The research for this book started with two simple questions: what happens to love after people get married? Why are there so few couples who have found the secret to keeping love alive?
To answer our questions, the author suggests we start by looking at communication. When it comes to communication, there is a basic truth that we all tend to overlook: we speak different love languages. Just as different languages are spoken around the world, even when it comes to the communication of love, the languages we use are different, and we need to know what the different languages are.
Linguistic diversity is part of human culture; if we want to communicate effectively, we must learn the language of the people we are hoping to talk to. We each express ourselves perfectly in our native language, but we cannot understand languages that we don’t know.
When it comes to love, the situation is very similar: the difference in love language between two people in a relationship can be as vast as the difference between Italian and Chinese; however much each person might try to express their love in their own language, if the other person only understands their own personal language, the relationship cannot develop into love. It is very rare for two people to speak the same love language; we each tend to express ourselves in our mother tongue, which depends on the way we grew up, and what we internalised during those years. We feel confused when a partner expresses him or herself using their own language: we are both expressing love, but neither of us understands the other person. The message cannot reach the other person because (to maintain our metaphor) Chinese is too different from Italian. As a result, people divorce, break up, or stay in unhappy relationships based on a huge misunderstanding.
The good news is that there is a solution to all this linguistic confusion, and it involves learning the five love languages. If we want to communicate love effectively, we must be willing to learn our partner’s language and become aware of our own.