Monday, January 18, 2010

Book Review: The Five Languages

I told someone the other day that I was reading this book and they said "But you're a marriage counselor, how could you not have read it." I know, I know. I've been meaning to for a couple of years now but just never got around to it. "It will always be there," I thought to myself. Finally this Christmas I ordered it from Amazon and read most of it my trip out west. Yesterday I finished the rest.

This book is exceptional. It is very easy to read with a very easy to understand concept. Gary Chapman says that we all have love languages (physical touch, quality time, words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service) that we use to show others we love them and to receive love ourselves. When a romantic relationship begins these needs being met is not so important since we are deep in the "in love" experience - a temporary high that lasts at the most two years. After that, if our spouse doesn't learn how to speak our language our love tanks can get depleted and we can get into serious marital distress. Chapman describes two people trying to love each other with different love languages as being like two people speaking different languages and trying to communicate with sign language and gutteral noises. The problem is that instead of trying to learn what the other person needs as shows of love we just give them what we want. Thus if you are a gifts person you give your mate gifts. Of course if they don't care about gifts and want acts of service you can see how deep frustration can build. I see this in couples therapy all the time.

I went to Chapman's website and profiled myself (check it out here). Jobina knew immediately what her love language was, but unusually I wasn't sure. After taking the profile I could see why, I don't have a really strong primary language. Here's my results:

Words of Service (10) was the highest , but words of affirmation (9) and quality time (7) were close behind. This feels fairly accurate.

I find the book useful, not just in it's treatment of love languages but on how the author stresses the importance of choosing to love. Anyone can love someone who is filling your love tank, what about those who deplete it? What if that person is your spouse? Chapman's ability to motivate a person to selflessness was to me even better then the love languages part. Hopefully I will be able to use this new knowledge in my own marriage and also in my counselling practice. Although Christian it could be recommended to anyone. I rate it 4.8 ninja stars out of 5.


Jobina said...

I'm guessing that you mean that you got a 10 in Acts of service?
Now we need tho get the kids one!

Jay Boaz said...

Not surprisingly, all of my results were really close together (no more than about 2-3 points separating the top and the bottom). I do think the quiz should have an "N/A" option, as sometimes I didn't really agree with either option.

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