Criticism… Oops, I mean Review of “Five Love Languages”

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I don’t even know where to start. This book managed to irritate me and upset me in ways I’ve never experience before.

“Five love languages” is a love manual by Gary Chapman. The author is a marriage counselor with an experience of 30 years as he says starting his egotistic book. He claims to know his shit and comes up with a theory of humans communicating in five different love languages: words of kindness, physical touch, acts of service, gifts and quality time. The key to a successful marriage according to our marriage saving hero is to speak the same love language as our partner.

For instance, if our partner often complains about not being praised it means his love language is words of appreciation. Right? WRONG. If a partner complains about something it means that he’s not getting the particular thing. There’s no mystical 5 love languages but quite down to earth 5 important elements of a relationship… In other words, to have a healthy relationship you should try to provide it all (plus other things that Dr Chapman doesn’t mention in his book because of his simplistic vision of what relationships are based on). And yes, in this first paragraph I basically stated that his whole theory is bullshit.

Apart from the fault in the assumption which is the core of the author’s theory there’s a lot more to complain about. For starters the author doesn’t discuss the compatibility of partners AT ALL. Marriage is to him something that must be saved and regardless of whether you entered it as an 18 year old not knowing anything about your preferences or as an effect of an arranged marriage. You just should make it work and there’s a lot of judgment from his side if you don’t. Of course, he has a point when he says that people these days want to move on to the next relationship if the current one experiences problems. Nevertheless, it’s not everyone. Some people really try to make things work but they just married someone they should have never married at the first place. Older and more mature they can enter a successful marriage instead of forcing themselves to save something that at best can make them not entirely unhappy at all times. Working on relationships is important but a relationship can’t be saved at all costs, whether it’s a marriage or not.

Another problem that I have with the book is the whole idea of glorifying work on the relationship. I agree that being in love changes into a deeper and less nauseating feeling after a while. Of course, that the period when you obsessively think about your partner ends at some point. Nevertheless, compatibility is a big issue and the better you choose your partner the less work you have to put into a relationship. Dr Chapman seems to entirely disregard that. According to him loving someone is an effort and this is just the way it is. The Christian ideology of the value of suffering is quite obvious here especially that the author openly draws inspiration from the Bible (the only source referenced in the book).

“Oh, Dr Chapman” (as the people he helps refer to him) claims that if you share household chores, say something nice, touch your partner, give them a gift or spend some time with them depending on what their love language is you’ll “fill their love tank” and be happy ever after. It’s all so simple in his world based on love satisfaction focused on domesticity, which is of course a very important but not sole element of a relationship. He doesn’t even consider the question of what if your husband is into anal and you’re not! (jokes)

Last but not least, the author shares a very dangerous idea that you can love someone enough to make them love you back and respect. His advise to an emotionally and psychologically abused wife is to just keep loving her husband and improving his behavior till he reciprocates. Of course in his story this method inspired by the life of Jesus works. This is simply wrong. Victims of abuse often feel that they don’t love someone enough and the abuse is their fault. There’s a lot of people who’d teach them that and yet another one dubbed as a specialist in love and an acclaimed author is not needed and has a harmful impact on people who need help how to get away from the perpetrator.

Relationships aren’t always easy and they do require work. Helping at home, touching, being nice to each other, giving gifts and spending time together are necessary elements of a good relationship but also quite basic ones. If there’s no substance in the relation all these things won’t help. It’s important to teach people how to enter marriages wisely and not how to stay in them just because they’re married.

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13 comments

  1. geminilvr · January 25

    ugh all these books make me cringe. Just communicate – say what you want and need, and most of all listen to your partner. And if there is abuse involved – get out!

    Liked by 2 people

    • bexoxo · January 25

      I agree with most of your sentiment, but abuse comes in many forms and it’s not always as simple as “get out.” Just sayin’… but the people who write these books are all jokes.

      Liked by 2 people

    • zlotybaby · January 26

      Thank you for your comment. If only love was that simple 😉 I think a good book on a love related topic can help a person a lot, especially if you had a childhood lacking love and you just don’t know how to deal with people (btw Dr Chapman calls these people emotional retards in the book). I’m not against self-help books but it’s nice if they’re helpful and not harmful.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. mypuzzlepeace · January 25

    I’ve never read the book, good thing because it sounds like I’d be aggravated, but what I do get out of the loves languages themselves is that you must treat people in the way THEY want to be treated.

    Liked by 2 people

    • zlotybaby · January 26

      Thank you for your comment. Sure, he has some points. All the gifts in the world won’t make a person happy if they’re lacking touch or affectionate words. It’s also important to focus on your partner’d needs and not on what you think is right to give.

      Like

  3. EnglishRosiee · January 25

    Let me start by saying well done. You are a better woman that I am. As hard as I tried I actually couldn’t finish this trashbook.

    It’s not even just the churchy undertones of the book that got me. I think ‘Dr’ Chapman has this weird way of making people feel nostalgic about past relationships and actually how you could have done things differently had you known his secret formula. But really this is nothing more than the usual 20/20 hindsight. As you said there are loads of reasons why a relationship/marriage fails and cannot be fixed.

    I am not sure when the book was written. But I did feel from what I read it was written for a previous generation. Where quick quick marriage was the norm. Nowadays things like living in sin are more common and this allows us to figure our whether we are truly compatible with our SO. Lucky sinners we all are!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • zlotybaby · January 26

      The book isn’t old enough to fully explain its content. It was published in 1995 and is still sold everywhere. I read it because it was listed as one of the best books about love (pfff) and I thought our Rinsers could benefit from a review.

      Like

  4. bklynboy59 · January 26

    oooookay …the venom was a little harsh , possibly you could be right on some points …I haven’t read the book so I might be talking out of turn here. However it is worth noting that this said guru …it is his opinion and his only. Not based on much according to what you stated. There is one statement you made I wasn’t totally in agreement with and it is …
    if our partner often complains about not being praised it means his love language is words of appreciation. Right? WRONG. If a partner complains about something it means that he’s not getting the particular thing.
    Not true …often times we don’t express our true and often times what we do say is the tip of the iceberg or as my father once told me …you may argue about the curtains but it’s not about the curtains. So if our partner complains about one thing investigate and find out if there is more to it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • zlotybaby · January 26

      Maybe I didn’t express myself properly there. I was referring more to a situation when a partner keeps complaining “you never say anything nice to me”. It means you’re probably not affectionate verbally and you should try to be more appreciative. It doesn’t mean that this is the only way in which you should express the love towards your partner (in Chapman’s words his or her love language). Sorry for the venom but I think this book has potentially dangerous and harmful ideas in it.

      Like

  5. vagueface · January 26

    I’m sorry, but this is the most hilarious book review I’ve read in ages (and trust me – I hardly read.)
    Why this country doesn’t hurl life-size Pulitzer-equivalents at you is a mystery I’ll never crack.

    Liked by 1 person

    • zlotybaby · January 26

      I’m not sure whether your comment is a compliment or an expression of advanced sarcasm. Thank you for it and for visiting our website regardless 😊

      Like

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