"The Five Love Languages: How to Express heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate.", by Gary Chapman, Northfield Publishing, (c) 1992 & 1995, ISBN 1-881273-15-6, 203 pages. The edition I read includes a study guide by James S. Bell Jr.
I did not have high expectations for this book. The Greeks have 5 different words for love and I expected this book to discuss those ideas with regards to modern society. I was completely wrong, this is a very good resource if you are in a loving relationship and it seems to be not working properly.
The major thesis of the book is that New Relationship Energy (NRE) is not love. Additionally, people have different ways of emotionally being satisfied that their partners love them. However, many marriages go awry when one partner has a way of expressing love that does not emotionally connect to their partner.
The author claims that the five ways people have for feeling loved are:
-- Words of Affirmation
-- Quality Time
-- Receiving Gifts
-- Acts of Service
-- Physical Touch.
An example of how his idea works. A man in a relationship most strongly feels loved when his partner does acts of service. His wife needs quality time to feel loved.
The man (wanting to be loving) works his butt off providing a living at work, coming home and mowing, gardening, fixing her car, making a nice sewing room for her, etc. But this does not satisfy her - she needs him to spend time talking with her and maybe going on a trip with him or something. To her, his efforts to do things for her feels like he is distancing himself from her, he is always being too busy. Likewise, he resents her not doing acts of service he would appreciate (having a meal ready when he gets home from a long day at work for example).
Mr. Chapman says he must learn how to show his love in a way that emotionally significant to her, even if it is not his natural way of showing love. The same is true for her.
I don't think that this book is the end all and be all of what you need to make a relationship work. But for some people, it is the clue that they have been missing. It is the mental tool they need to make their relationship click.
There are a couple of things that rub me the wrong way in the book:
First the book is poly-intolerant. On page 108 he writes:
"This age is characterized as the age of sexual openness and freedom. With that freedom, we have demonstrated that the open marriage where both spouses are free to have sexual intimaciess with other individuals is fanciful. Those who do not object on moral grounds eventally object on emotional grounds. Something about our need for intimacy and love does not allow us to give our spouse such freedom. The emotional pain is deep and intimacy evaporates when we are aware that our spouse is involved with someone else sexually."
Second he is Christian and any time he wants to pull out the big guns and make a point beyond debate he quotes scripture.
Chapter 12 is called "Loving the Unlovely" and it discusses what do you do when you hate your partner. He suggests that you do loving acts (using the wisdom in his book) for 6 months. If they feel emotionally fulfilled and loved, they may reciprocate and a loveless marriage may be saved.
The entire chapter is a Christian love-fest. You might be able to pull of the above strategy with out God's Love but it is clear he doubts it.
Despite my reservations, I plan to add this book to my library. I think that this book is a very practical guide for helping good willed people save a relationship that does not seem to be working, for reasons that they can't understand.
Warm regards, Rick.
Last edited by RickPlus; 04-02-2010 at 07:20 PM.