The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts

by Gary D Chapman

Paperback, 2010



Call number




Northfield Publishing (2010), Edition: New Edition, 208 pages


Dr. Chapman explains how people communicate love in different ways, and shares the wonderful things that happen when men and women learn to speak each other's language.

User reviews

LibraryThing member bookwormliz
In THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES, Gary Chapman explores what he believes is the cause of all marital dysfunction and breakdown: the different languages in which love can be expressed. According to Chapman, we each respond to one of the five “love languages”–affirmation, time, gifts, service, and
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touch–and will only feel sufficiently loved when we’re being spoken to by our mates in that language.

The breakdown of the five love languages was fascinating, but Chapman’s “love is a choice” philosophy is so bogus, it’s not even funny. It’s that kind of bass-ackwards thinking that lead many people into unhealthy relationships in the first place, and he wants to keep them there? Please.

According to Chapman, “real love” is a benign act we engage in willingly–like picking up cereal or refilling the gas tank on the way home from work–while being “in love” is a fabricated emotion built on obsession.

“…falling in love is not real love,” writes Chapman, “because it is effortless. Whatever we do in the in-love state requires little discipline or conscious effort on our part.”

The points Chapman makes are valid, but he approaches them with the kind of anti-divorce tunnel vision that is far too common in these kinds of books. You can no more choose to love someone than you can choose to be a blond-haired, blue-eyed mermaid who lives in an oversized clam shell off the coast of Maine. Oh, sure, you can bleach your hair, pop in a pair of contact lenses, and pretend you’re a mermaid who lives in a clam shell off the coast of Maine, but that doesn’t make it real.

And that’s exactly the point I’m getting at. Chapman derides the “in love” feeling as being synthetic emotion, and yet, when push comes to shove, insists that when it comes to “real love”, choosing to fake it is the way to go. Um. I don’t have any fancy-schmancy degrees to back me up, but if you ask me, a forced act of love is about as genuine and meaningful as an effortless act of obsession. It’s the wavering between the two extremes that leaves this book cold and sterile. I imagine the real “real love” is a happy medium between those two extremes–neither self-destrucive nor impotent.

All in all, I’d say the author gets it about half right, as much as his own personal values will let him. I would’ve been more pleased if the focus had been on choices made and physical actions done out of love than a crash course on how to fake it ’til you make it. There are a multitude of reasons why two partners fail to make a real and lasting connection with each other, and not every divorce is a failure. Sometimes that’ the only way for the family unit to survive without being severely damaged. Asserting that we should all assign blame where there should be none is nothing but a recipe for resentment.

Rating: C-
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LibraryThing member Briars_Reviews
I was recommended this book by my counsellor, and I have to be honest; it's way better than I expected.

This book is a great tool if you're looking for some "simple fixes". Keep in mind, all relationships take work. This book gives suggestions on how to help understand your partner's (and your own)
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love language. Love languages are the ways your partner feels "love" through the things you do, the things you say, and how you act. It's a very thoughtful idea that is simple in nature, but a little harder to do in practice. If you're feeling hopeless and just want some different ideas, this book is excellent!

I really liked the book because it felt like I was chatting with the author. It's very conversational and it's very to the point. There's "real life" examples of couples, and it sometimes seems too easy. Some of the situations definitely didn't resolve that easily, but I am guessing that the tips of trying to understand what makes your partner feel loved helped develop their relationships.

Is this the end all, be all way to save your marriage or relationship? No. Can it give you ideas to understand why your communication skills aren't on point? Yes. Maybe you don't realize that you partner feels loved when you run errands for them. Maybe you don't realize that your partner needs a lot of quality time, one on one. Lots of people can't see what's in front of them! This book is a great way to remind the simplicity of the 5 ways you can appreciate someone.

The book is uplifting and suggests that relationships can be mended (and they definitely can, in some circumstances). I do not think this will help everyone. I don't think this should be the way someone fixes their relationship (get counselling, the works as well as reading this book).

Are there negatives? Absolutely! The gender roles seem very... stereotypical. What housewife doesn't want to just be someone to does all the chores to make her husband happy? Gee golly! Men crave sex more than women do, in fact women don't normally crave sex at all! Men might cheat, but women can get over it. Yeah, lots of problems. And of course, only heterosexual couples are talked about. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt to say somehow in his whole career he ONLY dealt with heterosexual couples... It's a super big, ridiculous benefit of the doubt... But I'm hoping that's it. Oh, and a pinch of religion in there.

*If you can't sense my sarcasm in the last few sentences, please re-read and add a sassy, sarcastic tone.

Overall though, I enjoyed it. I think it's a great way to help teach people some basic concepts in a fun and engaging way.

