Love Languages: Applications to Counseling and Life Book Report

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¶ … Love Languages: Applications to Counseling and Life

Communication has a major impact on all aspects of a relationship. Without such, a relationship has no chance of lasting past its prime. Talking things over with one's spouse is the easiest and most efficient way to keep a long lasting, healthy relationship. However, even though communication is the foundation, unless it is effective and reciprocal, it is pointless. That being said, imagine the impact that speaking different languages would have on a relationship. What would it be based on, if basic words could not be exchanged? This is precisely what Gary Chapman, in his book The Five Love Languages suggests is the current issue plaguing most intimate relationships today.

Suggested Benefits

Chapman's The Five Love Languages (2004) is a book that attempts to classify and explore what makes up effective expressions of love in intimate relationships. These expressions are referred to as "love languages," and it is through the identification and understanding of not only your partner's, but also your own personal love language that true intimacy and connectivity are possible. According to Trommsdorff and John (1992),

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"The process and quality of interpersonal communication depends, among other factors, on the mutual and accurate understanding of the partner's intended message" (p. 41). Similarly, Chapman, an experienced marriage and family counselor, continuously witnessed, in his practice, this yearning among couples to better understand their partners. For it is only through this understanding, he explains, that couples will be able to attain the greatest degree of intimacy.

TOPIC: Book Report on Love Languages: Applications to Counseling and Life Assignment

Chapman further takes these expressions of love and affection and attempts to categorize them into specific acts or characteristics that encompass the different ways in which one might show their feelings for another. This can be through such things as words, gestures, a touch, or an intention. Chapman organizes these specific actions into five groups, which he labels "the five love languages," and it is through these avenues of communication, he explains, that a solid intimate relationship is built.

The counseling profession can also benefit from the information presented in this book. According to a survey conducted by Bor, Mallandain, and Vetere in 1997, some of the most common issues causing individuals to seek therapy are those involving relationships (2002). As such, theories posed at resolving some of the problems faced by relationships could prove to be an effective tool in the counseling setting.


This book attempts to enlighten individuals on the proper expression of love, depending on who you are as an individual, and your needs, as well as your partner, and their needs. According to Chapman (2004), acts of love can be expressed in five different ways, or languages. Every individual is unique in his or her preferred language. Going back the metaphor of linguistics, as with verbal language, each person has his or her acquired love language, which has been formed through past experiences and the like. This particular love language comes most naturally and is easiest to understand, for that particular individual. However, the person that they come to love may speak a different language, which comes just as naturally to them. Now, in order for the intimate needs of both individuals to be satisfied, one must learn to speak the other's love language, just as one would have to do in the case of verbal language. The problem is this; learning to speak a second language is difficult. It requires a lot of effort, and can often feel forced and unnatural. However, the more one practices, the more fluent they become, and before you know it, this language begins to slip out without even trying. This is challenge for relationships. Both individuals involved must learn to speak the language of the other, and those who are willing to put in this time and effort will thus reap the benefits of having a truly mutually satisfying relationship.

Chapman (2004) outlines the five love languages as being Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving of Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch.

The most peculiar social self which one is apt to have is in the mind of the person one is in love with. The good or bad fortunes of this self cause the most intense elation and dejection . . . To his own consciousness he is not, so long as this particular social self fails to get recognition, and when it is recognized his contentment passes all bounds. (1892, p. 294)

This quote from James' The Principles of Psychology epitomizes to power behind Chapman's Words of Affirmation. Individuals often do not realize how important their views or opinions regarding their partner are to them. As such, one way to express love is to use words to build the other up. Solomon, author of the ancient Hebrew wisdom literature, wrote, "The tongue has the power of life and death" (Proverbs 18:21). Many couples have never learned this tremendous power of how to verbally affirm one another. Verbal compliments, or words of appreciation or admiration, are powerful communicators of love, which are best expressed in simple, straightforward statements of affirmation.

Like Words of Affirmation, the language of Quality Time has many dialects. Chapman explains that a central aspect of this particular love language is togetherness, and it does not mean proximity. Togetherness has to do with focused and undivided attention, something that in this fast-paced, technologically advanced world of Facebook and iPhones there is far too little of. In addition to the basic love language of Quality Time, or giving your spouse your undivided attention, is another dialect called quality conversation. Quality conversation is extremely important to a strong relationship. It encompasses the sharing of events, feelings, opinions and needs in an affable, continuous context. One should not only listen, but also offer suggestion and show proper response to let their partner know that they are really listening. Most people don't expect a problem-solver, rather an empathic shoulder instead. Self-awareness is another important aspect of healthy conversation, for it is only when you truly understand your emotions and thoughts that you will able to have quality conversation, and share quality time with your partner.

Some individuals respond particularly well to visual symbols of love. Gifts are tangible symbols of love. According to Chapman, if your spouse's primary love language is in receiving gifts, then you should become a proficient gift giver. In fact, it is one of the easiest love languages to learn. There is also an intangible gift that sometimes speaks more loudly than a gift that can be held in one's hand. It's what Chapman refers to as the gift of self or the gift of presence. Being there when your spouse needs you can mean everything to the one whose primary love language is receiving gifts.

Learning the love language of Acts of Service may require some of us to reexamine our stereotypes of the roles of husband and wives. This love language is commonly misunderstood, and is simply the act of doing things for one another. Washing dishes, cooking, mowing the lawn, or taking out the trash are all simple acts, that if done by the one who doesn't normally do it, can brighten the other person's entire day.

We have long known that physical touch is a way of communicating love. Physical touch, according to Chapman, has the power to make or break a relationship. It can communicate love or hate. Sexual intercourse causes many couples to feel secure and loved in a relationship. However, sex is only one expression of physical touch. Numerous parts of the human body are exceedingly sensitive to touch. It is vital to learn how your partner both physically and psychologically responds to touches. Similarly, if your spouse's primary love language is physical touch, nothing is more important than holding them when they cry. Knowing things such as this can completely turn around a bad situation. A simple hug or kiss on their cheek could mean everything… or nothing.

Chapman explains that each individual has a "primary love language" that they respond greater to than any other love language. One individual might feel more loved by their partner when they are bought a present than when they compliment on looking nice or doing something well, while another might feel love more from being showered with compliments than by being cuddled in the bed. According to Chapman, once an individual has recognized, along with their partner, what love language they react strongest to, it then becomes much easier for them to express love in a way that the other will most easily understand.

What Was Learned

In his book, Chapman equates the area of love to that of linguistics, in that, "No matter how hard you try to express love in English, if your spouse understands only Chinese, you will never understand how to love each other" (p. 15). This idea, as simple as it may sound, offers profound insight into the psychology of relationships. For if one individual sees love as more… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Love Languages: Applications to Counseling and Life.  (2011, June 14).  Retrieved September 21, 2021, from

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"Love Languages: Applications to Counseling and Life."  14 June 2011.  Web.  21 September 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Love Languages: Applications to Counseling and Life."  June 14, 2011.  Accessed September 21, 2021.