I knew the concept of love languages and my love language before I read the book (you can do it free online), having had many friends talk about it, but I wanted a more in-depth understanding of the idea of love languages and how to apply it to life. Everyone (and I mean everyone) should read The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. I read the singles edition but the original was written for couples. Now, before you stop reading this post and think this is a bunch of cheesy, sappy love stuff just answer these questions: are you a friend? are you a brother or sister? are you a daughter or son? are you a coworker? are you a husband or wife? If you answered yes to any/all of these (and if you didn’t, you’re obviously a computer), keep reading.
Think of this as the love that you experience with anyone who you have a relationship with, romantic or not. Although we all experience all 5 love languages, everyone has a primary one that they speak and/or receive best: words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch, receiving gifts, or acts of service. What you speak and want to receive may or may not be the same language, but typically it is the same. Knowing the language of those you have a relationship with can completely change your relationship (for the better). Obviously this is especially important in the context of a romantic relationship, but it is also true of friendships, family, and coworkers. These concepts are grounded in the Christian faith and Chapman does a good job of drawing from Bible without that being the focus, which I think is important because many people will write it off immediately if it’s deemed a “Christian thing”. But this is a basic concept of loving those around us. Even if you are not a Christian you can’t deny that love is something you experience and may need to work on.
“Married or single, young or old, every human has the emotional need to feel loved. When this need is met, we move out to read our potential for God and out potential for good in the world.”
I would recommend knowing your own love language before reading the book (again, you can do that online or in the back of the book), but make sure you don’t just focus on that language. Chapman discusses each love language, how to recognize others’ love language, and real-world examples of how to show love using each language. Now, I’m realistic and realize it can take a lot of work and observation to figure this out so you obviously aren’t going to do this for every single person you work with and do life with. But it is important to do for those closest to you, especially if there is a particular relationship you want to work on and improve. Of course, in this edition, dating is discussed, different stages of love, and thing to consider when moving toward marriage. There are parts of the book that don’t necessarily apply to my life right this moment, but luckily I bought the book so I can go back to it later when it does apply!
I highly recommend everyone read this book. It’s a quick and easy read – I read it in 4 days – and you might just learn something about yourself as well as the people in your life. In fact, I challenge you to read this book and then tell me you hated it and it made no difference whatsoever in the way you think about relationships. Each chapter ends with questions to help you apply everything to your own life, as well as a study guide in the back if you want to read it with someone or a group!