The Secret Origin Story Of The 5 Love Languages

How Gary Chapman’s Nearly-Failed Marriage Gave Us The Most Popular Relationship Book Of All Time

Nate Bagley
3 min readJan 4, 2022


Photo by Jennifer Murray from Pexels

To hear Dr. Chapman tell this story in his own words, watch this video:

The Fall

The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman is the most popular relationship book of all time having sold over 20 million copies.

It’s become common knowledge that the way you communicate love to your partner isn’t always the way they prefer to receive it.

But what most people don’t know is that Dr. Chapman developed the Love Languages out of necessity. The honeymoon phase wore off quickly, and just a few months after their wedding, his marriage was in trouble.

He and his wife were bickering over trivial things.

They were feeling lonely and frustrated.

Neither one was getting their needs met.

He even started to wonder if it was a mistake that they’d gotten married.

One day they got into an argument, and his wife stormed out of the house and into the rain. He remembers thinking, “I hope she comes back…”

She didn’t return for several hours.

It was then that he realized how deeply she was hurting as well.

Dr. Chapman felt like a hypocrite. During this time of strife in their marriage, he was in seminary studying to become a pastor. Every week he was he stood in front of a congregation preaching messages of love and hope…. while at home he felt hopeless and alone.

The Awakening

One day, in preparation for a sermon, he dropped to his knees to ask God for help. He said, “God, I don’t know how this can work. I cannot be this miserable at home and get up and preach hoped. I don’t know what else to do.”



Nate Bagley

I’m the creator of the Growth Marriage Podcast ( My mission in life is to rid the world of mediocre love.