Four out of five stars.
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LibraryThing member rybeewoods
The ideas expressed in this book are pretty routine for marriage counseling these days. But his way of puting it all together in this book is easy and accesable. A must for all marraiges.
LibraryThing member revslick
I recently reread it because it was the only reading material in my car when it was getting serviced.
How do you express love? This is the question Gary asks but also answers in helping us understand that everybody expresses love in some form or another. I read this years ago and before reading it
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avoided it because it just sounded so corny. Please don't let the title fool you. This is a great starter read in recognizing how we express love differently and also how we can best help our partners appreciate the love we have for them.
Gary breaks down the love we express into 4 outcomes: Acts of Service, Quality Time, Physical Touch, Gifts, and Affirmation. He them breaks them down to help us understand how we express love. Gary says to help others understand that we need to communicate to them in their love language.
Yes, it is simplistic and a little corny, but it is excellent starting material for married couples!
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LibraryThing member Crewman_Number_6
I enjoyed this book. If you are having marrital problems, seek a counselor, but if you want to learn how to communicate more effectively, this is a good place to start.
LibraryThing member mynameisrush
In this post, I would like to provide a general review of The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. As a Christian and pastor, I have some concerns about The Five Love Languages(FLL) with respect to its central message and practical outworking in the lives of Christians. To simplify this post, why
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don’t I lay out some positives and negatives?

1. FLL is correct in revealing that love is expressed in many different ways. I think that the term “languages” is a good metaphor.
2. It is true that people experience love in different ways. I think understanding this can be helpful to a mate desiring to love his/her spouse effectively. “We must be willing to learn our spouse’s primary love language if we are to be effective communicators of love” (Chapman 15).
3. FLL does well to reveal that people do tend to express love according to the way they wish to receive it. I fear this is clearly an aspect of one’s fallen nature, but nevertheless true.
4. FLL is correct to reveal that when people do not get what they want, unpleasant emotions, actions, and behaviors are often the response.
5. Chapman does well to encourage readers to consider the preferences and interests of their spouses.
6. Chapman rightly explains that love is a primary aspect of Christianity.

1. FLL is low on Scripture and high on man-made wisdom. Across 175 pages, Scripture is referenced 10 times, most of which are afterthoughts. 9 of the 14 chapters have no Scriptural backing.
2. FLL majors on psychology, not theology – often without considering Scriptural insight. When Scripture is quoted, it is employed as a proof-text for the premise proposed by worldly wisdom. (Ex: 1 Cor 13:13; Chapman 20)
3. FLL states that the greatest need/purpose of mankind is to feel loved. Scripture teaches that mankind’s greatest need/purpose is to love God, repent of sin, and know Christ.
4. FLL does not explain, involve, or mention the gospel in its treatment of human affairs. Instead, it is suggested that the central problem in life and relationships is a lack of love. Likewise, FLL proposes that the issues surrounding love are the cause and solution to Man’s problems. “Meeting my wife’s need for love is a choice I make each day. If I know her primary love language and choose to speak it, her deepest emotional need will be met and she will feel secure in my love” (Chapman 132) [emphasis mine].
5. FLL does not address or mention sin and suggests that all human suffering, ill tempers, depression, interpersonal problems, broken marriages, misbehavior/delinquency of children, etc…are caused by an “empty emotional love tank.” This line of reasoning encourages readers to aspire toward receiving love and self-love in order to solve the problems of life and distracts attention away from the true and biblical source of evil in the world. Chapman writes, “With a full tank would couples be able to create an emotional climate where it is possible to discuss differences and resolve conflicts? Could that tank be the key that makes marriage work” (Chapman 23). “Most sexual problems in marriage have little to do with physical technique but everything to do with meeting emotional needs” (Chapman 121). “When the [emotional] tank is low…we have no love feelings toward our spouse but simply experience emptiness and pain” (Chapman 150). The Bible proclaims that the key to all relationships is self-denial and prioritizing God’s pleasure and approval over all other priorities (James 4).
6. With respect to marriage, FLL suggests that “the need to feel loved by one’s spouse is at the heart of marital desires” (Chapman 22). In so doing, Chapman sets up a self-centered view of marriage in which the reader’s primary goal should be to feel love. Scripture reveals that man’s problems are caused on many levels by a desire to be loved or love self, which is sin (2 Timothy 3:2-5).
7. FLL encourages a self-centered mentality, rather than a Christ-centered orientation of thought, motive, and deed (Chapman 68, 75, 98). Granted, aspirations to receive love are not blatantly proposed. Instead, by premise, Chapman’s model is based upon a give-to-get approach. The reader is encouraged to embrace the thought that if he/she scratches the spouses back, it is likely that the spouse will scratch his/hers which is a veiled form of self-interest – For instance, ‘I’ll scratch your back, knowing that you will probably scratch mine in return.’ “I am not suggesting verbal flattery in order to get your spouse to do something you want. The object of love is not getting something you want but doing something for the well-being of the one you love. It is a fact, however, that when we receive affirming words we are far more likely to be motivated to reciprocate and do something our spouse desires” (Chapman 42).
8. FLL exalts worldly self-esteem over biblical self-denial.
9. FLL presents an unbiblical view and practice of assessing self-worth. Readers are encouraged to find their significance in their spouse, not in Christ and in light of the gospel. “My sense of self-worth is fed by the fact that my spouse loves me. After all, if he/she loves me, I must be worth loving. My parents may have given me negative or mixed messages about my worth, but my spouse knows me as an adult and loves me. Her love builds my self-esteem” (Chapman 139).
10. With respect to parenting, FLL encourages parents to prescribe love rather than repentance to misbehaving children. “If the emotional need is not met, they may violate acceptable standards, expressing anger toward parents who did not meet their needs, and seeking love in inappropriate places…Most misbehavior in children and teenagers can be traced to empty love tanks…The growing number of adolescents who run away from home and clash with the law indicate that many parents who may have sincerely tried to express their love to their children have been speaking the wrong love language” (Chapman 163-175). This view walks hand in hand with post-modern thought, transferring responsibility for sin to those who have wronged the sinner.
11. With respect to marriage, FLL discounts the powerful working of God in marriage and leaves all results in the hands of fallen men and women. In addition, the model set forth by Chapman rests on a purely horizontal level, disregarding the vertical (mankind/God) aspect of biblical marriage. There is no real place for the pleasure of the Triune God as the object of love and the goal of marriage.
12. FLL suggests that divorce, an increasing problem for Christians today, is caused by an empty emotional love tank (174-175). This teaching contradicts Jesus’ view/teaching in which He stated that divorce is the result of hard-heartedness (Matthew 19:8; Mark 10:5).

