Chapman explains that the five languages of love are:
- Words of affirmation
- Quality Time
- Receiving Gifts
- Acts of Service
- Physical Touch
Because a fundamental fact of life is that people—usually partners in a relationship—speak different love languages, understanding what a spouse or partner needs to fulfill them emotionally is crucial to staying together. Today’s incredibly high divorce rates are a clear indicator that a lack of understanding in this area is rampant. “Therein lies the fundamental problem, and it is the purpose of this book to offer a solution” (Chapman, The 5 Love Languages). After the euphoria of “falling love” wears thin and reality sets in, establishing an emotional climate that enables a couple to work out differences and effectively fulfill each other’s emotional needs must take place to avoid disaster—a perpetually empty “love tank.”
Affirming words are an important means for relieving your partner’s areas of insecurity. “The latent potential within your spouse in his or her areas of insecurity may await your encouraging words” (Chapman, The 5 Love Languages). In addition to encouraging words, kind and humble “dialects” of love language also communicate affection and appreciation—a deep-seated psychological need is the need to feel appreciated.
Quality Time focuses on the importance of focused attention on the one you love. This involves “quality conversation” and “quality activities” marked by sincere sharing of mutual respect, understanding, and interests.
Receiving Gifts explores the ways that gift-giving affects a spouse’s emotional state. “Gifts are visual symbols of love” that have deeper meaning for some compared with others (Chapman, The 5 Love Languages). The material value of the gift is not what is most important, it’s the loving thought behind the act of giving that counts the most.
Acts of Service entail doing things that your spouse or partner appreciates such as housework, home repairs, taking care of family business affairs or anything else that requires “thought, planning, time, effort, and energy. If done with a positive spirit, they are indeed expressions of love” (Chapman, The 5 Love Languages).
Physical Touch goes far beyond sex. While sex is of course the ultimate physical expression of intimacy between two people who love each other, loving touches may be subtle but still very meaningful. The key is developing an understanding of your spouse’s love language dialect if physical touch is a notable part of their lexicon and honing your proficiency so that you touch them in the most meaningful, fulfilling way possible.
Partners in a relationship must be willing to devote however much time it may take to discover the nuances of each other’s love languages. Discovering one’s primary love language requires examining experiences with your spouse that either made you happy or displeased, then connecting these experiences with your own emotional fulfillment.
Above all, as the title of Chapter 11 states, “Love Makes the Difference.” As Chapman aptly notes, “Psychologists have observed that among our basic needs are the need for security, self-worth, and significance. Love, however, interfaces with all of those” (The 5 Love Languages).
Happy Reading 🙂