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Book Summary – The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts

The 5 Love Languages - Book summary

Many marriages fail not because couples don’t put in the effort, but because they are expressing their love in the “wrong” ways. When you learn to understand and speak your spouse’s love language, you will be able to effectively express your love and truly feel loved in return. In this free version of The 5 Love Languages summary, we’ll outline the love languages by Dr. Gary Chapman, with powerful insights on how to strengthen our relationships with the right love language.

The 5 Love Languages: An Overview

Like linguistics in communication, people speak different love languages. We have our native love languages that we speak and understand best in, and our secondary language(s) that we are comfortable but less fluent at.

It is possible for couples to love each other, but to feel unloved because they give and receive love differently, i.e. they don’t share the same primary emotional love language. After 30 years of marriage counselling, Chapman concluded that there are 5 key emotional love languages, though there are many “dialects” within these five languages.

Filling the Love Tank

All of us have an “emotional love tank”. When we receive love in our primary love language, our love tank is filled and we feel loved. When we don’t receive love expressed in our primary love language, our love tank gradually depletes and we feel unloved. When our love tank is empty, issues is the relationship arise.

Falling in Love… and out of it

The 5 Love Languages summary_Falling in Love
When we fall in love, we feel euphoric. We have the illusion that our partners are perfect and that the romantic feelings in our relationship will last forever. During this in-love period which typically lasts about 2 years, we feel altruistic toward each other. We give freely because we believe our lover feels the same about us, and are equally committed to meeting our needs. When the phase eventually passes, relationship issues start to surface. To learn more about the “in-love” vs “real” love stages, do check out our full version of The 5 Love Languages summary.

To have a lasting relationship, we must learn and speak our spouses’ primary love language. When their love tanks are full, they are in a better position to reciprocate your love, and are free to grow to their full potential.

The Five Love Languages

We’ll now take a brief look at each of the five love languages.

To learn how to express love and what to avoid for these love languages, do get a copy of our complete The 5 Love Languages summary.

LOVE LANGUAGE #1: WORDS OF AFFIRMATION

Words of affirmation are words that build someone up. If this is your primary love language, it means the world to you when you receive unsolicited compliments, hear the words “I love you” and the reasons behind that love. Insults can break your heart and leave lasting scars.

In our full version of The 5 Love Languages summary, we’ll explain how you can express Love Language #1 through verbal compliments and encouraging words.

LOVE LANGUAGE #2: QUALITY TIME

If this is your primary language, you deeply value doing things together and receiving full, undivided attention from your spouse, including sharing quality conversations and activities. Distractions, postponed dates, or not being listened to can be especially hurtful to you.  In the book, Dr Chapman shares tips on how to enjoy quality conversations especially if this is your spouse’s primary love language but not yours, and and make time for quality activities.

LOVE LANGUAGE #3: RECEIVING GIFTS

If this is your primary language, you deeply treasure a gift or gesture that shows you are being thought of, cared for, and prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring you the gift. Gifts are visual symbols of love. You feel hurt by the absence of daily gestures, a missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty/ thoughtless gift.

The value of the gift is often less important than the significance of the gift. If you are not intuitive at giving gifts but your spouse’s primary language is receiving gifts, you can start by making a list of all the gifts that your spouses has been excited about – this will give you an idea of what gifts he/she appreciates.

LOVE LANGUAGE #4: ACTS OF SERVICE

If this is your primary love language, you feel loved when your spouse says “let me do that for you”, and helps to ease your burdens or share your responsibilities e.g. cooking a meal, washing the car. Broken commitments, unwillingness to help, laziness/ sloppiness, or taking your spouse for granted, all send the message that your spouse doesn’t matter.

Even if you and your spouse share the same primary love language of Acts of Service, you make speak different “dialects” or value different types of support being rendered (e.g. she may prefer that you wash the dishes while you may prefer that she irons your clothes. Try asking your spouse to list down the tasks that he/she considers most important, and do them.

