“What’s your love language?”
This is the get-to-know-you question that has revolutionized relationships by enhancing communication, reshaping attitude, and posturing hearts in servanthood. More than just a personality test, Dr. Gary Chapman’s love language categories break down the ways in which we receive and give love to those around us.
Dr. Chapman first published The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts in 1995 after combining his personal life experience with his pastoring and marital counseling expertise. Today, his book has sold more than 11 million copies and has been adapted for various communities, including children, teenagers, patients struggling with memory loss, and those in the armed forces.
“To last for the long haul, love has to be more than something we feel,” Dr. Chapman says. His research has shown that the average lifespan of romantic euphoria and the falling-in-love experience only lasts two years. “[Love] has to be something we do. We have to demonstrate it concretely in our marriages and families, among our friends and acquaintances, and yes, even among our enemies.”
This practice of showing love as a verb has helped couples, roommates, families, and even coworkers identify the ways they feel appreciated. Dr. Chapman noticed it wasn’t just miscommunication creating relational problems; it was the inability to recognize tangible ways an individual preferred attention. That’s why Dr. Chapman took his 12 years of counseling notes and identified five expressions of love: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and touch.
In addition to love languages, Dr. Chapman has published work in regards to apology languages and anger assessments- helping individuals articulate their tendencies and desires. It’s been this very identification-and-solution philosophy that has expanded Dr. Chapman’s work from a local counseling service to a global Christian ministry.
“As a senior in high school, I had a strong sense that God wanted me in some kind of ministry,” he told The New York Times in 2011. “There were only two things I knew in a Christian framework that I could do. One would be the pastor of a church, the other would be a missionary. I didn’t particularly like snakes, so I decided I should probably be a pastor.”
Currently, Dr. Chapman speaks nationwide at various marriage conferences, hosts a national radio program called A Love Language Minute, and has a Saturday morning program that airs on over 400 television stations titled Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. He lives in Winston-Salem, N.C. with his wife of 55 years and serves at Calvary Baptist Church as a senior associate pastor.
Dr. Chapman earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Anthropology from Wake Forest University and Wheaton College, MRE and PhD degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and completed his postgraduate work at University of North Carolina and Duke University.
For more information on his various programs, or to find a complete list of his books and products, visit Dr. Chapman’s website here.
Featured Image by Henri Meilhac