I'd read the original Five Love Languages from the library several years ago, and I really liked Dr. Chapman's ideas.
They make sense: we each spell L-o-v-e differently. For some of us, it's words of affirmation, others it's acts of service, gift-giving, spending time together, or positive physical touch. Most of us have a dominant love language, identifiable from our own actions and our expectations of others, and all of us need to learn to speak all five languages.
On and off, I had though about the love languages in relation to my family and friends.
Now, Moody Press offers several of Dr. Chapman's books for review, and I was eager to try one again.
The Five Love Languages Singles Edition was a great choice. It encompass a lot of the basic teaching, while not being specifically about marriage.
Dr. Chapman's thesis is that much pain and confusion could be avoided if we just spoke each other's language. I agree.
Within my own family, I know that there's no lack of love, but we certainly all feel unloved at times.
Why? Because we aren't expressing that love in a way that means something to the beloved.
(If I really need a hug, and you offer to vacuum the floor under my desk, you'll wonder why I felt so neglected when you'd been so helpful.)
My Grammy loves receiving gifts. You can give that lady a package of pencils or a pair of socks, and she's hug you and kiss you like you gave her the Hope Diamond. My Mom hates most surprises, and she doesn't like accepting gifts because she knows how much they must have cost. For Mom, it's an act of service that touches her most. A bracelet that Grammy would be delighted to receive will truly mean less to Mom than a week's worth of folded laundry.
Family disharmony can come from very simple roots: Grammy gifts Mom a pink bathrobe for Christmas. Mom looks at it and wonders "Thirty dollars for a garment I'll never wear? Why?" Meanwhile, Mom thinks "I didn't buy her anything, but I know she need's her plants repotted. I'll visit her with new potting soil and make a day of the project, that'll bless both of us."
Was it love? Yes, on both sides, but they were each speaking their own language, and that spelled "You don't understand me!" to the other.
So simple, it's ridiculous. I can see why this book is full of personal stories, from college students with intractable roommates to second marriages, where the Love Languages turned things around.
Too many people, when faced with a personality conflict, react in defensiveness: "I don't need to change what I'm doing- they need to change how they're reacting!" Maybe all you need is a tune-up in they way you both act towards each other?
The other big obstacle I can picture is discomfort: "It's not my style to give verbal praise, hug people, hang out just catching up, etc."
Like Dr. Chapman says, your own style may never change, but you'll probably need to expand your skills so you can meaningfully relate to people with different styles. That's what this whole thing is about... meaningful interaction.
So, if you're curious about the Love Languages, and you're ready to apply them to friends, family, and significant other, then this edition is a fine place to begin. It's got testimonies to show you how this stuff works out in people's lives, it's got an overview of each language, it's got a quiz to assess your own languages, and because it's for singles it's got several chapters specifically looking at the point of dating in the first place. Again, I think Dr. Chapman nails it: dating is ultimately about connecting with another person, and if we aren't used to deep, intentional relationships to start with, dating will be difficult. That's why he applies the Love Languages to every relationship. There's no time like the present to begin learning.
Thank you Moody Press Newsroom for my review copy!