The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts
This book has been in print for 25 years, and the audio version for a good percentage of it. It has become an international phenomenon and has spawned numerous variations for specific sub-sets of people and now boasts an app with a quiz which you can share with your partner to find the best ways to communicate in your languages of love. This is a juggernaut of a book. I am not a psychologist and I respect the work that Gary Chapman has put in to distil years of clinical notes down into a pattern which emphasises 5 different ways we communicate love to each other and explains how we all have different ones. The book made complete sense to me and, after taking the quiz, the results did match with what I believe I need in a relationship (even though I had not thought of it like this before). However, modern lifestyles are very different from an archetypal marriage that was borne out of research dating back over a period of many years before the book was published. The archetype of an eternal monogamous partnership being the only desirable goal is counterculture to many new proposals that suggest we have three significant relationships over our lives and not one and that they don’t all need to crash and burn. This latter idea stems from our lifespans being much longer than they were when “marriage was for life” because life was only 40-odd years. The Culturescape is very different today and we need to be cautious of adopting Brules which don’t fit our own path (see The Code of the Extraordinary Mind: 10 Unconventional Laws to Redefine Your Life and Succeed On Your Own Terms). The book has a definite Christian bias, and while there’s nothing wrong with that you have to take some of the examples with a pinch of salt if your background is different. The basic tenets of the book are solid and I take from it that if you apply the ideas to your life you can have much better relationships. As Brendon Burchard says in his High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way, ask yourself how you can show up for other people better today and things will usually go better. Think about the other person in the interaction and look for a win-win, not to manipulate but to improve their life and you will often find your own life improving also. I did not give it 5 stars, not because it is flawed, but because life in 2019 is different from what it was in the 1970s and 1980s on which this research is based. Not all stories have happy endings (the examples in the book all exhort the success of the system), but I do think we should be able to learn something here with an objective ear and make our lives happier through the principles laid out in these pages. Definitely worth reading.