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Book Review: The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman (4/5)

18 Aug

When I was in college, my roommate read this book. She told me about it and how it made sense in her relationship and helped her think about how to best communicate with her long-distance boyfriend. I liked the idea of it and I’ve actually purchased it for friends as a wedding gift but I haven’t read it myself. While waiting for an audiobook hold to come it, I figured I’d have just about enough time to get through it and I’m really glad I read it.

Cover image via Goodreads

Cover image via Goodreads

The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman

Summary from Goodreads:

Marriage should be based on love, right? But does it seem as though you and your spouse are speaking two different languages? #1 New York Times bestselling author Dr. Gary Chapman guides couples in identifying, understanding, and speaking their spouse’s primary love language-quality time, words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, or physical touch.

By learning the five love languages, you and your spouse will discover your unique love languages and learn practical steps in truly loving each other. Chapters are categorized by love language for easy reference, and each one ends with simple steps to express a specific language to your spouse and guide your marriage in the right direction. A newly designed love languages assessment will help you understand and strengthen your relationship. You can build a lasting, loving marriage together.

This book makes a lot of sense. When I thought about what my husband does that shows me he loves me, it seemed really obvious that acts of service are important to me. I also value quality time and I know gifts matter the least to me. It was very eye-opening to go through this book and see different couples and how they interacted with each other and how their marriages were impacted by the love language they valued most. I’m still trying to figure out my husband’s primary love language but I’ve narrowed it down to two.


Thankfully, I couldn’t relate to any of the stories in the book. I’m three years into my marriage and I either still have the ‘in love’ feeling, or my husband is speaking my love language because I’m beyond happy. It was incredible to hear stories of marriages that were turned around with this practice and Dr. Chapman’s book. It makes sense to me and it makes me really happy to hear that this book really helps people. I thought it was fun to hear that the book has been translated into many languages and is read in many cultures where it still makes sense. We’re not all that different around the world after all.

Dr. Gary Chapman Image via the 5 Love Languages website

Dr. Gary Chapman
Image via the 5 Love Languages website

I thought Chapman used a good mix of examples and teaching. It helped explain and highlight his points well. I liked that he used personal examples, too. It’s good that he’s open about the marital trouble he had early in his relationship with his wife, it helps solidify his point.

I felt that a lot of the examples and stories stuck to very traditional gender roles. A lot of the stories talked about women living at home and raising children while the men worked and how a man didn’t think he should have to clean because a woman would do that. This upset me a lot because it’s not what I grew up with and it’s not like my marriage now. My mom worked from the time I was nine and my dad always washed the dishes and took out the trash. I cook in my home but my husband cleans the bathroom. I felt it was a little off-putting to use only examples with strong traditional gender roles because it made me wonder how the advice would apply to my life.

Chapman narrates the book himself and I think he did well. There was an interview with him at the beginning so I was ready for his soft Southern accent. He had good inflection through the book and he was easy to understand without speaking too quietly.

I think this would be a good book for anyone in marital difficult to read and even for those without problems or not yet married. It’s helped me see how I could better demonstrate my love to my husband and that the things I want him to do for me might not mean the same things to him. I think I might start making this a standard wedding gift from us again.

Writer’s Takeaway: I don’t write much non-fiction but I liked Chapman’s storytelling style. He was very conversational and told his anecdotes simply, not dressing up or dramatizing the details. The tone made me feel like I might be at one of his seminars or reading his presentation notes. I think it was a very effective style for this subject matter and genre.

I really enjoyed this quick book and I got a lot out of reading it. Four out of Five stars.

Until next time, write on.

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The 5 Love Languages | Covenant Couples