I generally shy away from books everyone tells me to read, maybe some defiance left over from childhood. But I couldn’t ignore the amount of couple’s therapy clients asking me if I read it. I didn’t want to remain ignorant, so I did.
The theory is sound. There are 5 “Love Languages” or ways in which people feel loved by a partner. Most of us try to show love the way we feel loved, and that doesn’t work if your partner feels loved one of the other four ways (80% chance of failing, in other words). Learn to show love the way your partner feels loved, and, well, it’s that simple. The relationship becomes much more loving and happy.
Therapists have had an idea of this, I imagine, forever. We’ve just used different, and more cumbersome, ways of getting at it and getting each partner to see what the other needs. The author (Dr. Gary Chapman) deserves kudos for vastly simplifying the endeavor and providing easy to understand names for ways people feel loved.
Before I read the book, (and this is pretty common for me) I didn’t feel a whole book was necessary to get the point of the theory and application. I remain convinced this could have been an article (yet now there are 6 or so books by the author based on the same premise). A positive is you don’t need any advanced degree to understand the material. It is easy to read and there are plenty of examples. But I found much of his writing boring and felt I got the point 5 pages ago (one of my major complaints with many books).
Overall, it’s a brilliant idea and some of my clients have found it helpful. I will certainly use the idea in couple’s counseling I provide. But I was turned off by much of his writing, and got the point he was Christian based long before I Googled him after I finished. His ideas are applicable without any of the religious overture, so that doesn’t have to be an issue. I highly recommend the ideas, so I guess I at least recommend the book.