As Christians strive for ministry that is increasingly “theology-driven,” I am reminded of Paul’s words which say, “In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following” (1 Timothy 4:6). As you know, teachers and pastors will be held to a stricter judgment than those they shepherd (James 3:1). Therefore, the Scriptures demand that they be critically-minded and protective of what is placed before people. For the above reasons, I do not think this is a suitable resource.
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LibraryThing member shulera1
I really enjoyed what Chapman had to say about love and communication. Many of his ideas were based off common sense, making them easy to utilize once they're in your mind. I plan on implementing some of his concepts immediately.
LibraryThing member Justjenniferreading
I was recommended this book a while ago while I was deep in depression and thought my relationship was on the outs. I didn't get a chance to read this book then, and I can say that I would have made things quite easier for me. I'm past all that now, but it was still a great book to read and gave me
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some great insight into myself and my relationship.

The five love languages are basically 5 ways that people express and understand love. The way Mr. Chapman describes it (and what really made the concept click for me) is that it's just like speaking language. If you're raised in a home that speaks English you learn English and that is your primary language. You can learn to speak another language, but you'll be most fluent in your primary language. The love languages are the same way.

Understanding the different languages is really quite simple. The explanation behind the different languages is very easy to understand. As soon as I'd read about one of the languages I would associate that language to someone I know. Having a "real-life" example for each language helped me understand that language a little bit better. It was easy for me to pinpoint other people's languages but it's been a bit harder for me to pinpoint my own language.... There is a section in the book that helps you figure out your own, and after reading it I've narrowed mine down to three. But before that sections I was thinking well I am all of those. But really we're only one, sometimes two. So I just need to pay attention a little bit more to what I feel and I should have it figured out fairly soon. And if you're not like me - and can't figure out the language for the people in your life- there is also a section to help you figure out what language other people are.

This book specifically deals with the love language of couples, but I think this concept is beneficial for any relationship - siblings, friends, parents, children. And since there is a whole series of these books I don't think I'm too far off in my thinking...

What I liked the most about this book is that for each language there was a story that gave an example of that language. Chapman would introduce us to a couple, tell us what their problem(s), and then tell us what their love languages were. He also gives examples for each language of how to show love to another person using that language.

