Author Dr. Gary Chapman is speaking at Collegedale Community Church Jan. 17 and 18. / Photo by Moody Publishing

Dr. Gary Chapman, best known for penning the No. 1 New York Times best-seller "The Five Love Languages," is speaking at free marriage and family seminars at Collegedale Community Church Friday and Saturday, Jan. 17 and 18.

Focused on establishing strong relationships, the seminars are scheduled during the church's usual service times that weekend. "Communications 101" is the title of the first seminar, set for Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. Presentations of the second seminar, "Five Signs of a Healthy Family," are Jan. 18 at 9, 10 and 11:30 a.m. The final seminar, "Two Essentials for a Relationship," is Jan. 18 at 7 p.m.

"The Five Love Languages" has sold more than 11 million copies worldwide, and become such a cultural phenomenon over the past few decades that most people are familiar with the concept, which is that different people receive and express love in five different ways: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time and physical touch.

Even people who haven't read the book often know or could immediately identify their own "love language," said the Rev. Nate Dubs, pastor of Collegedale Community Church. What many people overlook is the importance of learning the love language of the people they are in relationships with in addition to their own, he said.

The concept applies not only to romantic love, but to all relationships, he added, though the seminars at the church are focused specifically on marriage and families.

Dubs, for example, said that while he cares little for gifts himself, his daughter adores them. So he makes an effort to give her gifts based on that understanding, although it's not something he would think to do otherwise.

"It's just a reminder of the need to be mindful that the way she feels love is not innate to the way I feel love," said Dubs, who thinks attendees will find value in the simple principles Chapman teaches.

Those principles — including how to value the people one loves most and how to express that love to them — speak to many people both in and outside of the church, he added.

"All of us want the best return on the investment of time and effort we put into love," said Dubs.

The seminars are open to the entire community and no reservations are required. Seating is first-come, first-serve so people may want to arrive early, but overflow seating will be provided if necessary, he said.

For those who want to further explore one of the topics discussed, the church is forming small groups that will meet weekly for six to 10 weeks following the seminars. Sign-up sheets for the different groups will be available at the church after each seminar.

Collegedale Community Church is at 9305 Four Corners Place in Collegedale. For more information about the event or child care, call the church office at 396-5464.

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