Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Learning to Love Another Person on Their Own Terms

What makes you feel loved?

Do daily phone calls make you feel connected or hounded?

Does a home-cooked dinner feel like loving nourishment or being smothered?

What feels loving to one person may not feel loving to another person, even when there is good intent behind a gesture, words or an action.

We often think what makes us feel loved is universal. And there are surely some universal elements to feeling loved. However, our "loveprint" may be as unique as our fingerprint, and for a friend or partner to learn our love pattern or even love language, inquiry and dialogue is often necessary.

With the fantasy image of "being in love," that is often portrayed by the media, we can come to believe that if someone loves us, they should "just know" what makes us feel loved without any communication at all. While for many women, receiving flowers or jewelry gives a loving message, and for a man, being given the space to put his feet up after a long day and channel surf expresses love, more personal and intimate ways of feeling loved may be smaller and more unique to the individual: a tender glance, a gentle squeeze of a hand or sitting next to one another on the sofa may charge up the love battery each day.

Gary Chapman even speaks of different "love languages." In his book The 5 Love Lanaguages, he notes that for different people, words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service or physical touch are a primary love language. If a person whose primary love language gives a hug to someone whose primary love language is words of affirmation, it may not have the same impact as "I love you" in spoken words.

Learning that we all have unique combinations of these 5 love languages and taking the time to compose a personal love dictionary can help the experience of loving bring more appreciation for both giver and receiver.

Copyright 2012 Linda Marks

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