesWords of Affirmation: praising & complimentingQuality Time: undivided attentionReceiving Gifts: spontaneous giftsActs of Service: chores and errandsPhysical Touch: hugging, kissing, sexClues to determine your love languageWhat you ask your spouse forHow you express love to your spouseWhat you love or hate about your spouseTake the quiz at reading the book, I guessed that my primary love language is Words of Affirmation or Quality Time. According to the quiz, my languages rank as Quality Time, followed closely by Words of Affirmation, then Acts of Service, Physical Touch, and Receiving Gifts. I’m a minimalist, so gifts aren’t very important to me. A good point for me to hear was that even if you’re frugal and rarely buy yourself gifts, you’d do well to buy gifts for your spouse, if gifts are her love language. It’s not about you, it’s about your spouse.Additional notesRequest, don’t demand that your spouse perform acts of service.Don't give advice unless you’re asked for it; just listen and sympathize.

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