The Five Love Languages


The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman, was first published in 1992. It’s been republished twice and widely read. There’s even a special edition for men.
In case you’ve missed it, Chapman explains five different ways that we love and like to be loved. Knowing them makes it easier to recognize when your spouse is offering love that might not look like love to you and to find the words to ask for what you want. The five are:

  • Words of Affirmation
  • Quality Time
  • Receiving Gifts
  • Acts of Service
  • Physical Touch

Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate. Gary Chapman. Chicago: Northfield Publishing, 2004. 203 pages.

About the author

Patty Newbold

I am a widow who got it right the second time. I have been sharing here since February 14, 2006 what I learned from that experience and from positive psychology, marriage research, and my training as a marriage educator.


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  • Patty,
    I have found much good advice on your site , ty for what you do . My wife and I have been married for 10 years, together 13. We have two beautiful little girls, 8 & 6 years old.
    I had been feeling unappreciated in my marriage, I work 6 days a week, sometimes long hours, come home clean the house, make sure the kids have their business done ( Homework, showers, etc) do the yard. I am pretty much non stop from 5 am until I finally crash for the day. My wife has not met what I thought were my needs at the time, I would bicker about sexual attention, helping with the house, all the small things.
    When I last confronted her with MY problems she responded that she is no longer in love with me and it hit me like a truck. I think for about the last 5 years I had just gotten into business mode and been so focused on taking care of the day to day operations of my life that I stopped taking care of the important things , what really matters to me. She tells me that I have not respected her or given her anything emotional, and I have asked her to do things for me sexually that she was uncomfortable with, and she is right on all accounts.
    What can I do now? She has started to take charge of her life, working out again, and just making overall better decisions for herself. I bought her a flight out of town for 3 days to see her best friend, hoping time away may do her good. She has said she’s willing to try to work it out, that I just need to respect her . She allows me to give her back rubs nightly but otherwise is unresponsive to me… I can’t hold her hand , kiss her, hold her, and it kills me.
    She’s told me I’ve said and done all the right things but that she doesn’t know if it’s too late. That she can’t commit to anything , can’t say whether or not she wants me to stay or not right now. But then she’s said she also thinks worst case scenario with us is a separation, NOT a divorce. I took her to work last night and mentioned how I wished she didn’t work Saturday nights so we could do something together, she responded that she could possibly work Friday instead, so that gives me some hope.
    Since we’ve had kids, we have not gone out together, just the two of us. I am trying to make the changes now but am lost.
    I cry all day at work, come home and tell myself to just not bring it up and show her I can treat her right but the topic inevitably comes up every day. I just want to stop talking about it and start living, want to put this all back together, but the hurt I’m feeling is not allowing me to do that.
    What can I do to bury this pain and fix my marriage?

  • Chris, you are so welcome. How wonderful to see your eyes newly opened. I think there is a great chance you will find your way to a marriage that nourishes both of you. There is SO much to do as parents and as we build our careers. Marriages get pushed to the background.
    Time to find out which of the Love Languages is hers. If she won’t say, I would try Words of Affirmation first. They can be hard for someone who has heard cheap, meaningless words from anyone in their past, so put them in a poem or a song if that helps.
    Also, if you haven’t seen any of the posts where I mention Barbara Frederickson and Love 2.0, you should. That “in love” feeling we now know comes from brief moments of being in sync as you share a positive emotion. This means one of your best strategies is to look for or create moments that will get you both laughing, both deeply relaxing, both dropping your jaws in awe, or both celebrating a success. When that in sync feeling hits, it stimulates your vagus nerve (good for your health) and releases oxytocin (good for building trust and easier communication) while telling your brain you are “in love.”

By Patty Newbold

Patty Newbold

I am a widow who got it right the second time. I have been sharing here since February 14, 2006 what I learned from that experience and from positive psychology, marriage research, and my training as a marriage educator.

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