Book Review: Gary Chapman
Over my vacation, my reading list included two books, “The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts” and “Things I Wish I’d Known Before we Got Married”, both by Gary Chapman. The former was a # 1 New York Times Bestseller and recommended to me by a client when I was doing a bit of soul searching (for no particular reason). The latter was well-received as well with over 300,000 copies sold and I bought it for research. I did a bit of digging and found a lot about Gary Chapman. He has a great website, which can be accessed here. The website gives detailed information about each book written by him and also what the 5 love languages are.
Book # 1
First, I will focus on the first book. “The 5 Love Languages” is filled with information about each of the love language. The languages are Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch. I kind of knew what my primary love language was, but still took the quiz to be sure. Yup! I was right. My primary love language is Words of Affirmation (go figure-I am a writer!). The book is packed with solid information and evidence on what those languages are and how to speak them. Why is that important? According to Chapman, unhappiness in marriage often has a simple root cause: we speak different love languages. While working as a marriage counselor for more than 30 years, he categorized human communication style in five love languages (mentioned above). He notes, some husbands or wives may crave focused attention; another needs regular praise. Gifts are highly important to one spouse, while another sees fixing a leaky faucet, ironing a shirt, or cooking a meal as filling their "love tank." Some partners might find physical touch makes them feel valued: holding hands, giving back rubs, and sexual contact. So, he provides solid evidence of his work through case studies and personal anecdotes.
At the end of each chapter are questions to ask oneself. This provides excellent reflection on a deeper level of your marriage and how you communicate. You don’t need to be in a relationship to read this book. It is good to know what your love language is before getting into a relationship so you can show your partner how they can fill your “love tank”. So, how do you discover your spouse’s – and your own – love language? Chapman’s short questionnaires are one of several ways to find out.
This book was published in the 1980’s and although informative, I feel his website does a good job covering what is in the book. The quiz is also on the website so it is entirely up to you how detailed you want to research this particular topic.
Book # 2
I absolutely loved this book! I wouldn’t say it is the most well written book, but it definitely has some smart ideas that you can learn. It’s an easy read as the author provides a compact discussion of skills couples need to manage challenges in a mature marriage.
The veteran counselor and author, who uses his Christian sensibilities and his own early marriage struggles to illustrate how easy it is to underestimate the work that long-term partnerships require. With 35 years of counseling couples, he felt there was a lack of preparation for marriage and the failure to learn the skills of working together as teammates results in divorce. Succinct chapters on topics like family-of-origin habits, attitudes about money, sexual fulfillment, household chores, and making apologies unfold seamlessly. Questions for premarital conversations follow each chapter and can help couples see where the challenges will be when being “in love” evolves into the daily work of emotional intimacy and issues of compatibility. It’s the type of information Gary repeatedly wish he had before he got married.
This is not a book simply to be read. It is a book to be experienced. The material lends itself to heart-felt discussions by dating or engaged couples. To jump-start the exchanges, each short chapter includes insightful “Talking it Over” questions and suggestions. And, the book includes information on interactive websites as well as books that will enhance the couples’ experience.
You can purchase this book for research, but I feel those couples who are in love and are on the way of taking the plunge should definitely invest in this book. It gives ample opportunity to reflect and ask questions to your partner so you can really get to know them. A lot of time during dating, we focus on short term issues rather than long term compatibility like spirituality-this book brings that into the forefront. In conclusion, I would highly recommend this book!