The 5 Love Languages

Ever feel unloved, in spite of what your spouse regards are valiant attempts to show you affection? Does your husband or wife ever complain that you’re emotionally distant, yet you’ve been striving to demonstrate your devotion in ways that make sense to you? The likely reason for these crossed wires is that you are both communicating in different “love languages.” Dr. Gary Chapman’s life-changing book, The 5 Love Languages, enlightens how we meet each other’s deepest emotional needs, positing there are five principal love languages, or, ways to communicate and feel love. Here’s the breakdown of these five key love languages:

Words of Affirmation

Quality Time

Receiving Gifts

Acts of Service

Physical Touch


What do these mean?  Here’s a brief outline of Chapman’s explanations of each love language:

Words of Affirmation: “Verbal compliments, or words of appreciation, are powerful communicators of love. They are best expressed in simple, straightforward statements of affirmation. Giving verbal compliments is not the only way to express words of affirmation to your spouse. Another dialect is encouraging words… Encouragement requires empathy and seeing the world from your spouse’s perspective” (37, 40, 42).

Quality Time: “… Sitting on the couch with the TV off, looking at each other and talking, giving each other your undivided attention. It means taking a walk, just the two of you, or going out to eat and looking at each other and talking” (55).

Receiving Gifts: “A gift is something you can hold in your hand and say, “Look, he was thinking of me,” or, “She remembered me.” The gift itself is a symbol of that thought. It doesn’t matter whether it costs money. What is important is that you thought of him” (76).

Acts of Service: “Such actions as cooking a meal, setting a table, washing dishes, vacuuming, keeping the car in operating condition, paying the bills . . . are all acts of service. They require thought, planning, time, effort, and energy. If done with a positive spirit, they are indeed expressions of love” (91).

Physical Touch: “Running the hand through the hair, giving a back rub, holding hands, embracing, sexual intercourse – all of those and other “love touches” are the emotional lifeline of the person for whom physical touch is the primary love language” (109)

How does this work? Well, of these five, each person has one or two chief languages whereby they feel the most loved. If you and your spouse can identify each other’s love languages, you have the potential to revolutionize your marriage. Equipped with the vital information in this book, you can capitalize on your spouse’s love language and modify your treatment of him or her to effectively infuse your relationship with love.

Here’s a practical example of how a wife, whose principal love language is words of affirmation, is affected by her husband’s behavior towards her. She will feel more loved if her husband compliments the dress she is wearing, than if he reaches for her hand. She will feel more loved if he tells her he loves eating her home-cooked dinners, than if he gives her a dozen roses. In the same vein she will feel much more hurt if he verbally criticizes her work presentation, than if he doesn’t give her his undivided attention when he comes home work. 

The 5 Love Languages provides detailed descriptions and applications of how each love language works, complete with a thirty-question test, so you can ascertain your most dominant love language. Utilizing real-life examples from couples struggling through their marriages, Chapman illustrates how a comprehensive understanding love languages can drastically transform relationships, redeem marriages, and reignite your love for one another.

This book is a must-read for every married couple! Feel like this particular volume is irrelevant you? Then check out the following list for a book applicable to your current season of life:

God Speaks Your Love Language

The 5 Love Languages of Children

The 5 Love Languages of Teenagers

The Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace

The 5 Love Languages: Men’s Edition

The 5 Languages of Apology

 Any of these books can be purchased at retail bookstores or online.  

Chapman, Gary D. The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts. Chicago: Northfield Pub., 2010. Print. 


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