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.
If you have never read through the book go get it and read it, even if you think you know what the book is going to say.