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Review: The Five Love Languages

There are few people who haven’t heard of The Five Love Languages. It has been an international bestseller, since its original publication in 1992. As a relationship counselor and coach, I have become passionate about assisting couples with the development of relationship-enhancement skills and communication skills. The Five Love Languages has always been one of my primary teaching and intervention tools. I even encourage people who are not involved in romantic relationships to read the book, because all intimate relationships are not romantic ones; an intimate relationship simply means that we are closely acquainted with someone, or very familiar with them. That could mean a cousin who grew up with you , or a coworker that has worked with you for 15 years. At any rate, everyone has a primary love language regardless of whether or not the person is in a romantic relationship.

The author’s purpose in writing the book was because after 30 years of marriage counseling he believed that people speak and understand love in five primary ways: Words Of Affirmation, Physical Touch, Acts of Service, Quality Time, and Receiving Gifts. He also realized that in a relationship, the individuals rarely speak the same love language...confusion occurs when one person repeatedly expresses love, but the other person receives it as a foreign language. Herein lies the miscommunication.

When we assume that others know what we are thinking, and what we expect of them, we do them a real disservice. We assume, we blame, we become angry and resentful when things don't go the way we expected, and we realize that our needs have gone unmet.

I won’t go into detail describing all of the love languages because I’m recommending that you read the book... but I will give a sneak peek of examples:

Words of Affirmation

  • “I really appreciate it when you help me keep the house picked up.”

  • “Thank you...I really feel like I can count on you.”

  • “You look great in that color!”

  • “I’m here to listen to you.”

Quality Time

  • Having quality conversation

  • Ask significant other for a list of activities he/she would enjoy doing with you

  • Plan a date night for the two of you

  • Think of something that your significant other really enjoys but you don’t; say that you want to expand your horizons

  • Family time

Receiving Gifts

  • Keep a list of gift ideas handy

  • Enlist a personal shopper

  • Listen to thing in conversation (of which your significant other shows interest)

  • Give “little” gifts frequently

Acts of Service

  • Take the initiative with tasks that need to be done (don’t wait to be asked)

  • If you have more money than time, hire a cleaning service a few times a month

  • Ask your significant other for a list of things that he/she really wants done and add these things to your schedule immediately

Physical Touch

  • Holding hands

  • Foot massage

  • Initiate sex

  • Any non-sexual touching

The author even has love language assessments in the book (it’s also online). I always ask people to take the quiz before reading the gives puts them in a frame of mind for personal growth, and provides some incentive to further explore the love languages of others.

When I joined the Sexology Institute team as a relationship coach and counselor, I was delighted to discover that The Five Love Languages is used as a relationship-building tool there also! The Institute has the book in supply, and Dr. Melissa Jones often recommends it to couples as part of their intimacy development.

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