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Learning the Languages of Love

By Bryan Goodland

Cover of The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate.

The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate.

Being in a good relationship takes practice and time; it is a skill learned throughout one’s life. As the saying goes, with age does come wisdom and what better gift to give future generations then teaching them how to care for the ones they love.

Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to start thinking about love and relationships, especially about how to have a good one. This is where love languages can be beneficial. If you’ve never heard of a love language then now is the time to start, and if you already know them like the back of your hand, then it’s time to share what you know.

In 1992, Gary Chapman published a book called “The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate.” The book posits that every person has two specific love languages, one primary and one secondary, which best expresses how that person gives and receives love.

The idea is that each of us naturally expresses love in various forms. The book discusses five love languages: receiving gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service and physical touch. According to Chapman’s book, these types of love are evident in people and through observation and discussion, a person’s love language can be identified.

For example, people who identify as having the love language of quality time want above anything else, to spend time with their partner. According to the book, it doesn’t necessarily mean going on a week-long vacation together, but might mean just sitting down and sharing a meal.

Another type of love language is words of affirmation. This love language is looking for kind words and nurturing language. Telling your partner they look fabulous or did a great job on a project are all examples of ‘affirmational’ words and sentences.

The overall premise of the book is that couples will thrive when they learn to speak their partner’s specific love language. The book also discusses the fact that frustration can arise when a partner is giving love in their specific love language, but their partner has a different love language altogether. In essence, one person is speaking a foreign language and the other person simply can’t understand what they are saying.

Chapman discusses in the book that people should learn their own love languages by thinking about how they like to receive love and what acts make them feel most loved. In addition, people in a relationship should learn their partner’s love language so they can effectively speak it whenever they are together. Chapman’s book discusses that learning these languages are the keys to successful and long term relationships.

The book has been a commercial success and has had a place on the New York Times best-seller list since 2009. The book has sold more than 11 million copies in English and has been translated into 49 other languages. The original love languages book has also spawned several different versions including one about kids, teenagers, workplace relationships and even a version for military members.

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