The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman

This book can help you build a stronger, loving relationship. Overcome obstacles in your love life and grow stronger with your partner.

Table of Contents

In a few sentences

The book explains the ways people express and receive love. It teaches you how to learn your partner’s, and your love language, and how to express it.

Main ideas

  • The emotional need for love is not a childhood “phase”, but a need that follows us for the rest of our lives.
  • People speak different love languages, the way you express love may be very different from your partner’s way. To be able to make our partner feel loved we must learn what his love language is.
  • The “love tank” is an invisible tank that lives inside us. It needs to be filled for us to have a meaningful relationship, a happy marriage with you’re partner, and much more. trying to live with an empty one is like driving your car without oil.
  • Falling in love is an experience with an expiration date, once it’s over we realize we don’t know the person that much. What usually happens after that is you either chase the next “in love” experience or start to build a “real love” that lasts.

Who should read it

I strongly recommend anyone in a relationship should read this book. If you are not in a relationship I would recommend The Five Love Languages for Singles


This book is full of actionable suggestions, by reading the summary, preferably also the book, you will have plenty of knowledge of what you can do. 

The summary

"What happens to love after the wedding?"

People speak different love languages. Your emotional love language can be different from your spouse’s love language, as Chinese is different from English. Furthermore, Each language of love may have many dialects.

Once you identify your spouse’s love language you have the key to a long-lasting happy relationship.

Many of the love languages may not be your native one. Learning your partner’s language takes effort, work, maybe even learning a new love language from scratch. But it will lead to a stronger happier relationship and it will be worth it.

“How does your spouse respond when you try to show affection?”

"Keeping the love tank full"

The emotional need for love is not a childhood “phase” but a need that follows us to our graves. The “in-love” experience may fill that need for the time being but it is temporary, it has a limited lifespan.  After it will diminish, the need for affection will arise.

The need to feel loved by your partner is at the center of marital desire. No earthly object can replace it, more than that, the physical stuff around you start to lose meaning.

The “love tank” is an invisible tank that lives inside us. It needs to be filled for us to have a meaningful relationship, a happy marriage with you’re partner, and much more. trying to live with an empty one is like driving your car without oil.

“On a scale of 1-10, how full is your love tank?”

"Falling in love"

Most people enter marriage in the way of the “in-love” experience. We find someone who just “clicks” with us and triggers our “in-love” alert. Eventually, we are convinced this is the “real thing” At its best, the in-love experience makes us feel obsessed with our partner, we think everything is perfect and we’re going to live happily ever after.

Unfortunately, research shows that this experience may last up to 2 years, 3 if it’s a secretive love affair. So eventually we all descend to reality, where not everything is perfect, we may even realize we don’t know each other that well.

At this point, they start losing their love and obsession for each other, and then comes the separation, divorces, and try to find the next “in love” experience. And so the cycle begins.

However, there is another option, to get from “in love” to “real love”. Real love unites reason and emotion, it requires hard work, discipline, and willpower.

Our most basic need is to feel loved, by someone who chooses to love me and sees worth in loving me. This kind of love is a choice. If we can learn to meet our partner’s need to feel loved, and choose to do it, then the relationship can exceed any expectations you had.

“Can you pinpoint a time in your marriage when “reality” set in? How did this affect your relationship, for better or worse?

Love language 1: Words of affirmations

Words of affirmations are: words that build up, compliments, words of appreciation, encouraging words: “you are so funny”, “you look amazing today”, “I really like that you do X”

Verbal compliments are much better motivators than nagging words. It doesn’t mean manipulating your partner into doing something you want by saying the “right things”, that is not the purpose of love. It means doing something for the well-being of your spouse.

Dialect 1: Encouraging words

We all have areas that we feel insecure about, the lack of courage may stop us from accomplishing great things. Encouraging words from your partner can give you the push you needed towards your goal.

Encouragement requires empathy, you need to see the world from your partner’s eyes, learn what is important to them and only then you will be able to encourage them.

Examples: “I’m with you”, “how can I help”, “you can do it”

Dialect 2: Kind words

The same words can have different meanings. Based on our tone, we may say one thing while meaning a different thing. “I felt disappointed in you when you didn’t offer to help this evening,” said with gentle directness, which can be an expression of love. The person is taking steps to build intimacy by sharing his/her feelings, discussing a hurt to find healing.

When your partner is upset, choose to be loving, don’t respond with more heat but with a soft voice. Receive it as information about your spouse’s emotional state, that way you can understand him and put yourself in his shoes.

