Can you hear me now?
I have to confess that I have never actually read Gary Chapman's book, The Five Love Languages, but I have seen him in interviews and done the online test, and have found it extremely helpful. For those not familiar with it, he says that people "speak love" in different languages: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time and physical touch. You can check out the webpage for more detail.
The thing about these languages is the same as if one partner is speaking English and the other is speaking Greek.
My love language is words of affirmation, and my husband's is acts of service. So I tell him that I love him, and he cleans up the kitchen. Now this is all well and fine, but when I was prepping for competition last fall, and being cranky some of the time, he would do things to "help and support me" and I would tell him that I appreciated what he was doing, but I was feeling smothered and pressured and he was feeling unappreciated. It took it's toll on us and our relationship, but we worked through it as we have over the last 35 years. It's not always easy to say what we need to say, or to hear what the other person is saying without taking it personally. I wasn't telling Ray that I didn't love him, but I wasn't speaking in a language that he understood. And wasn't trying to make me feel like I couldn't do anything for myself, he was just speaking love in the only way he knew how.
The great news is that we can learn other love languages. Just as with any "second language" we may not ever be as fluent in it as in our "mother tongue" but we can learn enough to get by. Sometimes we can both learn a third language that will help bridge the gap between our two ways of speaking. The important thing is to understand that the other person in your life is doing the best that they can and that challenges can be used to bring each other closer together.
So this week, listen with ears to hear, and with open hearts. Until next time, ThinkGrowInspireFriday.
Here are Michelle's other Weekly t.g.i.F columns:
- Think About It
- Who Are You, Really?
- Facing Fear
- Let It Be
- A Word to the "whys"
- I Can See Clearly Now!