Annalisa's Reviews > The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate

The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
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Dec 03, 08

bookshelves: resource, audiobook, non-fiction
Recommended to Annalisa by: Amie
Read in December, 2008

As if you didn't already know, the concept of this book is that people express and feel love differently. The concepts are fairly common sense ones and really I didn't actually need to read the book because I'd already figured out my love language. I didn't know how to express that I feel and share love when people open up to me and share their thoughts, opinions, fears, etc with me and wondered how that correlated with the five languages, but there it was as a dialect of quality time. My acts of service husband on the other hand was easy to figure out. When other women express jealousy that my can't-sit-still husband is constantly working on projects which means he quickly does things I ask of him, I remind them that yes that is nice, but I'm sure they enjoy the time they spend with their husbands too. There are pros and cons to all the languages and therefore I think the best solution is a combination.

But that could just be me. One of the things I pride myself on is being a very good reader of people. Sometimes it may take me a while to figure out the nuts and bolts of a person's brain, but eventually I do and knowing what makes a person tick gives me empathy toward them because I can always see why they arrive at the solutions and actions they do. And part of the makeup of a person's brain is the way they show love. If I understand that a person is sharing a part of themselves with me because they care about me, it doesn't really matter to me that it's not my love language. If it means something to them, it means something to me. Yes I probably still need some of my love language at least some of the time, but I can still accept others' languages with the spirit intended.

Some people may take issue with Dr. Chapman's spiritual reference, but as a religious person, when you talk about love, you have to see that from a religious standpoint. Love doesn't make sense without Christ. I did however disagree with him on one point. When discussing the commandment to love your enemy, he said that we love our enemy in hopes that they will change and accept that love. I don't think that's true at all and is a dangerous viewpoint because it emphasizes waiting and needing someone else to change. All of the Savior's commandments are for our benefit and this is no different. When we show love to our enemies it is for us to change our own hatred of them, and if as a consequence to the love we offer them they soften towards us that is an added bonus. We give love because it changes and helps us.

While saying to give the proper love to your spouse can turn a bad marriage good sounds too easy to be true, there is a lot to be said about how much we tolerate for love. Feeling loved and appreciated won't change your communication patterns or differences, but it will give you a safe environment in which you don't resent vulnerability to your spouse. More than the analysis of the love languages, I enjoyed to concept that when you live past the falling in love stage of a marriage, you need to learn to live and love together and it's not easy. I wish everyone knew this before taking vows. Marriage is work that is never as easy as the days of dating and while divorce is necessary in some cases, much of time learning to live with and love each other is a better option. In the end it's worth it to have and give love.

This review is turning more into my impressions about giving and receiving love than a review of the book (which I listened to in audio format and cannot get the southern accent of the reader out of my head). Since one of the reasons I write reviews is so I can come back and remember what I felt and thought while reading a book, I'll continue along those lines as I go over the love languages. One of the things that I enjoyed about the book was in synopsis of each love language, he discusses why it's important in a way that makes it seem like each love language is vital to love. All the languages are important and we should use all forms of showing love. For me the sincerity of an action speaks louder than the form. This is more an analysis of how I feel and act about each language than a review of Dr. Chapman's analysis of it.

Words of Affirmation:I grew up with a mother who wore out the phrase "I love you." I do it with my own daughter, but eventually if you say it enough, you begin saying out of habit and not out of any particular feeling at the time. So you have to be careful to say it with meaning. My husband is not overabundant with this language which makes what he does share more powerful. Expressing out we feel verbally seems more of a female quality anyway. I've been going through my old schoolwork and it's amazing how well I would perform for a teacher who gave me praise and remembering that motivation. As an adult, I don't always trust praise because it often comes with a motive for performance. When you dish out compliments or love verbally, the intention behind your words speaks louder than words themselves. It's nice to hear every now and then, but it should always be sincere.

Quality Time:I'm amazed of late at how little of the time I offer is quality. It's the multitasker in me (gratefully neither my husband or daughter particularly speak this language). When you are in the same vicinity thinking of or observing different things, you aren't spending time together, but to my husband time is time so I have to be proactive. One of the tests for discovering your language is what hurts you the most. For me, that is when someone turns a vulnerability on me that they discovered from things I've shared with them. When I am hurt by or distrustful of someone, I stop sharing information with them. To me, free reign on my brain is something that doesn't necessarily have to be earned, but can be revoked. In my opinion, this is the language (at least the conversation dialect) that makes you most vulnerable because you aren't sharing things with people, but yourself.

Acts of Service:My issue with this one is again intent. If you do the same things you would do anyway (make dinner, earn a living, etc), and especially if you do those things begrudgingly, there is no way to interpret it as an act of love. If you're going to express love, you have to go above and beyond your daily routine or do it in a way that makes it special. I often take for granted all my husband does as just the way he is, the way he was raised, when I should be reading more into his actions. To me acts of service seems like such a typical guy love language. I didn't really think I spoke this language until I realized this is how I speak platonic love. I love it when there is something I can do or something I can lend or have advice asked of me by my friends.

Gifts:This one stresses me out. I'm not really in to gifts—at all—so when I have to get a gift I get bogged down in the pressure to be creative, thoughtful, just right. It stresses me out enough that I would rather do away with gift giving all together. That sounds extreme. Yes gifts when they are right are nice, but I always stress about opening them and finding something I don't like or need and about receiving the same reaction from people I give gifts to. For important things like Christmas, I'd rather take the money. And more often than not, I'd rather get a card or better yet an email from someone than a gift. So yes gifts are at the bottom of my list. And it is my lot in life to have a daughter who speaks this loud and clear. Gratefully at this age, she's still young enough that I know what she wants and how to please her.

Physical Touch:I think the reason I don't like to be touched is not because I don't speak this love language, but because I do. I reserve hugs, kisses, snuggles, holding hands, etc for my husband and daughter. To me it's an intimate gesture, which is rather unexpected coming from such a touchy-feely family, or maybe it is a result of it. My daughter doesn't innately speaks this language, but she's still little enough to snuggle with me on occasion. My husband on the hand other definitely does not speak this language, but I'd rather initiate touch than be touched when it bothers me so it's probably best that way. And I'm talking about all touch. Even when my husband reaches out and places a hand on me, I will often shrink away from the touch. I think women tend to speak physical touch more than guys do.

So there you have it. I just rambled on about practically nothing and called it a review. But if you were paying attention since I shared a little of myself with you, I was sharing love. So go spread a little yourself by sharing a little more of the love you speak to other people. Or better yet, share a little of the love they speak. You'll be surprised how well people respond to love.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Lisa (new)

Lisa I will be interested to see what you think about this book. I found it to be really interesting - I had Jason read it after I did. It was totally enlightening to find what our love languages were - we thought we knew each other's languages - but he was totally off the mark. Ha!


Michelle This was thoroughly entertaining, Annalisa! Thanks for sharing.


Annalisa I try :). If I'm going to review to write about a straight forward book that everyone else has read, I figure its best to mix it up a bit.


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