If you wronged him, confess and ask for forgiveness. If your motivation is different from what he is saying, explain it kindly. You should seek reconciliation, not to prove someone is right and the other is wrong.

Love doesn’t keep scores. we aren’t perfect, we can make mistakes and we can’t erase them. The best we can do is confess them and ask for forgiveness, and act differently the next time.

Forgiveness is the way of love, trying to bring justice will stop you from being intimate with your spouse. Forgiveness is saying even when you wronged me, I choose to love you and forgive you.

Dialect 3: Humble words

In marriage we are equal, we are both adults and partners. To develop an intimate relationship we need to understand each other’s desires.

If we express our desires as demands, we erase the possibility of intimacy, love makes requests, not demands. By saying “Could you make me this amazing pasta this week?” your spouse guilds you to how you can express affection to him.

When you make a request you are saying there is something worthwhile you can do. when you make a demand you belittle your partner. To a request, your partner can choose to respond or how to respond, and love is a choice.

“What would you most like to hear your spouse say to you?”

Love language 2: Quality time

Giving your full attention, focus, and time to do things with your spouse. It not sitting and watching TV together, it’s sitting next to each other, electronic devices away, looking in your spouse’s eyes, and doing something, just the two of you.

If your mate’s love language is quality time they just want to spend time with you, the right kind of time. Spending time together and living in close proximity may be confused as the same, but they are different as night and day.

For the time together to be of high quality, you need to take distractions out of the pictures. Trying to talk while on the phone is not really having a meaningful conversation.

Spending time together as a joint effort shows we care about each other and we like to do things with one another.

Dialect 1: Quality conversation

A sympathetic dialog where two partners share experiences, thoughts feelings, and desires.

The difference from words of affirmation is the focus. Here we focus on what we hear, not what we say. It means listening and asking questions with the desire to understand his feelings thoughts and desires more.

Many times when we listen, our brain immediately tries to find solutions, but marriage is not a project to be finished. Your partner wants to be heard. You must be willing to give advice when it is requested, but never in a condescending matter.

A few tips to be a better listener:

  1. Maintain eye contact.
  2. Don’t listen and do something else at the same time, reschedule for a time you can give your full attention.
  3. Listen for feelings, try to understand what your spouse is feeling.
  4. Observe body language, it can give clues to what your spouse is feeling.
  5. Don’t interrupt.

Dialect 2: Learning to talk

Expressing our feelings with words may be very difficult to some. Many people, when reaching adulthood, learned to suppress their feelings. They get detached from their feelings.

To learn the language of quality conversation the place to begin is your emotional self.carry a small notepad and write a few times a day events with the emotions you felt when they happened. With this exercise, you will start to develop an awareness of your emotional state.

  1. tailgater – angry 
  2. gas station – very upset 
  3. work project due – frustrated and anxious 


Emotions are not good or bad, they are biological responses to events in your life.

Dialect 3: Quality activities

It may include anything both of you have an interest in, the purpose is to experience something together, to be willing to do something with a positive attitude.

The essential ingredients for a Quality activity:

  1. One of you wants to do it(or both of you)
  2. Your partner is willing to do it.
  3. Both of you know why you’re doing it, to express love to one another.


Making time for such activities is essential as making time for eating and sleeping, as filling your spouse’s love tank is essential for a meaningful marriage.

“What in your marriage detracts you from spending quality time?”

Love language 3: Receiving gifts

A gift is something you can hold and say “he was thinking of me”, “he really loves me”. The gift is a symbol of the thought you had of another person. It doesn’t have to cost money, the thought expressed through the gift is what counts. It is a visual symbol of love.

If your spouse’s love language is receiving gifts, you need to become an amazing gift-giver, it’s one of the easiest languages to learn. Make a list of things your partner mentioned through the years, it will give you an idea of what gifts he wants to get. You can also ask family members or close friends for advice.

You don’t have to wait for a perfect time, almost any time you give a gift will be an expression of love. If not, then your partner’s primary love language is not receiving gifts.

Giving gifts can be a great investment, the return is a full love tank for your spouse. If money is an issue, then making the gift yourself is a great option as well.

Sometimes the best gift is the gift of self, your presence when your partner needs you the most can speak loudly, usually in times of crisis.

“Reflect on ways to give gifts even if finance is tight.”

Love language 4: Acts of service

Doing things you know your spouse would like you to do, you seek to please them by doing things for them.

