Quicklet on Gary Chapman's The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts

by Claire Shefchik

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    • About the Book
    • Introducing the Author
    • Overall Summary
    • Chapter-by-Chapter
    • Important Figures
    • Notable Terms and Definitions
    • Interesting Related Facts
    • Source Citation
    • Additional Reading



Love is a many splendored thing, or so the saying goes. But in today’s fast-paced and often stressful world, too many couples become distracted from the essence of romance and the attraction that initially drew them to each other. Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts is a modern-day guide to sustaining loving, caring relationships amid the common causes of love loss and disinterest. A long-time marriage counselor, Chapman provides noteworthy insights on how to get through difficult times in a relationship and emerge closer than ever, secure in the realization that understanding your partner and in turn knowing how to communicate effectively with him or her is the key to a lasting, vibrant romance.

“After many years of counseling, Dr. Chapman noticed a pattern: everyone he had ever counseled had a ‘love language, a primary way of expressing and interpreting love. He also discovered that, for whatever reason, people are usually drawn to those who speak a different love language than their own...The Five Love Languages has helped countless couples identify practical and powerful ways to express love, simply by using the appropriate love language.” (5LoveLanguages.com, About the Book)

Similar to the advantages of being multilingual in a multicultural society, familiarity with the differing ways of expressing and interpreting love will yield considerable benefits in the form of strong, happy relationships characterized by understanding and unconditional love. The word “love” in and of itself is such a pervasive term in everyday language, it lends itself to confusion and misinterpretation. “The purpose of this book is not to eliminate all confusion surrounding the word love, but to focus on that kind of love that is essential to our emotional health,” Chapman wrote. The need for emotional love and acceptance, as opposed to material or sexual, is the driving force for the bulk of human behaviors and a person’s overall state of mind. A person who feels unfulfilled in this respect is sure to encounter severe distress and pain throughout their lives.


Keeping the Love Tank Full

The need to feel loved is a powerful driving force in the human psyche. A dead marriage as well as children who misbehave is often the result of an empty “emotional love tank.” Despite love’s importance, it is also elusive. Making it last within a marriage or romantic relationship depends on keeping the love tank full by learning to speak your spouse or significant other’s love language.

Beyond anything from the material realm, love is the most important aspect of human existence. The human psyche must feel loved and appreciated. If it doesn’t pain and destructive behavior are sure to follow. One man Campbell mentions expressed this accordingly: “‘What good is the house, the cars, the place at the beach, or any of the rest of it if your wife doesn’t love you?...More than anything, I want to be loved by my wife’” (Chapman, The 5 Love Languages). A wife commented: “‘He ignores me all day long and then wants to jump in bed with me. I hate it.’ She is not a wife who hates sex; she is a wife desperately pleading for emotional love” (Chapman, The 5 Love Languages).

Falling in Love

The euphoria of infatuation and the initial stages of falling in love with someone clouds people’s judgment and can lead to poor relationship choices. We idealize our beloved to the point of refusing to recognizing warning signs that may indicate the person isn’t all we’ve built him or her up to be. When marriage becomes a seriously considered option, we focus only on how wonderful it will be to live happily ever after.

But inevitably reality will rear its ugly head after an average of two years. The euphoria will wear off and the negative traits we ignored during the falling-in-love stage become major issues. Cultivating “real love” is the key to preventing this from destroying a relationship. Spouses must be conscious of the temporariness of falling in love and focus on the choice aspect of real love. “If love is a choice, then [couples] have the capacity to love after the ‘in-love’ obsession has died and they have returned to the real world. That kind of love begins with an attitude—a way of thinking” (Chapman, The 5 Love Languages).

Janice is a patient of Chapman’s who provides an example of the euphoric “in-love” mentality. She has decided to rush into a marriage with a man, David, who at this stage seems flawless. “I know it’s crazy, but I am so happy,” she told Chapman one day after showing up at his office without an appointment beaming with excitement. “I have never been this happy in my life.” Despite Janice’s enthusiasm, Chapman points out: “The facts that David has been married twice before, has three children, and has had three jobs in the past year are trivial to Janice. She’s happy, and she is convinced that she is going to be happy forever with David. She is in love.”

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