The 5 Love Languages: An Interview With Dr. Gary Chapman
"Love can be expressed and received in all five languages. However, if you don't speak a person's primary love language, that person will not feel loved, even though you may be speaking the other four. Once you are speaking his or her primary love language fluently, then you can sprinkle in the other four and they will be like icing on the cake" - Dr. Gary Chapman
Love love love! Love is one of my favorite things to talk or sing about. Everyone who knows me at all knows I'm a hopeless (hopeful) romantic who sings love ballads whether I'm feeling happy or sad. I don't obsess over cheesy love movies or a random guy who says hi to me, but I definitely believe in true love. I think everyone should find their perfect partner and it is important to go about it the right way.
AND it seems like I'm not the only hopeless romantic around...
"I’m definitely a hopeless romantic, and I look forward to spending romantic time with my wife of more than 50 years. I often suggest people make plans for romantic times, as often as you can, to keep your love alive and exciting," Chapman said.
Back in one of my first college classes, my broadcast professor gave us Dr. Gary Chapman's love language test for extra credit. Before that day, I had know idea what it was. Being me, I would never pass up an extra credit opportunity, especially something to do with love.
I took the test and instantly got a clearer sense of who I am and what I look for in love. Now, when anyone comes to me with relationship problems my first reaction is "Well, have you both read the 5 love language book or at least taken the test?"
They all respond with "What's that?" It drives me nuts!
So, I decided to reach out to Dr. Gary Chapman myself for an interview about what inspired him to write this book and to learn more about his methods. I explained to Mr. Chapman where my love for his work came from and he was more than happy to talk with me!
"For many years I have been encouraging writers, like yourself, to write stories and articles for readers that provide helpful information to build strong relationships," Chapman said. "I believe people want to have a great relationship but don’t know where to turn for resources on how-to make that happen. I believe magazine articles, books, and blogs, to name a few, are resources where people can find information to help them address common issues."
Yes! That is exactly why I chose to do this interview. So...let's dig deeper!
As a marriage counselor, Dr. Gary Chapman heard countless times "I feel like my spouse doesn't love me." So he asked himself “What are they really complaining about?”
"After years of pondering this, I discovered that their answers fell into five categories that I now call the five love languages—five fundamental ways to express emotional love", said Chapman.
1. Words of affirmation (my love language): If you respond best to words of affirmation, you might like receiving compliments, hearing the words "I love you," or listening to someone tell you why they care about you. You might also take insults to heart and have a hard time moving on from them.
2. Quality time (my second love language): You want to spend time with the person you love with their concentrated attention and quality conversations. You want special outings planned or special times you see each other and you might get upset if the plans get cancelled.
3. Receiving gifts: People might think this love language is selfishness or materialism, but it is not always the case. Chapman's says "The perfect gift shows that you're known, you're cared for, and you're prized above the cost of the gift." So, basically it's the thought that counts and you feel cared for when receiving any type of gift.
4. Acts of service: Those who value acts of service feel appreciated when a loved one helps them with their responsibilities- big or small. This means helping out with a big project or simply just doing the dishes for them. It's the little things that your partner will appreciate you help out with.
5. Physical touch: If you ask any guy what his love language is, he'll probably say physical touch. According to Dr. Chapman, this may or may not be true. (mostly true from the guys I've asked!) Physical touch just not just mean sex. If this is your love language, you appreciate hugs, snuggles, hand-holding, and other thoughtful touches that make you feel cared for.
We all have a different way of expressing and receiving love. The love language test gives a set of questions that you answer in order to find out your way you prefer to be loved. It is the key for success in any loving relationship you have. I believe it is important to discover your love language along with your partner's so you can give and receive love in the most effective way.
So where did this come from?!
The inspiration for writing this book came when Mr. Chapman realized his limitations for reaching people beyond what he could in counseling.
"I wanted to share this message with more couples, and I realized a book could go places I couldn’t. Today the book is published in 50 foreign languages, and in countries where I have never been," Chapman said.
It has always been Chapman's desire to help couples develop a long-term, healthy relationship.
"I began to see the positive results when couples were willing to implement the 5 love languages, I have been motivated to speak and write this message for my lifetime," Chapman said.
So how can this concept of love languages actually change someone's relationship?
Dr. Chapman said the love languages are meant to meet the emotional need every human has, which is to be loved.
"When a person is willing to speak the primary love language of their partner or spouse, then the emotional climate will begin to change in their relationship," Chapman said.
I asked Dr. Chapman if he has any advice for millennial singles (like me), who are wanting to date/get married in this "hookup culture" we live in now.
Mr. Chapman's advice was simple...read his book or at least take the test!
"Knowing how they receive love will give them a jump start on learning to observe how others want to receive love," Chapman said.
Like I mentioned before, if you haven't taken the test you should right now.
I finished off the interview by asking Mr. Chapman the hardest or strangest relationship question he's ever been asked.
He said “Dr. Chapman, I don’t love my spouse anymore, I’ve lost hope…how can I find hope and love again.” And I tell them that I have hope, and I ask them to borrow mine and take baby steps toward applying the 5 love languages. Give small doses each day of your spouse's primary love language until it becomes easier and they begin to feel the emotional warmth that comes when someone makes an effort to start loving again. It isn’t easy, but it can create an opportunity to dialogue about some of the issues that were buried for years."
In today's world we are sometimes cynical when it comes to love, and it shouldn't be that way! Romance is still very much alive, even though it can be hard to find or keep going. This is why I am a huge fan of Dr. Gary Chapman, his work, and how he continues to inspire others everyday.
Now signing off from the two hopeless romantics :)
“People don’t write songs about being compatible, or novels about shared life goals and stimulating conversation. The great loves are the crazy ones.” -Gossip Girl