No one wants to be forced to do things. When we want our spouse to do something we should always request it, love doesn’t make demands as we already know.

Each day we choose to love or not to love our spouse. If we choose to love them, then filing your spouse’s requests can be the most effective way to express it (for those whose primary love language is acts of service).

Learning this love language may question our stereotypes and expectations of the roles of the husband and wife.

Your spouse’s criticism such as: “why didn’t you throw the trash”, or “you never do anything around the house” may be a way of asking for affection ineffectively. But it can specifically show you how you can express your love to them.

“Many acts of service will involve household chores, but not all. what are some non-chore ways of serving your mate?”

Love language 5: Physical touch

Holding hands. kissing, touching their shoulder when you pass by, having sexual intercourse, can all be ways of communicating love to your spouse.

Physical touch can make or break a relationship, it can show love and hate.

To know which touch is most pleasurable for your partner, you should just ask. Explore ways and areas and ask for feedback. Learn to speak their dialect, find what they are comfortable with and implement it.

Some touches require your full attention, like a massage, and some just a fraction of it, like rubbing their shoulder as you pass them.

“Recall some nonsexual “touching times” that enhanced intimacy between the two of you. what made these times special?”

"Discovering your primary love language"

Some of you may instantly know what yours is, for some, it’s not so easy, but discovering it is crucial to keep a full love tank.

Ignoring our partner’s love language can hurt them deeply and lead to separation eventually.

When trying to find your love language it helps to look back at your relationship and think about what you request most of your spouse, they can be interpreted as nagging, but they are your call for affection, in your language.

Here are 3 questions to ask yourself to find your primary love language:

  1. “What does your spouse do or fail to do that hurts you most deeply? The opposite of what hurts you most is probably your love language.”
  2. “What have you most often requested of your spouse? The thing you have most often requested is likely the thing that would make you feel the most loved.”
  3. “In what way do you regularly express love to your spouse? Your method of expressing love may be an indication that that would also make you feel loved.”


You can be bilingual, Two languages can speak loudly to you, and the best part is it makes it easier for your partner to show affection for you.

It’s important to distinguish between male sexual desire and the female’s one. For males, sexual intercourse is mostly physical, it is stimulated by a buildup of sperm cells. For females, it’s mostly emotional. If her love tank is full and she feels loved, then she will have a desire to be intimate with her husband. This can confuse many to think their love language is physical touch.

Spend some time writing by order of importance what you think your primary love language is. Share it with your spouse and suggest he do the same. Once you do that you can play a game “Tank Check” when you get home ask your partner how full is his love tank today? If it is low as how can you help to fill it.

“Do you think by now you have a good sense of what your spouse’s love language is? How about them for you? What more could you do to explore this.”

"Love is a choice"

Love can’t erase the past, but when we choose to express love actively, we create a climate where we can deal with past hurtful events.

We must choose every day to speak our spouse’s love language, even if it’s not our native tongue. That is the only way to create a long-lasting marriage.

“A key idea thought her is the idea of speaking our mate’s love language whether or not it is natural for us. Why is it so fundamental to a healthy marriage?

"Love makes all the difference"

Love is not the only emotional need humans need, but when you feel loved by someone it’s a good basis to feel safe, to feel you can progress and overcome obstacles, to feel you have sense worth, and much more. It can affect so many aspects of our life.

If we do not feel loved in marriage, we can feel our spouse is a threat to our happiness, an enemy to us.

“What does your spouse do to make you feel more “significant?” How about what you do for them

"The six-month experiment"

This experiment is meant for dire situations, where the relationship is in a very bad state.

  1. “Ask how you can be a better spouse, and regardless of the other’s attitude, act on what he or she tells you. Continue to both seek more input and comply with those wishes with all your heart and will. Assure your spouse that your motives are pure.
  2. “When you receive positive feedback, you know there is progress. Each Month make one non-threatening but specific request that is easy for your spouse. Make sure it relates to your primary love language and will help replenish your empty tank.”
  3. “When your spouse responds and meets your need, you will be able to react with not only your will but your emotions as well. Without overreacting, continue positive feedback and affirmation of your spouse at these times.”
  4. “As your marriage begins to truly heal and grow deeper, make sure you Don’t “rest on your laurels” and forget your spouse’s love language and daily needs. You’re on the road to your dreams, so stay there! Put appointments into your schedule to assess together how you’re doing.”

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