Saturday, March 1, 2008


The Five Love Languages is marriage guru Gary Chapman's book on expressing love and commitment to a spouse. The goal here is to get readers to be able to "fill the emotional tanks" of their spouses, which does not always come naturally because people receive love in different ways.

Chapman begins with explaining his "love tank" idea (which is corny, but good), gives a diatribe against the "falling in love" condition, then outlines his five love languages: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. He concludes with various remarks about love, particularly love as a choice. The book ends with little quizzes spouses can take to discover their own love languages.

The book on the whole feels oversimplified. Chapman does not point out here that the kind of love a person likes to receive is not always the kind of love that same person gives. In fact, he suggests the opposite. Chapman's dialogue with the couples he speaks with (as he reports it) is distractingly stilted and unnatural. Even though the book is less than 200 pages, it drags at times, as Chapman beats the horse on each point.

In The Five Love Languages, things are clearly oversimplified. Nevertheless there is some valuable material here. Specifically, there are two important points to take away: that people receive love in different ways, and that love is a choice and an action. From that perspective, almost anyone who is married can benefit from this book.