The 5 Love Languages

by Gary D. Chapman

Troy Shu
Troy Shu
Updated at: February 23, 2024
 5 min read
The 5 Love Languages
The 5 Love Languages

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What Are The Big Ideas?

  1. Keeping the emotional love tank full is crucial for a successful marriage.
  2. The five love languages are words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch.
  3. Understanding and speaking your partner's primary love language is the key to a long-lasting and loving marriage.
  4. Each love language has its own unique way of expressing and receiving love.
  5. Love is a choice, and expressing it in the way your partner requests will make your love most effective emotionally.

Summary

Keeping the Emotional Love Tank Full

  • Chapman is convinced that keeping the emotional love tank full is as important to a marriage as maintaining the proper oil level is to an automobile.
  • When your spouse’s emotional love tank is full and they feel secure in your love, the whole world looks bright and your spouse will move out to reach their highest potential in life.

Words of Affirmation

  • Verbal compliments, or words of appreciation, are powerful communicators of love.
  • Giving verbal compliments is one way to express words of affirmation to your spouse. Another dialect is encouraging words.
  • We must first learn what is important to our spouse. Only then can we give encouragement.
  • Sometimes our words say one thing, but our tone of voice says another.

Quality Time

  • If your mate’s primary love language is quality time, your spouse simply wants you, being with them, spending time.
  • Spending time with your mate in a common pursuit communicates that you care about each other, that you enjoy being with each other, that you like to do things together.
  • One of the most common dialects is that of quality conversation. By quality conversation, Chapman means sympathetic dialogue where two individuals are sharing their experiences, thoughts, feelings, and desires in a friendly, uninterrupted context.
  • Words of affirmation focus on what we are saying, whereas quality conversation focuses on what we are hearing.
  • We must be willing to give advice but only when it is requested and never in a condescending manner.
  • Ask yourself, “What emotion is my spouse experiencing?” When you think you have the answer, confirm it. For example, “It sounds to me like you are feeling disappointed because I forgot.”
  • One way to learn new patterns is to establish a daily sharing time in which each of you will talk about three things that happened to you that day and how you feel about them. Chapman calls this the “Minimum Daily Requirement” for a healthy marriage.
  • The essential ingredients in a quality activity are:
    • At least one of you wants to do it
    • The other is willing to do it
    • Both of you know why you are doing it—to express love by being together.

Receiving Gifts

  • A gift is something you can hold in your hand and say, “Look, he was thinking of me,” or, “She remembered me.”
  • Physical presence in the time of crisis is the most powerful gift you can give if your spouse’s primary love language is receiving gifts.

Acts of Service

  • By acts of service, Chapman means doing things you know your spouse would like you to do.
  • Love is a choice and cannot be coerced.
  • Each of us must decide daily to love or not to love our spouses. If we choose to love, then expressing it in the way in which our spouse requests will make our love most effective emotionally.

Physical Touch

  • Don’t make the mistake of believing that the touch that brings pleasure to you will also bring pleasure to her.
  • A common mistake many men make is assuming that physical touch is their primary love language because they desire sexual intercourse so intensely.
  • Most sexual problems in marriage have little to do with physical technique but everything to do with meeting emotional needs.

Discovering Your Love Language

  • If your deepest pain is the critical, judgmental words of your spouse, then perhaps your love language is words of affirmation.
  • Chapman suggests three ways to discover your own primary love language:
    • What does your spouse do or fail to do that hurts you most deeply? The opposite of what hurts you most is probably your love language.
    • What have you most often requested of your spouse? The thing you have most often requested is likely the thing that would make you feel most loved.
    • In what way do you regularly express love to your spouse? Your method of expressing love may be an indication that that would also make you feel loved.

The Disequilibrium of the 'In-Love' Experience

  • 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. Chapman calls this “The disequilibrium of the ‘in-love’ experience.”

The Power of Love

  • Love is not the answer to everything, but it creates a climate of security in which we can seek answers to those things that bother us.
  • Can emotional love be reborn in a marriage? You bet. The key is to learn the primary love language of your spouse and choose to speak it.

Questions

  1. How does your partner react when you show love?
  2. On a scale from 0 to 10, how loved do you feel?
  3. Was there a moment in your marriage when things became more realistic? Did this change your relationship for better or worse?
  4. What would you like your partner to say to you the most?
  5. What stops you from spending good time together in your marriage?
  6. Think about ways to give gifts when money is tight.
  7. Besides housework, what are other ways to help your partner?
  8. Remember times when non-sexual touching made you feel closer.
  9. Do you understand your partner's way of showing love? Do they understand yours? What can you do to learn more about this?
  10. Why is it important to show love in a way that your partner appreciates, even if it's not your usual way?
  11. What does your partner do to make you feel important? What do you do for them?

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