Tuesday, May 11, 2010

How do I love thee?

According to the book "The 5 Languages of Love" most people have a preference towards two of these ways to feel loved. Knowing your and your partner's 'love language' is the key to a successful relationship (according to this book).

1. words of affirmation - compliments, words of encouragement, requests (instead of demands)
2. quality time - sharing, listening, participating in activities together
3. receiving gifts - from little love notes, to big elaborate get-aways
4. acts of service - given, received, completed as requested
5. physical touch - from a small touch on the shoulder to a passionate kiss

This kind of formula appeals to my need to categorize and generalize. Although, I'm not really sure which of these is me or my spouse. Neither of us are big on gift-giving, but that doesn't mean that I don't like to receive little presents now and then. Who doesn't appreciate hearing kind words? And acts of service are pretty much mandatory around here or else the family just doesn't work.

The book says that problems arise when each person in the relationship communicates their love in the wrong language -- their own preference instead of their partner's. So for me, that would mean doing lots of #5 instead of #2. I can see how this miscommunication might happen early on in a relationship, but surely years of marriage should sort all that out? This book seems to say that people fall out of love because they simply don't feel loved according to how they want to feel loved. Perhaps.

Even though I have no trouble speaking up, I don't like to sound demanding when it comes to love -- "do more of this, less of that, touch me here, I like it when ..." It kills it for me. Yes, I want him to read my mind. My brother says that relationships are about being the best you can be for the other person. He's right. Give what you want (but in the right language, of course :-)). So I'll give this a go; what do I have to lose? I can at least feel good about doing something nice for someone other than myself.

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