Probably the most famous book written for couples over the last decade or so is The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman. It’s been so successful, decoding the five languages of love, that Chapman has spun off an entire series of books based on the same premise. So it obviously has staying power.
The book’s relevancy comes from its breakdown of the way we communicate: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. Basically, are you happier when you’re being touched? Giving and receiving gifts? Doing the Netflix and chill? Do you communicate through words, either verbal or written? Or do you say “I love you” by taking out the trash?
Chapman asks the reader to compare their love language with that of their partner. Just like speaking two different “real” languages, speaking different “love” languages can leave you at a loss as to what the other person is trying to communicate.
Maybe you never realized that your wife buying you new socks was her way of saying, “I love you.”
Maybe she never understood how much holding her hand in the car meant to you.
On a scale of 1-10, we give The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts a solid 8 for not being a passing fad (which we believe gives it more credibility) and for helping couples communicate.
The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm might be celebrating its golden years–the Fiftieth Anniversary edition is out now–but that’s merely a testament to how well its wisdom resonates with men and women around the world. Fromm, a renowned psychoanalyst and social philosopher, explores love from all different angles–erotic, paternal, fraternal, even divine.Fromm believed that, as with any art, love could be approached from both a practical and theoretical standpoint. He breaks down the book with that in mind. He can be lofty at times, and it helps to remember that this was written fifty years ago. Some of his social positions will feel outdated to some modern readers. But we believe there is still value to be gained from the way he approaches the concept of love in such a scholarly way. We give The Art of Loving by Eric Fromm 7 stars out of 10.
Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help YouFind – and Keep – Love by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller reminds us of a more up-to-date version of The Five Love Languages.
Instead of classifying your relationship style by how you “express love,” Attached goes deeper, looking at the attachment theory of mother/child bonding but now applied to adults. While not claiming that our bad relationships were caused by mothers equivalent to the ragdoll monkey mothers made famous in the 1950s scientific studies of attachment, Levine and Heller do make the leap between children impressions and adult attachment style.
Attached classifies three styles of individuals: anxious (preoccupied and worried about their partner’s ability to return their love), avoidant (see intimacy as a loss of freedom so they avoid closeness), and secure (comfortable and happy to settle down with the picket fence).
As far as modern psychological theory goes, we give Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help YouFind – and Keep – Love by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller, a 9 out of 10 for being well thought out, up-to-date, and easy to read.
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