This was very well written book. I wish I would have picked it up earlier, as it could have made a very difficult part of my life a little bit easier. But even though things were going good for me and my boyfriend (who is now my fiancee) when I read this it still gave me some insight into why we do (or don't do) certain things. It also helped me in communicating what I need and want in my relationship. So this book isn't just for relationships that are failing, but if yours is I would recommend reading this. This book (and I'm sure the entire series) can help you better understand the relationships you have with eveyone that you love.
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LibraryThing member foof2you
I learned more about my wife by reading this book than any other book out in print. Read this to help your marriage, save your marriage. This book will change you marriage for the best.
LibraryThing member temsmail
This books seems to be a streach in its basic premise.
LibraryThing member nhimmelrich
Gary Chapman understands how to simply explain different ways in which we show love, how we feel most loved and opens up insight on other people's preferences. It's a must for couples who want to deepen their relationship and understand each others differences.
LibraryThing member kikilon
It's pop psychology at its best, light, deep and interesting at the same time. it's designed to make you slap your forehead. i love the concept of love languages. I'm going to incorporate it into my writing from now on. it made a lot of sense to me. And I love lists. ^_^
LibraryThing member Taegan
EVERYbody needs to read this book! It made a PHENOMENAL difference in my marriage once I learned the "love language" of my husband. It also improved my relationships with my children and even with friends and extended family members.It is a very easy and enjoyable read.
LibraryThing member BUSTED
Awesome book! It's helped me better understand how to communicate with my husband, sister, parents and even close friends.
LibraryThing member aarondesk
A good treatise on living with your spouse and being happy. The book is straight-forward and just the right complexity level.
LibraryThing member colehoo
You've got to read this book. It will open your eyes in terms of understanding your spouse. It is a quick, easy read with simple ideas that will make a profound difference in your relationship.
LibraryThing member madamemeow
This is a fabulous book that takes a look at the five love languages that every human being speaks. It's a wonderful read, and really helped me out a lot in my marriage!
LibraryThing member kristenn
Like most relationship books, how helpful this is depends on how many you've already read. All common sense gets redundant after a while. The premise is true enough, except for the fact that there are more than five basic needs out there. My boyfriend found a 'love language' in the book to fit him
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perfectly, but although my own need is just as straightforward, you can't contort any of the given five to fit it. And there's no way I'm unique there. The religion angle was significantly more low key than I was expecting. Again, that perspective depends on what you've already read. The case study examples really got repetitive, but I'm not sure what would have been a better way to do it. Some of his advice definitely only works for certain personality types and -- probably more important -- certain subcultures, but he's pretty up front about that too.
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LibraryThing member BohemianGirl
This book encourages couples to work as a team and understand one anothers love languages without it placing blame on either couple
LibraryThing member ladycato
This was a very interesting book. I've seen it recommended by many people over the past few years, and I can see why; it really teaches you to look at not only how you communicate, but what types of communication are most rewarding for you. It does have a strong Christian message, but that
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shouldn't deter folks of other faiths. I'm critical of most relationship type books because they tend to be corny or preachy. This one feels... well, friendly. I can see why his seminars draw big crowds.

I found out I'm an Acts of Service kind of gal. I guess that explains why I love baking cookies for my husband to take to work, and why I get so mad if I'm the only one who changes diapers all day long. I like to do things for others, and yet I get resentful if the favor isn't returned sometimes. I really hadn't thought of that as my love language before, and yet it makes perfect sense.
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LibraryThing member fullerteacher
A family therapist/counselor (Gary Chapman) compiles his notes over the years as he helps couples and families through difficult emotional issues. The basic premise of the book is the notion that in the same way people have a primary speaking language: Russian, German, Spanish, etc. people have a
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primary love language. It is the language in which a person needs to give and receive love in. Chapman argues that it is important to understand YOUR OWN love language, as well as the love language of those in YOUR FAMILY, to show love best in the way he/she needs. For example, there may be a husband who always takes out the trash, fixes the cars, does the yardwork for his wife--for him these ACTS are meant to show his wife that he loves her. But she would rather he brought her flowers every once in a while (GIFTS) or tell her she's beautiful (WORDS), or take her out to a nice dinner and conversation (QUALITY TIME). Chapman would assert that if people don't know what love language you speak then even though they might be trying to tell you "I love you" it's as if they are speaking Russian-- you won't hear "I love you." He teaches practical concepts and gives examples of families who have been changed from a few simple awarenesses.
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LibraryThing member Keith.Benjamin
This is the book that everyone should read, thoughtfully, and apply. It is not only applicable to married couples, but applies to all relationships, helping with understanding why someone may have the expectations or desires in a relationship that they do.
LibraryThing member fishhook7
This was a very quick and easy read. Some of it seemed rather intuitive, but the insights around even these parts were enough for me to give this a very high rating and recommend this. (Plus, they have a quiz and I'm a sucker for those.)
LibraryThing member DScrivener
"THE" most awesome book. I LOVE IT! I wish I had known about it sooner. Whether you are a Christian or not, the information in this book could help you. It is mostly speaking to couples (in this book).. but you could certainly apply the information here to ANY relationship. Family, friends,
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children.. it doesn't matter. It was so eye opening.. a major "a-HA" moment. I go back to it constantly and tell people about it all the time.
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LibraryThing member docliz
A very valuable insight into the fact that we all receive love in different ways. Why does one person really feel loved when bought a gift whereas others need to often hear the words 'I love you'? We are all different and this book helps us to identify what we like most of all - our preferred love
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language and what our partner most appreciates. Put into practice this can help build very strong relationships.
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Audie Award (Finalist — 2006)


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Physical description

208 p.; 6 inches


0802473156 / 9780802473158


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