GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. – Love is a tricky word, at least in English.
You love your kids. You "wuv" your dog. Maybe you love Chicago-style hot dogs and pizza. You love that new car. You are in love with your partner.
No wonder this sentiment gets lost in translation.
“I think we use the word love in so many ways it's hard to know what a person means by what they say,” said Dr. Gary Chapman, author of “The 5 Love Languages.”
Chapman said he remembers hearing the same concerns from the same couples, year after year as a marriage counselor. He began reviewing his counseling notes and refined them into five reoccurring themes of communicating love.
He had narrowed down five love languages.
- Words of Affirmation
- Quality Time
- Acts of Service
- Physical Touch
His book, “The 5 Love Languages,” has been published in 50 spoken languages, selling more than 12 million copies in 25 years.
“I thought if I could put this concept in a book and write it in the language of the common person, maybe I could help a lot of marriages that I would never have time to see in my office,” said Chapman.
The average period for people to “fall in love” is two years, according to Chapman. He says that’s pretty much the ceiling for the euphoric feeling associated with falling in love. He says, after that, starts the work of keeping emotional love alive.
“I think if you can keep your love tank full—that is, you are willing to speak each other’s language and you are willing to forgive each other—you have two of the fundamentals for a long-term healthy marriage,” said Chapman.
Love had a rocky start for Chapman. He said he had doubts if he had married the right person. But after writing the book, he said both of their attitudes became one of service to each other.
He feels that the simplicity of the book and its effectiveness in changing the mindset of long-term couples is the reason for the success of the book.
“I think that it addresses that deep human need to feel loved by significant people in your life," said Chapman. "I think it’s taught couples how to express love and keep emotional love alive in their relationship."
Chapman is the author of more than 40 books. His latest is “Keeping Love Alive as Memories Fade: The 5 Love Languages and the Alzheimer's Journey.”