The 5 Love Languages (Gary Chapman)

In the #1 New York Times bestseller, The 5 Love Languages, you’ll discover the secret that’s transformed millions of relationships worldwide. Whether you’re single, or your relationship is flourishing or failing, Gary Chapman’s proven approach to showing and receiving love will help you experience deeper and richer levels of intimacy with future partners, loved ones, or your significant other—starting today

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Falling in love is easy. Staying in love—that’s the challenge. How can you keep your relationship fresh and growing amid the demands, conflicts, and just plain boredom of everyday life?

In the #1 New York Times bestseller The 5 Love Languages, you’ll discover the secret that has transformed millions of relationships worldwide. Whether you’re single, or your relationship is flourishing or failing, Gary Chapman’s proven approach to showing and receiving love will help you experience deeper and richer levels of intimacy with future partners or your significant other—starting today.

With over a million copies sold and now celebrating its 25th anniversary, The 5 Love Languages is as practical as it is insightful.

 

Show notes

In this episode, you’ll learn...

  • What the 5 love language are:

  1. Words of affirmation – giving verbal compliments, appreciation, encouraging words, kind words, humble words

  2. Quality time – giving someone your undivided, focused attention, quality conversation, or spending time doing what your partner considers “quality activities”

  3. Receiving gifts – giving visual symbols of love – purchased, found or made – gifts your partner can hold in their hands and know you were thinking of them; material value does not matter; physical presence (the gift of self) can also be very important

  4. Acts of service – doing things you know your spouse would like you to do and doing them with a positive spirit

  5. Physical touch – holding hands, kissing, hugging, sex, or small touches like touching their arm or patting their back

  • The important thing is to speak the love language of your spouse. Your love language and the love language of your spouse may be as different as Chinese from English. No matter how hard you try to express your love in English, if your spouse only understands Chinese, you will never understand how to love each other.

  • That we have a “love tank” that can run empty when our emotional needs are not being met – and when it is full, we can grow and thrive. When it’s running low, that’s when kids and adults (!) misbehave, act out, or withdraw. This is the source of many couple’s problems (or an opportunity to improve an already great relationship!)

  • To recognize the difference between “in love” experience (a temporary high) and “real love.” Real love is still emotional but not obsessional.  It is a love that unites reason and emotion. It involves an act of the will and requires discipline, and it recognizes the need for personal growth. Our most basic emotional need is not to fall in love but to be genuinely loved by another, to know a “real love” that grows out of reason and choice, not instinct.

Words of affirmation

  • Giving verbal compliments, appreciation, encouraging words, kind words, humble words

  • These are powerful communicators of love and are best expressed in simple, straight-forward statements of affirmation:

    • You look beautiful!

    • You can always make me laugh when I need it most

    • I really appreciate how well you listen…are so patient with the kids when helping with their homework…etc.

  • DIALECT: Encouraging words

    • To inspire courage, speak to an area where your partner might feel insecure. It requires empathy and seeing the worlds from your partner’s perspective; we need to know what is important to our spouse in order to encourage them in a way that is important to them.  We’re giving them credit or praise!

  • DIALECT: Kind words — with a kind tone

  • DIALECT: Humble words — making requests not demands

    • “Can you make that good pasta one of these nights?” vs. “Can’t we get a decent meal around here?!”

  • If you are not a person of many words or if verbal expressions of love are difficult for you:

    • Keep a notebook or a note on your phone of nice ways to express love

    • Say positive things about your partner when they’re not around; it lets you practice in lower stakes and it will get back to them and be flattering!

    • Writing them down – cards, letters, emails, little notes, texts

    • Affirm your partner in front of others

    • Look for your partner’s strengths and compliment those “you’re really keeping up with the job search. I know it’ll pay off”

Quality time

  • Giving someone your undivided, focused attention, quality conversation, or spending time doing what your partner considers “quality activities”

  • Gary says, “What I mean is sitting on the couch with the TV off, looking at each other and talking, devices put away, giving each other your undivided attention. It means taking a walk just the two of you, or going out to eat and looking at each other and talking.”

  • Focused attention is the key. When we give each other twenty minutes of undivided attention, we are giving each other twenty minutes of life.

  • A big part of this is doing something your spouse wants, that matters to them, and doing it wholeheartedly

  • DIALECT: Quality conversation

    • Sympathetic dialogue where two individuals share their experiences, thoughts, feelings, and desires in a friendly, uninterrupted context

    • Learning to listen and ask questions may be as difficult as learning to speak a foreign language!

