I recently read for the first time the popular book, The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman (Northfield Publishing, 1995). The easy-reading book has a phenomenal concept on how people express love toward and how they receive love from one another. The concept is called love languages and they include: words of affirmation; quality time; receiving gifts; acts of service; and physical touch.
Being raised in church and being active in church throughout my adult life I encountered the concepts of love languages in premarital counseling, small group discussions, and the like.
However, I never read the book. Over the last few weeks my wife and I and a few other couples read through the book together. It was interesting to actually read through it because I discovered a number of things that I misunderstood about the concepts or just never knew.
One of those concepts that I was awakened to was differentiating the love language acts of service and the love language receiving gifts. I have always thought these two love languages were similar because if somebody does an act of service for me it is like receiving a gift. However, the love language acts of service are services that are done regularly. For instance, a husband who does the dishes every night is giving an “act of service” to his wife. However, a wife who takes out the garbage on a random night is giving a “gift” to her spouse who normally would take out the garbage.
The book is full of great ways to implement the five love languages in meaningful relationships. It also has a chapter on how to minister to friends in difficult relationships as well as a chapter on how to minister to one’s children with the love languages concept.
I highly recommend the book for couples and families. It also makes a great small group book for a couple’s fellowship. Moreover, the book is helpful for anyone who would like to understand better ways to express love to one’s friends and family members.