Like eleven million other Americans (literally!), I bought Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages at some point in my relationship. The gist of the book is that there are five “love languages” and everyone prefers one of them: time, touch, gifts, service, and words of affirmation. I remember liking it when I read it several years ago, but I was engaged at the time and it didn’t really stick. I remembered what it said about me (quality time!), but unfortunately not enough about what it said about my fiance. I was young and dumb.
These days, my wife and I are several years into marriage, new jobs, and parenthood. I wanted to learn more about how to better love my wife, and to see if we’d changed language preferences due to life changes. So, I picked up this version of Chapman’s book geared towards husbands.
“If we feel loved by our spouse, the whole world is bright and life is wonderful. On the other hand, if we feel rejected or ignored, the world begins to look dark,” Chapman explains. “True, long-lasting emotional love is a choice. Meeting my wife’s need for love is a choice I make each day.”
I was afraid the book might just be the same book with a different cover slapped on it. It’s not – the love language quiz is there for both spouses, as is a quick explanation of each language. Additionally, each section has practical tips for husbands to become fluent in their wife’s language of choice. The tips and observations are based on Chapman’s findings in working with couples as a counselor. Each chapter includes some tangible ideas and summaries. That’s the front half of the book.
The back half of the book includes tips on how to healthily deal with anger, how to apologize, and other issues. There’s also a Q&A. I was afraid this section would be filler, but I think the anger and apologies section both had useful advice.
I would recommend this book, or some iteration, to anyone trying to be a better partner. I was initially skeptical of the languages theory, but my wife told me earlier today she’s already felt more appreciated. So, in our experience, the advice works! I can’t imagine that trying to love your partner better could be a bad thing!