Summary - 5 Love Languages

5 love languages book coverBy Gary Chapman


The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts has sold over fifteen million copies in English and has been translated into over fifty languages around the world. It has helped literally millions of couples learn how to connect with each other and keep emotional love alive. They have made the transition from Stage One to Stage Two. They have learned how to express love effectively.

Here is a brief summary of the five love languages:Summary chart 5 love languages

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1. Words of Affirmation. This language uses words to affirm the other person. "I really appreciate your washing the car. It looks great." "Thanks for taking out the garbage. You are the greatest." "You look nice in that outfit." "I love the fact that you are so optimistic." "I admire the way you helped your mother." "Your smile is contagious. Did you see the way everyone seemed to brighten up when you came into the room?" All of these are words of affirmation. Your words may focus on the other person's personality or the way they look or something they have done for you or for others. To speak this language, you look for things you admire or appreciate about the person and you verbally express your admiration. If a person's primary love language is words of affirmation, your words will be like rain falling on dry soil. Nothing will speak more deeply of your love than words of affirmation.

2. Acts of Service. For these people, actions speak louder than words. If you speak words of affirmation to this person such as "I admire you, I appreciate you, I love you," they will likely think and perhaps say, "If you love me, why don't you do something to help me around the house?" If acts of service is their primary love language, then washing the car, mowing the grass, helping around the house, and changing the baby's diaper is precisely what makes them feel loved. The key to loving this person is to find out what things they would like for you to do. Then do them consistently.

3. Receiving Gifts. For some people, what makes them feel most loved is to receive a gift. The gift communicates, "He was thinking about me. Look what he got for me." The best gifts are those that you know will be appreciated. To give her a fishing rod when she does not enjoy fishing will probably not communicate your love very well. How do you find out what the other person would like to receive? You ask ques- tions and you make observations. You observe the comments they make when they receive gifts from other family members. Listen carefully and you will discover the kind of gifts they appreciate most. Also listen to the comments they make when they are scrolling online or when you two are browsing in a bookstore, home design shop, outdoor gear retailer- whatever your or your spouse's interest is. If they say, "I'd like to have one of those," make a note of it. You can also overtly ask, "If I wanted to give you a gift, give me a list of things you would like to have." Better to give a gift that they have requested than to surprise them with a gift they do not desire. Not all gifts need to be expensive. A rose, a candy bar, a card, a book-any of these can communicate love deeply to the person whose love language is receiving gifts.

4. Quality Time. Quality time is giving the other person your undivided attention. It is not sitting in the same room watch- ing TV. Someone else has your attention. It is being in the same room with the TV and phone off, looking at each other, talking, and listening. It may also be taking a walk together so long as your purpose is to be with each other, not simply to get exercise. Couples who go to a restaurant and never talk to each other have not spoken the language of quality time. They have simply met their physical need for food. Quality time says, "I'm doing this because I want to be with you." Whether you are planting a garden together or going on a camping trip, the ultimate purpose is to spend time with each other. For some people, nothing makes them feel more loved than quality time.

5. Physical Touch. We have long known the emotional power of physical touch. Research indicates that babies who are touched and cuddled fare better emotionally than babies who spend long periods of time without physical touch. Every culture has appropriate and inappropriate touches between members of the opposite of sex. Appropriate touch is loving. Inappropriate touch is demeaning. To the person whose pri- mary love language is physical touch, nothing speaks more deeply than appropriate touch.


Here are three approaches to help you discover your own pri- mary love language. First, observe your own behavior. How do you typically express love and appreciation to other people? If you are always patting people on the back or giving them hugs, then your primary language may be physical touch. If you freely give encour- aging words to others, then words of affirmation is likely your love language. If you are a gift giver, then perhaps what you desire is receiving gifts. If you enjoy having lunch or taking a walk with a friend, then quality time is probably your love language. If you are always looking for ways to help people, then acts of service may well be your love language. The language you speak is most likely the language you wish to receive.

Second, what do you complain about? In any human relation- ship, what is your most common complaint? If you often complain that people don't help you, then acts of service is likely your lan- guage. If you say to a friend, "We don't ever spend time together," then you are indicating that quality time is your love language. If your friend goes on a business trip and you say, "You didn't bring me anything?" you are revealing that receiving gifts is your primary love language. If you say, "I don't think you would ever touch me if I didn't initiate it," you are saying that physical touch is your love lan- guage. If you complain, "I don't ever do anything right," your com- plaint indicates that words of affirmation speak deeply to you. The complaints reveal what you most like to receive from other people.

Third, what do you request most often? If your friend is leaving on a business trip and you say, "Be sure and bring me a surprise," you are indicating that gifts are important to you. If you say, "Could we take a walk together this evening?" you are requesting quality time. If you ask for a back rub, you are revealing that physical touch speaks deeply to you. If you often ask people to do things to help you, acts of service is likely your love language. When you ask, "Did I do a good job?" you are requesting words of affirmation.

Observe how you most often express love and appreciation to others; list your complaints and requests, and you will likely be able to determine your own primary love language. Have your friend answer the same three questions and they can discover their love language. You may also wish to take the free love language quiz available at

It will be obvious that learning to speak a love language other than your own will take effort. The person who did not grow up receiving words of affirmation may find it difficult to give them. The person who grew up in a family that was not "touchy-feely" will have to learn to speak the language of physical touch. The good news is that all of these languages can be learned and the more you speak them, the easier they become.

My wife's love language is acts of service. That's why I vacuum floors, wash dishes, and take out the garbage. It's a small price to keep love alive. My language is words of affirmation. That's why I never leave the house without hearing my wife give me a positive word. Without hesitation, I can say that the emotional depth of our love for each other is far deeper than in those early days when we were swept along by euphoric feelings. Keeping romantic love alive in a marriage requires making a successful transition from Stage One to Stage Two. Learning each other's primary love language while you are dating will make the transition much easier. That is my desire for you.