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I have learned and read a great deal from people who have read Gary Chapman's Five Love Languages, a fact which has prompted me to read the book so that we can have my own opinions as to whether it may benefit lovers or better yet boost them any further (Farmer). In Chapman's Best Sellser in his New York Days, Chapman has the idea that the sending of flowers does not convey love in an absolute way, however, we really do need some time or to talk together (Polk). The intention of this book is that, just like there are different languages worldwide, love languages are also different and if you don’t speak the same language with you partner, you are most likely not going to understand each other. For instance, a woman feels loved when a man performs such things as shopping for her, she naturally assumes he is the same, so she keeps welcoming him to a tidy home hoping to impress him but unfortunately he speaks a different love language as what he really need is emotional but not domestic support (Polk). So as we appreciate a clean house, the man doesn’t view it as an expression of her love to him. This feeling of not being loved is as a result of the woman not speaking the man’s language of love, thus feeling unappreciated and frustrations would eventually lead her giving up on him, only because she was cleaning the house yet all he wanted was his emotions attended to (Polk).
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According to Chapman, emotional need is paramount for love and affection, and people often express love in five languages. That is: Affirmation, which is basically about encouraging and being affectionate to each other. i.e. encourage during hard times, compliment everything nice and use kind and humble words always. Quality time (simply spend much time together sharing activities. For instance, watch a movie or attend a concert even if it’s only your partner’s hobby (Farmer). It shows that you appreciate and care about them despite the difference in taste and preferences in life. Gifts, this simply involves giving and receiving of thoughtful tokens which are reminders of love. This can be as cheap as a gift of self which only requires you being there whenever s/he needs you. Act of service is yet another language of love where you help each other with tasks. Physical touch, not limited to hand holding to sexual intercourse, but also that protective squeeze during difficult times. However not all touches are acts of love as they are received differently. Even though the term “speak” was used for the languages of love, they are basically nonverbal.
This book is easy to read as it has many examples that are useful to readers. The book however highlights that the action we take to show love to our partner may not necessarily be received as intended due to mismatches in the perceived mode of communication. It is therefore important as a couple to learn each one’s love language to minimize cases of communication mismatches in your love life.
Gary Chapman uses the concept of “love tank” which solely depends on your partner to be filled. That in the event the tank is empty, that’s when your love life is in great danger and it’s therefore important that your point of focus in your relationship is your partner. You must be willing to learn your lover’s primary love language if you are to communicate effectively and keep your love tank filled at all times.
However, at minimum, the book is confused about where sex life fits in the language of physical touch. Chapman doesn’t come out clearly on this even though good sex can’t by itself fulfill a marriage, it is an essential part in realizing it. That is if you don’t have deep sexual connection, you stop being lovers and life-partners as you are mere friends. Therefore, sex ought not to have been included when talking about physical touch but rather be regarded as a necessary addition in speaking primary love language.
The book also emphasizes on isolating a single love language. It should however be noted that all expressions of love are equally important and other languages shouldn’t have been entirely neglected. Chapman also uses ‘kind words” as well as “humble words” as separate language of love, but this are just basic emotional necessities for good communication in one’s love life. We are encouraged to explore our partner’s needs, but the book does not have any empirical evidence in realizing this. Further no research has been done on the premise that we have a “primary love language”.
In conclusion, the book may have some practical solution to relationship difficulties, but it is limited as it does not provide any assistance with complex relationship issues as fidelity or communication difficulties.
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Farmer, Suzanne. "Book review: The 5 Love Languages." Cornerstone, 2015, pp. 1-9.
Polk., Denise M. "Speaking The Language of Love." The Open Communication Journal, 2013, pp. 7-11.
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