The Bullshit Behind The 5 Love Languages - Max Jancar
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The Bullshit Behind The 5 Love Languages

By Max Jancar | Updated: November 18, 2020 | 5 Minute Read

The 5 Love Languages critique

Plenty of people who got their ex back and are trying to keep their relationship afloat — and a few who just started dating their ex — kept emailing me over the years about what I think of the 5 love languages.

Well, here’s my response. And it’s not pretty.

The Rise Of The 5 Love Languages

The 5 Love languages is a short and simple book written by Gary Chapman, a Christian Baptist pastor turned marriage counselor. In 1992, when Chapman published it, it quickly made one hell of a crater in the relationship advice industry. Its ideas spread around the world like wildfire, eventually taking a life of their own.

Eventually, the 5 love languages even took the web by storm, giving birth to countless memes and quotes about its concepts. Here’s one just for you. Enjoy.

The 5 love Languages

The book’s popularity became so massive that marriage counselors began using it during their sessions, and relationship experts started preaching about its ideas at their seminars. And don’t even ask how many other relationship books copied or, as they call it, expanded on the work.

By now, everyone and their dog read The 5 Love Languages. And those who haven’t lie that they have. But enough hype, you’re probably wondering what makes this book so fucking revolutionary? Well, here’s the gist.

What Are The 5 Love Languages

Dr. Chapman claims that each person has one primary love language out of five available to us— a favorite and most frequent way of giving and receiving affection.

The five love languages also have an alternate form — a dark side, per se. For example, if your favorite way of receiving affection is physical touch, its absence will make you feel unloved, unwanted, and if you’re awfully insecure, unworthy.

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The Problems With The 5 Love Languages

Chapman’s big claim is that if we learn to identify and speak our partner’s love language, we can increase the overall satisfaction of our relationship and the frequency of loving, affectionate, and argument-free times.

Well, I just don’t find this realistic. I find Chapman’s claims either vague or concrete and farfetched. I would even argue that much of what he says is total nonsense.

For one, Chapman never addresses compatibility issues. In his world, partners are always compatible, relationships effortless, and satisfaction in them is easily achievable if you know your partner’s preferred love language.

These delusions annoy me. Relationships are far messier than Chapman portrays them to be. There’s so much more to them than just finding a partner’s love language and calling it a day.

You need to develop solid communication skills, meet your partner’s needs, keep respect unimpaired, set solid boundaries, deal with logistics, keep sex spicy, and so forth. I don’t know if the guy was high while writing his book, but seriously, maintaining a relationship is fucking hard work.

What’s even more worrying is that the only cited reference backing up Chapman’s theories in The 5 Love Languages is the Holy Bible. Now, there’s nothing wrong with the Holy Bible, but the lack of referenced studies means there were no real tests performed on the validity of Chapman’s theories.

Luckily, because of the book’s popularity, I’m not the only one being skeptical of its ideas. Other relationships and marriage researchers began questioning and testing them too. And their findings were unsurprising.

One study proves, for example, that following Chapman’s theory makes us perform relational behaviors such as practicing present moment awareness and empathy or affirming commitment. These behaviors are linked to higher relationship satisfaction but don’t guarantee it. (1)

Another study found that a couple’s love language alignment wasn’t necessarily an accurate predictor of overall relationship satisfaction. The research showed that if you share the same language as your partner, you won’t be any happier than a couple where both people have a mismatch in love languages. (2)

And to top it all off, Chapman also fails to point out that our love languages change over time. The love language(s) your partner finds mindbogglingly sexy now may not be the same love language(s) they find mindbogglingly sexy in two weeks, six months, or ten years.

Final Thoughts

The 5 love languages are just basic ingredients of any loving relationship. It’s not about finding the right one; it’s about practicing all of them as much as possible.

Sure, we all have preferences in how we want to be loved, but relationships don’t just fall apart or magically recuperate based on how well we’re meeting our partner’s preferences and vice versa.

Ultimately, don’t treat the 5 love languages as a science, but rather as a glorified horoscope or personality test. They help make your relationships better, but they’re, by themselves, not enough.

5 Big Ideas That Will Help You Reunite With Your Ex... And Stay Together For Good

Receive what I like to think as the definitive "cheat codes" to getting back with your ex. Spoiler alert: they have nothing to do with games or no contact, and they don't make you look desperate.