After receiving many recommendations from friends on the merits of the Five Love Languages, I decided to give it a try. Although my local library does in fact have the book, I went to the giant bookstore near my home to read the Singles Edition in perhaps four sittings. The Five Love Languages is relationship counselor Dr. Gary Chapman’s approach to better understanding how we relate to family, coworkers, romantic partners, and friends. Based on decades of marriage counseling, Dr. Chapman offers five primary ways that people give and receive love; there are subcategories, but everything fits into these general classifications. He suggests that most people [subconsciously] tend to primarily employ one or two of the following five love languages:
1. Words of Affirmation
2. Quality Time
4. Acts of Service
5. Physical Touch
Take a look here for an overview of the “languages” themselves. As a Christian minister, Dr. Chapman gives some dating advice through a faith-based lens. Nonetheless, his approach to analyzing one’s own love language remains in the universal human realm, and seems to be applicable to people from any belief background.
According to Dr. Chapman, some folks might only be comfortable with one of the five “languages,” and others might be fluent in all modalities. If I pay enough attention for a few days or weeks, I can get a relatively solid idea of how the people I encounter the most operate, in terms of their preferences. For example, if I notice my friend giving unique verbal compliments to all of her friends at a get-together, “words of affirmation” is probably her love language.
As a single person with friends, relatives, and coworkers, I want to be able to enjoy functioning, fruitful relationships with these people. I want to help make them happy, content, and feel appreciated. In the Five Love Languages: Singles Edition, Dr. Chapman explains how these principles can be applied to dating relationships. In the sphere of dating, I can better understand what makes my future partner “tick” and can use this knowledge to make him feel more appreciated and open the channels of communication during bumps in the road.
So, as you look forward to summer dates on the shore (or a night with the family, gal pals, or buddies), consider embarking on a few hours’ worth of introspection and observation to make these relationships all the more rich and harmonious.
Now it’s your turn! What do you think about the Five Love Languages approach? Have you or your loved ones had reinvigorated any relationships using this book’s approach?