    • Looking for the emotions they’re expressing, not interrupting, noticing body language

  • DIALECT: Quality activities

    • The essential ingredients in a quality activity are: 1) at least one of you wants to do it, 2) the other is willing to do it, 3) both of you know why you are doing it—to express love by being together

  • If your loved one is Quality Time:

    • Make time – and designate specific times and places for togetherness; it doesn’t have to be constantly!

    • Establish daily sharing time

    • Include your spouse in your day as it is happening (send texts, pictures)

    • Join your partner on an activity they love that you don’t normally take part in

Receiving gifts

  • Giving visual symbols of love – purchased, found or made – gifts your partner can hold in their hands and know you were thinking of them

  • Material value does not matter

  • Physical presence (the gift of self) can also be very important

  • If you are a saver – Gary talks about how some of us have a spending orientation while some of us have a saving and investing perspective – realize that investing in your relationship is the best investment you can make: your relationship and your partner’s love tank

  • If your loved one is Receiving Gifts, this is one of the easiest love languages to learn:

    • Make a list of all the gifts your spouse has expressed excitement about receiving through the years

    • Don’t wait for a special occasion

    • Handmade gifts or little symbols as a picture or objects found in nature that you think they would like

Acts of service

  • Doing things you know your spouse would like you to do and doing them with a positive spirit

  • These acts require thought, planning, time, effort, and energy. A positive spirit is key!

  • They say: “I was thinking of you. You were with me, even when you were gone.”

  • A key is also doing what is important for your partner – not just any old thing

  • Love cannot be demanded; acts of service are different from being a doormat (thank goodness!)

  • If your partner’s love language is Acts of Service:

    • Ask what is important to them

    • Ask your partner to make a list of things they would like you to do over the next month and rank them from 1-10 for what is most important

    • While your partner is out, do something you know they like you do to surprise them

    • If you have more money than time, hire someone so you can delegate the thing no one wants to do!

Physical touch

  • Holding hands, kissing, hugging, sex, or small touches like touching their arm or patting their back

  • Touch can literally communicate love or harm. To the person whose primary love language is physical touch, a physical message will be far louder than saying I love you or I hate you

  • Love touches can be explicit and demand your full attention – like a massage or sex – or implicit and require only a moment, like putting your hand on their back as you pour a cup of coffee.

  • If you did not grow up in a “touching family” this one might ask you to learn this language. Start small like with touching their should as you pass through the room

  • Physical touch is especially critical in comfort when your partner is going through a crisis – hold them when they cry or sit with your hand in theirs while they talk

  • To express love through Physical Touch:

    • Hold their hand

    • Hug them!

    • Try small acts of touch, like when you are sitting together, reach over and put your hand on their leg

    • Touch your spouse in the presence of others; it lets them know you see them even among everyone else in the room

Discovering your primary love language

  • Take the Love Languages Quiz! See the Bookmarked activity below

  • If you’re still not sure, ask yourself these three questions:

  1. What does your spouse do or fail to do that hurts you most deeply? The opposite of what hurts you most is probably your love language

  2. What have you most often requested of your spouse? The thing you have more often requested is likely the thing that would make you feel most loved

  3. In what way do you regularly express love to your spouse? Your method of expressing love may be an indication that that would also make you feel most loved

  • Or, try eliminating one love language at a time – which could you live without? The one that remains is likely your primary love language

  • Note that you might have a hard time determining which yours is IF

    • Your love tank has been full for a long time.  You know you are loved so it’s hard to narrow down what would make you feel most loved.

    • Your love tank has been empty for a long time. You might have a hard time deciding what would be the best way to fill it.


Bookmarked activity

Take the Love Languages Quiz!

Here’s the link!

Understand Your Own Love Language & “Love Tank”

If you’re in a relationship, you could next each other about your respective “love tanks” – by asking how full theirs is, and “what can I do to help fill it?” You could do this as a weekly check-in, or whatever works for you.

If you’re single, consider journaling about what you’ve learned about your primary love language. Or share it with someone close to you; it doesn’t have to be a romantic partner – just someone who will be happy to listen to your insights and serve as a sounding board as you reflect on times when your “love tank” has been especially low or full.  

How will you use this knowledge with your current partner or in the future so that you can continue to build more loving and fulfilling relationships?

Share your takeaways

If you’ve read this book, we’d love to hear about it! Let us know how learning your love language has changed your relationship or if you had any aha moments by emailing us at hello@booksmartpodcast.com. You can also leave us a voicemail at 929-515-BOOK (2665).

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Emily Hammel-ShaverEP 12