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 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.


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."

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.

Jason DeGroot

A coworker lent this to me (my coworkers are pretty aware I need all the relationship help I can get). I'd actually heard about the theories behind this one a couple years ago from a woman I was dating, though at the time it was more of a lecture. . .I digress. . .Anyway, this was another really helpful book looking at the different ways men and women like to receive love, and it again explained a lot both in regards to past relationships as well as about myself. It was really interesting reading about the frustrations Chapman's clients felt because they were truly giving what they believed to be love, but because their spouse spoke a different "language", it didn't really mean anything to them. It's good info to know and to just be aware of, and like the other relationship books I've read, most of this stuff just feels like common sense that you kind of already knew but hadn't really thought about. There was even a quiz to tell you what "language" you prefer. I found that I prefer physical touch followed closely by words of affirmation. Now I can lecture someone else about it.


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.

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.


My dad actually recommended this book to me and I finally decided to check it out from the library. Although I think my husband and I have a good relationship - it was amazing how much I learned from this book! And how I realized that by understand how we communicate differently - it could strengthen our relationship. I would recommend this book to just about anyone! A lot of it seems common sense but it's a good reminder and an eye-opener to read it.


This book was recommended to my friend by her pastor to read before she got married. My assumption was that it would be religious in tone and not very relevant to today's relationships. I'm so glad I was wrong! This is one of those books I would suggest everyone read. It is such a simple explanation of what can so often go wrong in relationships. It's not about men vs. women, it's about the way people receive love.The basis is there are 5 Love Languages (obviously). And if you speak a different love language than your partner, then you may not feel loved. The 5 Love Languages are:Words of AffirmationQuality TimeReceiving GiftsActs of ServicePhysical TouchI'm sure everyone responds to all of these in some way, but we all have a primary language. There is a great quiz in the back that can help you more quickly define yours. By reading the book, I knew what mine was, but the survey pinpointed it to a T and helped me rank mine by importance, even better than I think I could have done on my own. This book will help you in your current relationships (of all kinds, not just romantic) and any future relationships you'll have. It really pinpoints how relationships can fall apart after the honeymoon period is over, even if you still love each other. It helps you understand how to show your love for someone else in a way that they'll best receive it. I could give a bunch of examples from the book, but I want you to read it! So go get it from the library TODAY. Then share with me what your primary language is! I'd love to know everyone's. Mine is Words of Affirmation."Almost never do two people fall in love on the same day, and almost never do they fall out of love on the same day." "Love is something you do for someone else, not something you do for yourself."


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!


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.


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.


I had heard a lot about this book & decided to give it a go. It made A LOT of sense! It is all about improving your relationship with your spouse by showing your love to them in a way that resonates with them - which may be totally different than what would be meaningful to you. It was a very fast read, very easy to "get," and I have found it very insightful not only in expressing myself, but also in recognizing when my Jon Jon is being sweet to me. Sometimes it can be hard to tell. Am I right, ladies, or am I right??? Even better than reading it was getting Jon Jon to read it...he did!!! Those of you who know Jon, know it was quite a stretch to think he would read it, (have you heard him drone on about Covey?!!) but I let him know it was non-negotiable & it seriously only takes an afternoon. It was a fun challenge to try to pin-point which of the love languages we spoke. Perhaps more amazing than just reading the book is that Jon has, upon occasion, mentioned how he was specifically thinking of my love language when he did something for me. (!!!) Sweet, I know! It is such a small time commitment to read this & the concept will stick with you, so go for it!


You can read any one of the Five Love Languages and get the just of the books. It teaches you how to identify your love language and those around you. What the author states is that everyone has a major love language (love cup to be filled) as well as a minor love language. You really begin to understand why some people, including yourself, will do certain things. For example, my youngest son's love language is service. He brings me a cup of water to bed because he knows I drink water thru out the night. He likes to serve and in turn he likes to be served. That's just one example, the book explains it better.


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


I don't do self help books most especially ones that involve the word 'love'. Had it not been for a book group discussion assignment I guarantee I never would have picked up this book.I'm so glad I did! It's really fun to read. The concept is very simple and makes loads of sense. The writing is very down to earth and Chapman gives so many examples through stories that it's a very fast read.In short, he explains that everyone speaks different languages in life (Spanish, German, English, etc.) and it's the same with love. We're all raised differently and what we try to do to show our spouse/kids we love them doesn't necessarily mean they are receiving the message that we love them after all (and vice versa). We all have different love languages and he helps the reader discover what hers/his is.When I asked what my husband thought my love language is he told me, but it wasn't was actually his own love language he thought was mine and I thought his was what mine is. It was quite eye opening and I love that now that I know that I feel differently when he does certain things because I know he's trying to speak my love language...and I'm trying to speak his. We were already very happy in our marriage, but this does open eyes and make things a bit richer for us. Great book...glad I read it.

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