Book Review: The Five Love Languages

I know I’m very late to the party with this one. I remember a guy friend recommending this book to me years ago and I put it on my to-read list and didn’t think about it after that. But one day on a trip to Goodwill I saw it and decided to purchase it. I don’t remember when exactly I purchased it, but my most educated guess is it was either when my engagement started falling apart or soon after it fell apart. So basically this book has been on my bookshelf for over a year or close to over a year.

For more reasons than I have words for, I recently decided to pull this book off my shelf and give it a read. I’ve been trying to understand myself better and I figured learning what my love languages are is a good place to start. So here’s what I learned about myself from this book.

My primary love language is Quality Time. More than anything, I love being able to spend time with the person I love and whenever I go for a prolonged time without being around that person, my love tank (as it’s called in the book) goes empty, leaving me feeling unloved by my partner. And it makes so much sense. Lack of quality time is why long-distance relationships never appealed to me. Why would I want to be without someone I could never spend time with? Text messages and phone calls could never replace holding hands with the person I love or sharing a meal with them.

I figured out why this is the first of my love languages. Growing up, my mom and dad always made sure they had time for me. They always made time for us to do things together as a family. I can’t even recall all the day trips we would take to the Poconos or to other places. I remember our trip to The Baltimore Aquarium very fondly because that’s where I first fell in love with dolphins and I remember how much fun our trip to Hershey Park was (though the colds my dad and I got afterwards were not fun). And it wasn’t even just the big trips either. It was the countless trips to the library with my mom or the countless trips to the toy store and comic book shop with my dad. It was also about all the moments I would play 500 Rummy or Yahtzee with my mom or watch Harry Potter for the millionth time with my dad. And they came to every single one of my chorus concerts in high school and other school functions as well.

Even as I’ve gotten older, we always found time for each other in some way. The last time I was home for a visit I made time to play games with my mom and watch Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them with my dad. Quality time was one of the ways my parents showed me they loved me and it’s become one of the ways I need to be loved by a partner as an adult. And I can only hope that if one day I’m blessed with a tiny human or two of my own, that quality time will be a way I can express my love to them.

My secondary love language is Physical Touch. When I’m being held by my partner, I feel loved. If we’re out for a walk and my partner grabs my hand, I feel loved. Cuddling while watching a movie, giving me a back massage at the end of a long day, anything that is a positive physical touch I want. This might be too much information to share, but one of the reasons why my relationship with my fiancée started falling apart is because we stopped having sex and we didn’t really cuddle much after a certain amount of time either. There were even two days where we basically went without touching each other at all, not even a kiss goodnight… and that was when I realized that our relationship was over.

This stems from my parents as well. As a child, my parents always made sure to hug and kiss me before they left for work. If I was asleep, I was told they would still kiss my forehead or cheek depending on how I was laying. I never had to ask my parents for hugs or kisses. Sometimes my dad and I would flick each other or headbutt each other just because we could! My mom would hold my hand whenever we went for walks when I was younger. I’m sure that was probably for safety reasons, but she could have found other ways to keep me close by (like those leash backpacks some parents put on their children).

The other reason is I have always seen my mom and dad hug and kiss each other before going off to work or going to bed at night. Even in moments when I knew they were upset with each other or one of them was running late or on the brink of running late, they always took a moment to hug, kiss, and say I love you. Even to this day, after being together for 35 years, they still do this. I may have said it was gross when I was younger or teased them about it, but now as an adult, I know doing those things is how you know your partner loves you. So when my fiancée and I stopped hugging and kissing each other before work or bed, even though it was only two days, that was a signal to me that our love wasn’t there anymore.

I have learned so much about myself and love in general from this book and I highly recommend it. Whether you’re single, in a relationship, happily or unhappily married, this book is a must read. I feel that not only does it help the reader better understand themselves, but better understand their partner as well. By learning your partner’s love language, you can love them in the way that makes happiest and in return, they can do the same for you, leading to a more harmonious relationship. Because miscommunication and misunderstanding each other just leads to things falling apart… trust me, I’m talking from experience!

If you’re curious what the Five Love Languages are, but don’t want to add another book to your to-read list, here’s a brief description of each:

  • Words of Affirmation: Showing appreciation for your partner with encouraging and kind words. This means making requests in a loving way, not a demanding way. This means letting them know that you appreciate different things about them. Examples- “I appreciate how you always take the trash out on trash night” or “You know those sugar cookies you make? Would it be possible for you to make them soon? I really love them.”
  • Quality Time: Spending time together where your focus is solely on each other. This could mean going for a walk, a 15 minute uninterrupted conversation, a car ride, etc. So if your partner’s love language is Quality Time, shut off the television, put away your phone, and give them your undivided attention.
  • Receiving Gifts: This doesn’t mean you need to break the bank to show your partner love. The gift you give them could be a card you handmade them, a flower you picked while on a walk, or it could be something more extravagant if you feel like that’s the way to go.
  • Acts of Service: There is an almost endless list of things you can do for your partner that would fall under this category. Everything from taking out the trash to washing the car to making sure bills are paid and more are considered an Act of Service.
  • Physical Touch: Holding hands, cuddling, sex, etc are just some of the examples of physical touch. But I feel like the name is pretty explanatory.

If you’ve read this book, what are your love languages? And if you’ve only read the brief descriptions above, which love languages resonate with you the most? I would love to know! I hope everyone has a good week and is getting the love they need!

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