Why I Read this Book: There is nothing more important in my life than the relationships that fill it. The relationship with my significant other is at the top of that list. This book leads that relationship to greatness.
Not long ago I was chatting with an Anthony Robbins life coach. This was a first experience for me but coaching had come so highly recommended by others in my life that it would have been foolish to not at least explore. One of the main topics of our conversation was of course the woman I have been in a relationship with for over four years. We had recently been put into a long distance scenario due to a change in my career. For those of you who have been there, you know how difficult communication can be between you and your loved one. Unfortunately some of you I am sure also know how much more complex that communication can be when you cannot physically be close to each other. This coach saw my pain and having read The Five Love Languages, she recommended it for Chelsea and me.
The thing about relationships is that when they are good it is as if there is nothing in the world that can be bad. Everything just seems to fall into place perfectly. The contrary is that when things are not right with the person you love, you are in for a lot of hardship. All of a sudden the other nice things in your life do not seem to matter so much any more. There are practically infinite reasons why something can go wrong between two people in a relationship, but believe it or not, the great majority of the time it boils down to a “simple” issue of communication or lack thereof. I cannot begin to count the times that miscommunication and misinterpretation has been the root of relationship problems of mine and others with whom I am close.
Gary Chapman has spent many years on this topic of communication between loved ones. Out of all the possible forms of communication or miscommunication, he has come up with five different categories for communication, which he has dubbed The Five Love Languages. These categories are: Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Gifts, Acts of Service and Physical touch. The reason I am not hesitant to tell you these before you read the book is because they are clearly noted on the outside cover. Please remember that to know the five languages is nothing without understanding what they mean by reading the book. Over the years Gary has counseled thousands of couples and has learned that so often the problem comes from the fact that each member of the relationship speaks a different primary love language.
As you may have noticed from some of my other reviews, one of the main things that makes the difference between a good book and a great book are the examples used. Given Gary’s life background as a marriage coach and counselor, he has some of the most powerful examples from his past. They so clearly show the effectiveness of the concepts in his book. More than anything these examples show that the five love languages are real. To me there is nothing more powerful.
Gary’s research and life experience shows that it is very rare for two people in a relationship to speak the same love language. For that reason, it is fundamental both people understand their love language and that of their loved one so that they can communicate in a way that is effective and conducive with the one they love. I know it sounds simple and to be honest it is. But that is the case with most of these books. Sure it makes perfect sense once you finish the last page of a book, but you have to remember that often it is the words in the book that brings common sense into your conscious. That is the sign of a great book and author.
This book has changed my life with Chelsea. I read it months ago and realized many things that now seem so obvious. For so long I felt I was expressing what I wanted to her, but it was not until reading this book that I understood the simple things that keep us from seeing the things that were most important to each other. I bought this book the day that coach mentioned it to me. As you may know by now, any time someone I respect recommends a book that has personally affected them in a positive way; I make it a priority on my reading list. How could I not?
This book was an extremely easy read. Part of that was because the author was so right on with his stories and examples and the other part was because it was written in short digestible chapters. It’s the type of book that could be finished in a nice weekend if you wanted. There are also great activities included in the back to help better understand your love language. One warning I will offer is that this book is written with the married audience in mind. This can be a turnoff to many and at first it was to me because I am not married. This is not a book just for people in a marriage. It is for anyone who is in a serious relationship or is serious about relationships.
Chelsea and I are now starting to read this book again, together. We have not been this happy in a long time and I have Gary to sincerely thank for that. There are some things in life that can make it the very best or the very worst. Often times it is the little things that can make a world of difference. Understanding your love language and more importantly that of your significant other is that little thing. Are you willing to spend a day, a weekend or a week understanding this, or to at least to get started? Those of you who have been there will surely answer yes, and those of you who have not will be there one day. This is the chance to make that difference. As Gary says, “Remember that what ever the quality of your relationship now, it can always be better.” That’s what keeps us all interested. Have fun with your new language.
“The object of love is not getting something you want but doing something for the well-being of the one you love. It is a fact, however, that when we receive affirming words we are far more likely to be motivated to reciprocate.”
“I am amazed by how many individuals mess up every new day with yesterday.”
“The best thing you can do with the failures of the past is let them be history.” —Gary Chapman
“We forget that marriage is a relationship, not a project to be completed or a problem to solve.”
“We are influenced by our personality but not controlled by it.”
“Requests give direction to love, but demands stop the flow of love.”
“Love is a choice.”
“Physical touch can make or break a relationship. It can communicate hate or love.”
“Poor choices in the past does not mean we must make them in the future.”
“All we can do is try to make the future different.”