LOVE LANGUAGE #5: PHYSICAL TOUCH

Physical touch can bring a sense of security and connection to any relationship. If this is your primary love language, you crave shows of care and love through is thoughtful touches, hugs, kisses, pats on the back, and/ or sexual intercourse. Neglect or abuse can cause serious damage and hurt to you emotionally.

Like other love languages, there are different dialects in physical touch, such as loving touches on the arm/ back/ shoulders, a back rub, sexual foreplay and intercourse, sitting closely on the couch, holding hands etc.  Even if you share the same love language of physical touch, don’t assume he/she speaks the same dialect as you.

The 5 Love Languages summary - overview of 5 languages

Getting Started

To discover your primary love language, ask yourself:

  • What makes you feel most loved by your spouse? What do you desire the most from your spouse?
  • What does your spouse fail to do or say that hurts you deeply or brings you deepest pain?
  • What do you do to express love to your spouse? You tend to do what you wish he/ she would do for you

In our complete 10-page summary, we also share these powerful tools to help us express love more effectively and to feel loved in return:

TANK CHECK GAME

If you wish to develop your understanding of and stimulate the love expressions in your relationship, this is a great game to try out with your spouse and watch your love deepen!

TURNING THINGS AROUND

Even if you and your spouse have had an empty love tank for a long time, it is still possible to turn things around. Find out how you can restart your love engine with Dr Chapman’s suggested approach.

FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES AND CHILDREN

Find out how to identify your children’s love languages and how to develop a strong and loving relationship with them.

A Guide from Your Readingraphics Founder

Looking for more details and practical tips for using the 5 Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman? Our founder Angela Lam has explained the concept in full detail and provided actionable tips to help you discover yours and your partners:

You can also check out similar deep dives on our founder’s Youtube channel, GrowthGarden. Use this guide along with our summary bundle to further grasp the key ideas of this book and turn your learnings into real-life application.

Other Details in “The 5 Love Languages”

Chapman used many real-life examples from his own marriage, and of couples that he had counselled across the years, to illustrate the concepts in his book and how they can be applied to address different marriage/ relationship issues and circumstances. These are case studies help us to identify similarities and lessons for our own relationships. Interested in learning more about these? Check out our complete book summary bundle which includes an infographic, 10-page text summary, and a 21-minute audio summary. The 5 Love Languages summary - book summary bundle

In the book, he also offers 2 pages of additional ideas and suggestions for each of the five love languages, as well as separate love language profile surveys for husbands and wives (to identify your primary love language. If you enjoyed the ideas in this article, do get The 5 Love Languages book from Amazon now!  More resources, including free online profiling surveys, are available at the official website.

Are the 5 love languages applicable at the workplace? Read The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace summary to find out!

About the Author of The 5 Love Languages

The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts is written by Dr. Gary Demonte Chapman— an author and  relationship counsellor. He is the director of Marriage and Family Life Consultants, Inc, and also hosts radio programs about marriage and relationships, airing on more than 400 stations. He speaks to thousands of couples through his weekend marriage conferences. He currently live in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where he serves as senior associate pastor at Calvary Baptist Church. Dr. Chapman holds BA and MA degrees in anthropology from Wheaton College and Wake Forest University, respectively, MRE and PhD degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and has completed postgraduate work at the University of North Carolina and Duke University.

With the success of his first book The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate, he has expanded his Five Love Languages series to reach out specifically to singles, men, and parents of teens and young children. He also co-authored The Five Languages of Apology with Dr. Jennifer Thomas, and The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Paul White. He is also the author of numerous other books on marriage and relationships.

The 5 Love Languages Quotes

“At the heart of mankind’s existence is the desire to be intimate and to be loved by another. Marriage is designed to meet that need for intimacy and love.”

“Love doesn’t keep a score of wrongs. Love doesn’t bring up past failures….Forgiveness is the way of love.”

“If we are to develop an intimate relationship, we need to know each other’s desires. If we wish to love each other, we need to know what the other person wants.”

“Requests give direction to love, but demands stop the flow of love.”

“Love doesn’t erase the past, but it makes the future different.”

Click here to download The 5 Love Languages book summary and infographic

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