© Michelle Chan
Through Dr. Gary Chapman's personal and professional experiences, he came to realize that how people perceive and express love differed. Dr. Chapman succinctly categorized people's perceptions and expressions of love into 5 different "love languages." Each one of us is said to have a "primary love language," whereby we feel the most loved when our partners, or those around us, express love to us using that modality.
While this book is intended for married couples, I believe its lessons can be broadly applied to other types of relationships as well. [There are other editions of Dr. Chapman's "The 5 Love Languages" that apply specifically to men, children, teens, singles, etc.]
The 5 love languages that Dr. Chapman have identified are:
1. Words of Affirmation
For those whose primary love language is "Words of Affirmation," they thrive when they receive compliments, words of appreciation, and encouragement. How these words of affirmation are expressed (i.e. in an affectionate versus hostile manner) play a significant role in how the message is received.
2. Quality Time
For those whose primary love language is "Quality Time," they feel most loved when someone is giving them his/her undivided attention, and engaging in activities and deep discussions with them, so as to allow them to feel a closer connection to the other person. What this requires of the other person (i.e. spouse) is that he/she not only be able to listen, but also be able to share his/her inner most thoughts and feelings as well.
3. Receiving Gifts
For those whose primary love language is "Receiving Gifts," a gift is a symbol of another's love for them. To these individuals, what the actual gift is or its cost, is irrelevant. The gift itself conveys that they are being thought of and loved. Dr. Chapman also indicated that a "gift of self/presence," where someone makes him/herself physically available to another, is also considered to be a gift.
4. Acts of Service
For those whose primary love language is "Acts of Service," they see other's actions (i.e. doing chores) as a sign that they are being cared for and loved. However, the demeanor in which these acts of service are completed (i.e. positively or negatively) is paramount to how these actions will be interpreted.
5. Physical Touch
For those whose primary love language is "Physical Touch," it can range from something as simple as holding hands with someone to sexual intercourse. Each individual has his/her own preference of where he/she likes to be touched and in what way. Therefore, it is important to clarify with the person how and where he/she likes to experience physical touch.
What I have provided here is only a synopsis of the wealth of information that Dr. Chapman has dispensed throughout the book. In his book, Dr. Chapman not only assists readers in identifying their own love language(s), but also the love language(s) of their spouses. He provides great insight and suggestions as to how couples can strengthen and/or rekindle their relationships after they discover their individual love languages. For those who are unsure of their love language, Dr. Chapman has provided a questionnaire to assist them in identifying their love languages.