I just finished this book yesterday and felt compelled to take action on the items inside instead of letting the book sit on the shelf. I can already honestly say that this is one of the top 3 books I’ve ever read and one that I not only plan to re-read, but one that I will use to take action in my life. If you are interested in a summary continue reading, it may not be for everyone, but I am confident you’ll enjoy.
That’s idea behind the concept of love languages: they let you in on what makes your partner tick. The idea is: we all express and feel love differently, and understanding those differences can seriously help all of your relationships. In fact, it’s one of the simplest ways to improve it.
This term was coined by Gary Chapman. His book, Five Love Languages, is full of many stories and examples, but I think that’s what makes it so great. Some of it seems so specific to a situation, but if you read it with an open mind the bigger picture is obvious. There is a reason this whole notion of love languages has caused this to be the #19 most sold book on Amazon: it makes a lot of sense, and it works.
The Five Love Languages Summary
Here’s how Chapman breaks down the five love languages in his book:
My conclusion after thirty years of marriage counseling is that there are basically five emotional love languages—five ways that people speak and understand emotional love. In the field of linguistics a language may have numerous dialects or variations. Similarly, within the five basic emotional love languages, there are many dialects….The important thing is to speak the love language of your spouse.
The five languages are pretty straightforward, but here’s a brief description of what each of them mean:
- Words of Affirmation: Expressing affection through spoken affection, praise, or appreciation.
- Acts of Service: Actions, rather than words, are used to show and receive love.
- Receiving Gifts: Gifting is symbolic of love and affection.
- Quality Time: Expressing affection with undivided, undistracted attention.
- Physical Touch: With this love language, the speaker feels affection through physical touch.
Chances are, you can relate to a few of these (I for sure did). Maybe you relate to all of them. But most of us have one or two that are much more important to us than the others, and it’s different for everyone. Understanding these will simply allow you to understand people better.
When you know what your partner does and doesn’t care about, it’s a pretty big eye opener. For example, if you are with someone who appreciates quality of time, then it must truly be there. With today’s social media and tech booming this becomes harder than ever. Phones, televisions, computers, etc. these all are distractions that don’t allow full UNDIVIDED attention even if you are talking or spending time with someone. How many times are you at dinner and the person(s) you are with are on their phones (I know I’ve done this). To some this may not matter as it isn’t their primary receptor for emotions, but to others it can make or break how they think you feel about them.
What Is Your Love Language?
You can find your love language by doing a little bit of soul searching, but there is also a profiling quiz that asks the right questions if you are struggling on your own. This is helpful because, if you identify with more than one language, the quiz tells you which ones stand out most. It’ll feel silly as you take it, but seriously, do it. The results will break down how high you rank for each language, as you can see in the example below.On the flip side, it’s useful to know how you don’t express affection. Where you rank low can be a blind spot. Let’s say a friend does me a favor: they give me a gift from a trip they took. This might not be a huge deal to me (although I would appreciate the action), but I might brush it off too quickly. Similarly, I might be terrible at giving gifts because I never grew up in that environment, so I assume they don’t matter to anyone else either. I initially grew up with that mindset with cards. My Mom would send me cards always and I loved hearing from her, but I didn’t really understand how nice and meaningful it was until I took the time to think about it — and now I love receiving and giving cards. In short, knowing what makes you tick and what doesn’t can help you empathize with people a little better.
Love Languages In Your Relationship
When you realize what your partner does and doesn’t care about, you can empathize better. Your reasons for fighting make a little more sense. When you understand why you’re fighting, you’re in a better position to come up with a solution.
For example, if I know both of us feel affection by spending quality time together, I know it’s important to schedule this time to keeping our relationship strong. If we ever had a long distance relationship, we’d probably struggle quite a bit with it, and we’d need to put in more effort than people who don’t speak the language of “Quality Time.” When you’ve been in a relationship for a long time, it’s easy to get complacent and let things get stale. When you know your partner’s love language, it’s incredibly easy to recharge. It’s like a cheat code for your relationship.
Love Languages for Other Relationships
In my personal life I always didn’t understand why my Mom would ask me to do so many things around the house when she got off work: dishes, trash, yard work, moving things, etc. When I did do these things she was ecstatic and appreciative. I didn’t really get it as I was oblivious to the fact that (1) as a son I should do these things anyway, but also (2) she probably really appreciated the stress it took off of her. Not only did not doing these things take a toll on our relationship, but it hurt it a lot overtime. This is something I am actively looking to improve on because I want my relationships to be one of the strongest parts in my life.
It’s worth noting that your love language might vary depending on the person, too. My Mom might speak a different language in a romantic relationship than she does with our family. And while I may need quality time with my partner and family, I don’t necessarily need quality time with friends to feel like they care or vice versa.
Overall, it all comes down to knowing what’s important to people so you can understand, empathize, and work with them a little better. Everyone is different. We all have different life experiences; we come from different backgrounds. It makes sense that we communicate differently, too. Reading this book and understanding the concepts aren’t going to fix everything, but they are a great starting point. The key is to start though; you can’t make an active change if you don’t actively pursue the change.
I hope you enjoyed reading this, I am going to do more book summaries with the future books I read as I develop out my site. Not only does this give me something to write about, but it also engrains the details of the book in my head so I can remember to utilize the information I learned.
Comment your thoughts below if you made it this far!