Book Summary: The 5 Love Languages
First of all, who should read this book. Although, it is specifically written for married couples who are facing troubles with their relationships. But when I read it I found that the same concepts could be applied to even non-married couples. This book is written by Gary Chapman, who is a marriage counselor and has helped a lot of couples in reinventing their relationship. So, if you are going through a rough patch in your relationship or if you want to make it more than just satisfactory, you should definitely bring this book home.
I found this book very practical and helpful. But it took me a long time to finish it, not because it’s not interesting but because I am a pro procrastinator. As soon as I finished reading it I wanted to share its learnings. So, I wrote this summary so that you can just take the juice and save your time in preparation. So here it goes.
Sometimes no matter how much love you pour on your partner, it seems they are never satisfied. They always want something else. And we just hang in the air of sheer confusion, thinking what went wrong? “I gave my 100% but still she is annoyed with me the whole time.” And then after several attempts of firing the gun in the dark, you give up, thinking that they are probably made of stone. That either ends up in divorces, breakups, or if you decide to stay in the relationship then a frustrated and sad life.
Well, the secret to a happy relationship lies in the question “What went wrong with your efforts”. There’s no doubt regarding the sincerity of your efforts. You did your best whatever you could do. You brought them flowers, you cooked meals for them, you appreciated them for planning the trip. You even sometimes went beyond your capacity to make your partner happy by giving them surprises. But why was all that not enough? Well, it’s because we all speak different languages of love. What you were doing for them was your definition of love or how you wanted to be loved. But your partner may have a different definition of love altogether. All this time when you were spending time with her by skipping your live sports streaming, she probably wanted you to clean the house instead. If you want to be effective communicators of love, you have to learn your partner’s love language.
To understand these love languages, you have to first understand the concept of a love tank. It means that we all have a tank of love (imagine a water tank), which when full makes us feel on top of the world. But if it's empty we feel unloved and depressed and angry too. you need to keep your love tank and also of your partners always full or at least filled up to a certain level otherwise the lives of both of you would become terrible. It can be filled through our actions from time to time. Now, what actions you should take to fill your partner’s love tank depends on what love language they speak.
There are fundamentally 5 love languages:
1. Words of affirmation
2. Acts of service
3. Quality time
4. Physical touch
5. Receiving gifts
We will go through each one of them one by one.
The first one is Words of affirmation. It means that you feel extremely loved when your partner says appreciative words about you. You love it when they say “My office was very stressful, but after this lovely dinner I feel so relaxed. Thank you for making this delicious dinner for me”. Or when they say “I am thankful to you for working so hard to provide for our family even though I know you don’t love your job. It means a lot.” or even a simple “You look good today” works wonders for you. If your partner says these words then you are happy but if they don’t then no matter what else they do, if they are cooking dinner every night or going on trips with you, you don’t care. You need to hear these affirming words from them regularly to keep your love tank full.
The second love language is Acts of service. It means that you really feel loved when your partner does something for you. It can be doing the household chores like making dinner, washing your clothes, cleaning the house, etc, etc or it can be helping you with your office assignments or even small things like bringing water or juice for you from the fridge. If you do these things, you will be filling the love tank of your partner.
One precaution that you need to take here is that you should not view it from the lenses of a stereotype. What I mean is if you are a man, you can’t expect your wife or girlfriend to cook for you and wash your clothes all the time. Similarly, if you are a woman, you can’t expect a man to earn the bread alone, drive you to places or take care of your finances. We may have grown up in an orthodox or traditional family with our Mom and Dad performing certain roles, so it's natural for us to think the same and expect certain things from our partner. But we must understand that the world is changing and what we expect from our partners they might not feel happy doing it, they might like doing something else. So, one extremely important thing to note here is that in love there are no demands, only requests.
The third love language is Quality time. If your love language is this one, then you want your partner to spend some good time with you. But don’t think that if both of you are sitting on a couch and watching a movie that counts as spending quality time together. No. It means you have to give them your undivided attention. Sit with them face to face, have some conversation, listen to their stories, share yours, laugh with them, cry with them. If your partner’s love language is Quality time, then don’t you dare do multitasking when you are talking with them. Looking at your phone or watching news or sports while they are trying to have a conversation is a big NO. Some more examples of spending quality time could be going on a trip, playing games or sports, or even something as small as having a 10-minute talk with full attention.
The fourth love language is Physical Touch. Don’t confuse it with having a sexually active life. It sure is a part of it but that’s not all. If your love language is physical touch, you like it when your partner holds hands with you or taps you on the shoulder or kisses you goodnight, or just sits close to you on a couch. Their physical presence in the room lights up your mood. If your partner's love language is physical touch and if you want to make their love tank overflow, try doing these things in public. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to get vulgar. Just a hand on their shoulder or hugging goes a long way.
The fifth and final love language is Receiving Gifts. Now don’t think that if your partner has this love language then they are materialistic. No. The cost of the gifts actually has less or no impact. It’s the effort and intention that your partner is looking for. They don’t want you to gift them expensive things like a diamond or gold jewelry or a car or a bike. No. A simple flower will also do the work. A handmade card can go a long way.
Now that we have understood the love languages, how to identify the love language of your partner or yours? Well, there are many ways. One, you could observe their behavior. If there is something they always complain to you about or tell you to do then that’s probably it. For example, if they say “You don’t spend enough time with me” then quality time is their language. Also, people can have more than one primary love language.
Second, you can ask them directly about their likes and dislikes. Ask them what are the 5 things that they would like you to do to show love to them.
Third, you can take the love language test and ask them to do the same through this link. And don’t forget to share the results with each other.
I hope it was useful. If you want to know more in detail with lots of real-life examples of couples, then you should definitely add this book to your cart.