The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman: a review

The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman offers simple, practical suggestions for enhancing marriages and helping troubled ones. As with everything, commitment is the key.

The thesis of the book is that each person has one, sometimes two ways, or languages, of expressing love. Couples more often fail to convey their love because they simply do not know each other's love language. It is as different as English is from Chinese. During the ‘in love’ part of their relationship, their ‘love tank’ is kept full with the emotional adrenalin rush of it all. But later, an unawareness of their love languages becomes apparent when the arguing begins and their feelings of love for each other decline, eventually emptying their 'love tank'..

Married couples do not need to have the same languages to be happy, but they do need to know what their partner’s language is in order to successfully convey the love they feel for them. Particular ways may even feel unnatural, but the point is that each is choosing to GIVE love to the other.

The languages are
1. Words of Affirmation
2. Quality Time
3. Receiving Gifts
4. Acts of Service
5. Physical Touch

Some need to hear the words "I love you" many times a day, but feel no need for gifts or acts of service. Some don't feel loved unless their spouse gives them little gifts or spends lots of quality time with them, but don't need the words of affirmation or physical touch. Taken In Hand readers may fine that for them there is another love language not mentioned in this book, namely, control. Many Taken In Hand women need their husband's active control the way many others need physical touch or words of affirmation, and would feel unloved without that, no matter how much love their husband was showing in all five of the ways given in the book. For Taken In Hand women, physical touch, words of affirmation, gifts and acts of service are nice but don't speak to their heart the way their husband's firm, active control does. Likewise, for husbands in Taken In Hand relationships, what makes them feel loved more than anything else is the way their wife responds so positively to their control.

People wanting to introduce their spouse to their desire for a Taken In Hand marriage may find this book an aid in expressing their needs.


Taken In Hand Tour start | next


An Eye Opening Aid

The Love Languages Book is a fantastic eye-opener for seeing your partner in a new light. I was frustrated that my husband was always doing "my job" (dishes, laundry) instead of sitting with me or talking with me—I took it as lack of interest in me. But after reading the book, I saw that one of his main "love languages" is acts of service. So by doing those things for me when I couldn't or felt overwhelmed, he was showing his love for me, not ignoring me. It also showed me that I could best show him I love him by making sure things at home got done. It helped so much that now since I've come down with a physical problem (severe pain in my legs makes it impossible/unbearable to walk many days) and often can't get to the housework, I feel guilty and cry that I can't do those things for him, despite his understanding and supportive demeanor.

I applaud you for picking up the book & reading it. Even better, you're idea of a missing "language" in the form of taken in hand marriages is a connection I didn't make. Now that I've read your thoughts, it makes complete sense and I don't know why I didn't see that.

I've made my husband aware of this site and he's read small bits, but trying to communicate my need for a masculine, head of the household, in control husband seems to be reaching deaf ears. Perhaps this insight you've given me will give me a new way to explain my needs.

The Love Languages

My wife's love language turned out to be touch. Just what I wasn't good at, apart from sex. Having got a handle on it, hugging, holding hands etc. she now seems a much happier wife and the touch has now become natural to me.

meeting each others needs

I shared what I had learned in this book with my husband who is still working through what is expected of him in our Taken In Hand relationship.
Whilst he understands the benefits of a Taken In Hand relationship for himself at a personal level, and indeed at a relationship level, it stills feels a bit like he is doing this mostly to meet my needs.

Sharing what I had learned in this book made him aware of how important he is to me and that I am conscious of his needs too. I am ever willing to give time and thought to ideas that will convey my love for him and further enhance our relationship. He is currently reading the book.

I make mistakes too.

I have hitherto thought that my husband had a need for a lot of physical touching and affection which I lovingly gave. I did it for years! I have since discovered that it is me who has high physical needs, not him, and I was simply transferring my needs onto him. I now understand his gently disentangling himself from me—an action that had caused me considerable hurt! I had thought that I was giving him love and was being rejected!

The concept of choosing to give love in a way that is received as love sounds complex until you investigate it carefully.

I want to learn what my husband’s primary love language is in order that I can ensure that the love I give him is received as love. I have a fair idea what it is, but I am looking forward to discussing it with him. Conversely I want him to understand that when he takes me in hand I feel that he is giving me his love. He has not thought of it in such direct terms before.

When phrased in terms of choosing to give love to each other in ways that are received as love, there is likely to be a greater willingness to meet each others needs. And ways of being that may feel different at first usually become comfortable with repetition and time.

It is a win/win situation.