The Five Love Languages – A Relationship Survival Guide

The Five Love Languages – A Relationship Survival Guide

Before we start, I would like you to know that I am generally not into self help books. They sort of annoy me. I would rather read about someone’s life experiences where the author describes her learnings and let her readers interpret it the way they want. But in this case, my partner told me about The Five Love Languages, by Dr. Gary Chapman and while I was looking for something else at an Indigo bookstore, my eyes fell upon this book. Initially I dismissed it as a book full of clichéd advice for married couples, hitting rock bottom in their relationships. But then it piqued the interest of the curious cat in me and I leafed through the book a bit. I actually found it quite interesting and decided to give the book a try. Here is what I found about the book –

  • The book is very easy to read and is interspersed with examples and real life case studies. It is basically meant for married couples but can be extrapolated to any relationship wherein intimacy is involved
  • Dr. Gary Chapman makes an interesting distinction between the “love experience” and being in love. The love experience is that initial high when you fall in love with someone and everything is rosy and awesome. This lasts for about a year or two and then dies out. The next phase is when we start discovering the real person in our partner and not just the image of him/her in our heads. This is when a lot of issues come out into the open. Dr. Chapman gives an in depth analysis of these phases and even though we have an idea about it, he frames these phases with clarity and objectivity

He develops this concept, wherein, based on our upbringing and our needs, we have different ways in which we give and receive love. He calls these the five love languages

  • He develops this concept, wherein, based on our upbringing and our needs, we have different ways in which we give and receive love. He calls these the five love languages. It is an interesting concept and discovering our love languages can be really helpful in a relationship
  • So what are the 5 love languages? They are – Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Gifts, Acts of Service and Physical Touch
  • How does this apply in a relationship? Say for example, I have been raised in a family where I have seen my dad do things, to show his love for his wife and his children. I feel that as long as I am doing things for my partner, I am expressing my love for my partner. Also if she does things for me then I feel loved. Hence my primary love language is – Acts of Service
  • But if my partner has her love language as Quality Time, she doesn’t care so much that I am doing things for her if I am not spending quality time with her. If I neglect spending quality time with her or neglect having meaningful conversations without distractions (like talking while the TV is on), then she feels unloved and that is when resentment starts to build and we start becoming distant
  • Hence in this case, both, my partner and I love each other but because our love languages are different, our expression of love is not having its desired effect and the other person is feeling unloved and neglected. This is when it becomes paramount to know what is your love language and how you can learn your partner’s love language and get better at it
  • This is where the book becomes handy as Dr. Chapman gives out some steps and exercises to help us develop the language of our partner as our “secondary” love language and how to ensure that our expressions of love are having their desired effect

The book is a good read for those who are looking to improve their relationships or those who are having marital discord

 

The book is a good read for those who are looking to improve their relationships or those who are having marital discord. The only thing that jarred me about this book is that Dr. Chapman does a good deal of plugging about his other books and seminars and makes himself look like a saviour of marriages and a messiah. If you can get over that bit then this book is a nice, light read that might just add that flavour to your relationship that it was missing.


 

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The Working Man's Therapist

Ayan Mukherjee is a Toronto-based, Registered Psychotherapist (Q), specializing in EMDR Therapy, anxiety, low self-esteem, PTSD and men's issues. Contact him to book a free phone consultation -

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