Thursday, February 21, 2013

Book Review: Gary Chapman's "The Five Love Languages"

Today's book review was written by one of our awesome counselors - Larry Daniels. Larry is in our Mobile, Flomaton, and Chatom offices. If you would like to learn more about him, click here


This book succinctly examines the five love languages of marital relationships.  When one spouse employs their mate’s love language (what makes them feel loved), the one spouse is “filling their spouse’s love tank.”  The five love languages (with examples of each) are: 
  •       Words of Affirmation:  affirming, complimenting, appreciating, encouraging, supporting and/or praising one’s spouse with kind and positive words.
  •       Quality Time:  giving one’s spouse undivided attention; togetherness; quality activities and quality conversation with eye contact & reflective listening; along with focused/full attention with no TV, no multi-tasking, and no interruptions.
  •       Receiving Gifts:  purchase, made or found gifts (something that can be held in the spouses hand) that says “I was thinking of you;” gifts are visual symbols of love; one’s presence can be a gift of self; gifts need not always be expensive. 
  •      Acts of Service:  requires thought, planning, time, effort and energy; helping one’s spouse and/or doing things for one’s spouse (e.g., doing/assisting with house chores/repairs; helping out with the children; ironing clothes, washing the car, etc.; requests are better than demands when seeking to receive this gift. 
  •      Physical Touch:  hugging/embracing, holding hands, kissing, touching, sexual intimacy, back/foot rubs; communicate with your spouses what types of touch feel more loving than others.
The author is quick to say that each of us, often, will speak our own love language.  For instance, if my love language is gifts, I may find that I am often buying/getting things for my spouse.  If my spouse’s love language is quality time, she will often be taking and making time to spend with me.   The author encourages spouses to ask one another “how full their love tank is.”  And if the spouse answers that it’s low (or not full, even), that the spouse is to ask what they can do to “fill up their love tank;” and then employ their spouses love language!  The author reminds the reader that love is a choice; that one can always choose to act lovingly, even if the feelings of love are absent.  When one begins acting in a loving way, the feelings of love have a greater chance of returning. 

What did you find helpful about this book?

Some of the things I find helpful about this book include:  (1) it is an easy read, (2) the principles are easy to understand, and (3) the book is practical.  The author gives numerous suggestions for how each love language can be employed to help their mate feel loved.  The author gives examples from over 30 years of counseling experience with which couples seem to relate.  There is also a section entitled “Children and Love Languages,” that gives parents suggestions of employing the same five love languages to help their children feel loved.  The most helpful thing about this book, I believe, is that this it is based upon biblical principles. 

What do clients find most helpful about this book?

Through the five love languages, this book gives clients a clear and concise perspective to better understand their spouse and to meet their love needs.  Clients enjoy taking the love language profile at the end of the book, to discover their own love language.  In so doing, clients can share their love language with their spouse(or guess, if this makes it more fun), and together brainstorm how they can assist in keeping one another’s “love tank” closer to full on a regular basis.  

Favorite Quotes:

  • “We must be willing to learn our spouse’s primary love language if we are to be effective communicators of love.” 
  •   “…the founder of the Christian faith wanted love to be the distinguishing characteristic of His followers.” 
  • “Our most basic emotional need is not to fall in love but to be genuinely loved by another, to know a love that grows out of reason and choice, not instinct.” 
  • "Love doesn’t keep a score of wrongs.” 
  • “Don’t expect him [or her] to read your mind.” 
  • “Love makes requests, not demands.”
  • “Earlier in His life, Jesus had indicated that in His kingdom those who would be great would be servants.” 
  • “…the individual whose love tank has been empty for so long…” can “go back to the experience of falling in love and ask… ‘What did I like about my spouse in those days?  What did he do or say that made me desire to be with him?’  If you can conjure up those memories, it will give you some idea of your primary love language.”
  • “Can emotional love be reborn in a marriage?  You bet.  The key is to learn the primary love language of your spouse and choose to speak it.”    
  • “…love requires effort and discipline.”
  • “Love is kind.” 
  •  “Love doesn’t erase the past, but it makes the future different.” 
  • “Love is a choice.  And either partner can start the process today.” 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Struggling on Valentine's Day?

Q. I have been married for several years now. It seems Valentine's Day has lost its importance to me. What could we do to spice up the romantic side of our relationship?

A. Great question! I have a wonderful answer for you, too! As a counselor who has the wonderful opportunity to provide premarital counseling to couples who are so in love, I have developed a rule of thumb that Valentine's Day is more than just a greeting card holiday. Valentine's Day is also a good time to have a couple check up.

We all go to doctors, dentists and eye doctors to make sure we are in good physical health, but what are you doing to make sure your relationship is in good health? Valentine's Day is a great day to check in with your spouse and check up on your relationship. Even if you feel like you have a healthy marriage relationship, it is important to check in with your spouse. Sometimes hidden issues can be lurking which can cause a major disruption. Click here for previous Ask Anne articles about dealing with issues in marriage.

Even if there are no hidden issues, reflecting on your relationship strength can be rejuvenating too. For a great couple check up, take this quick survey from Prepare-Enrich. This assessment will allow you to see your relationship's strengths and areas of growth for you and your spouse. I would even recommend the book Couple Checkup Book by David H. Olson, Amy K. Olson-Sigg, Peter J. Larson. This a great book to help you and your spouse stay on the right track. You can also take this short quiz to identify other relationship strengths: Couple Quiz.

Make this Valentine's Day a little different this year. Let the day be about strengthening your marriage and celebrating the strengths that are already there. You can still have your roses, chocolates and nice dinner, but make sure you go a little further and give your relationship a good check up.

And if you are considering getting engaged this Valentine's Day, check out our premarital counseling too. Getting started on the right track is vital to a healthy marriage!

Check back next week for some great date ideas that can be used for Valentine's Day or really any time you need a date idea.

*This column is not intended to substitute for an actual session with a licensed counselor.
If you have a question you would like to ask, EMAIL US: or leave a comment. We would love to answer one of your questions.