Kindness in words creates confidence; kindness in thinking creates profoundness; kindness in giving creates love. Lao-Tzu
We have all heard the teaching and saying that if you do good deeds, then good things will surely follow you. This is the positive law of karma: do good deeds and you will reap in kind. This is a great premise on which to live everyday life and could certainly make the world a better place. A friend of mine jokes and says that the trouble with being good is that it comes and bites you in the ass sometimes! His cynical self was just pointing to the fact that sometimes in life, what you give is not always what you get. I think that certainly when it comes to matters relationship, the karma algebra points to giving ≠ getting.
The other day a friend and I were reminiscing about the yesteryears of childhood – the pre-teen years when life was so simple and the mind had little to worry about in the way of life. Then came the teen years when social consciousness was budding and we began to be sensitive of how other people perceived us. We reminisced how sweet the forms of expression of affection were then; if people were into each other and wanted to express affection, they would have to make an effort to do so especially if they were living in different locations. We especially reminisced about the letters written on decorated stationery with love hearts and quotes fencing the lyrical words jotted down. Gone are those days; now the world is filled with a variety of ideas and media for expression of affection, some being very short but seemingly saying a lot: I ♥ U.
Snapping back to the present……
Recently, I took this test which promised to help me determine my language of love. So I answered a series of questions, which varied in the way they were posed but essentially gauged what kind of things make me feel loved or appreciated, the things that stroke my ego of endearment. I took the test whilst listening to country music, yes!, country music and it provided a fine soundtrack. Country songs are not only about gamblers and cowboys; sometimes they strike a chord with your heartstrings ;). Now back to my test…..
At the end of the test, I found out what genre of loving I fall into – apparently, my type is one that likes a little bit of this and that. To break it down, I ended up with three languages of love scoring close to each other – in fact, each a point a part. Now, for those who have read The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, you will know exactly what this test is all about.
Mr. Chapman talks about 5 love languages as: (1) Words of Affirmation; (2) Quality Time; (3) Gifts; (4) Acts of Service; (5) Physical Touch. Applied in many ways, all these lead to one fundamental thing in keeping any relationship alive – the expression of love. They also point to what should seem like the obvious: that expressions of love vary from person to person. I guess the reason for putting emphasis on this could be that sometimes, it is not that obvious to us when someone is expressing affection towards us and this can often-time bring discord.
It is said that the ways in which Eves and Adams love are not the same. Men and women are biologically different – not only when it comes to the body structure and appendages ;), but also when it comes to the wiring. This ultimately affects how Eves and Adams behave and communicate in relationships and even specifically, how they communicate their affection for each other. It is also said that Eves are more akin to expressing love verbally and also with actions whilst Adams are more likely to express their affection through actions. So sometimes, the discord comes from the expectation that by saying those three short words ;), giving gifts or writing a poem about how you feel, the same will be reciprocated.
Let’s take an example of an Eve who yearns to get a show of affection from her man. She tries to boost her chances of being shown love by doing certain things so that Adam will in turn reciprocate. Her culinary skills go beyond boiling – she whips up some exotic meals, buys him gifts, tells him that she loves him first, etc. After a while splurging this affection, she feels that he is not reciprocating as she imagined by saying those three ‘magical’ words or buying her gifts. Now, there may be a lot of negative reasons to speculate about this but it is also possible that her man may be showing his affection to her in ways she has not opened her eyes to – they each happen to speak different languages of affection. For example, this Adam may be spending a lot of time with her, maybe he has introduced her to his friends (and not as Wangeci from 3rd floor ;)), may be runs small errands here and there for her, etc. So he may not exactly be using the 3 short words, but the message is the same and he is expressing his affection in different ways. (I have to say that sometimes, comprehending this makes my head hurt a little ;)).
What might help to improve this channel of communication is to share with your partner the things that make you feel appreciated and loved; for example, when your partner does something that makes your heart beat faster and enlarge to the size of a melon, let them know that they have done something that pleases you.
By and large, the audience that Mr. Chapman is addressing is one of couples that know they love each other and want to be coherent in their speech of love. Therefore, it is not IF they love each other but HOW they express that love and affection for each other. If you’re considering the IF element, then you will be well placed to read Vital Signs ;). It is also important to understand that there are situations where people give and give in relationships but actually receive very little or nothing back. Now, that is a relationship of emotional drainage and would need a lot of reconsideration.
We get into relationships with expectations, and there is nothing wrong with that as long as the expectations are reasonable (reasonable is relative so what is reasonable and what is not can be debatable). However, it is not uncommon to find that when it comes to this form of communication, one party may as well be an elephant trumpeting to a dove that only answers to a caressing coo; if that would be a mating call, I can assure you no action would be taking place ;). This is all about our love language – the way we communicate it and the way we want to be shown love and affection. For those who may be searching for an answer about this, the 5 love languages could be a starting point and it might help you be better prepared to receive when your significant other ‘speaks’ their love language(s).
Have an affectionate week!