Do you find some of your relationships to be challenging? If you do, you aren’t alone. Personally, I find relationships to be a primary source of learning for me (and from the sessions I’ve been doing lately, I’d say this is true for a lot of people). I realize that the purpose of my relationships with others is to help me to understand my relationship with myself, which ultimately leads me to my relationship with God. Apparently, the process isn’t so straight forward though while you are in it!
I have a few tips that I have picked up along the way that you might find helpful. The primary one I am sharing today is a wonderful book that has been out for a while called The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. This particular book is for those who are married, but the concepts have universal appeal (and Chapman has written many other books with different relationship focuses). When my massage therapist mentioned the concept of the book, I was intrigued. Was it possible that some of the struggle in feeling loved and supported came from a language breakdown? After reading the book, I am convinced that is exactly the truth.
Chapman shares five languages that he believes we use to communicate and receive love. They are:
Words of Affirmation
Acts of Service
He explains that we all have a primary language we use to communicate love and receive it. A fascinating concept, especially when you discover that your primary means of expressing love are different from those you are in relationships with! Chapman offers a self-test in the book (and also on his website – see below for the link) to help you determine what your primary love language is. While the book is geared to married couples as I mentioned above, I feel the concept is something we all need to know. Why? Because we are all in relationships with other people. Human beings are wired to be social creatures (even though we all have times when we wish that wasn’t so!). We are also in a relationship with ourselves and one with God. I believe understanding the last two relationships is of primary importance as we evolve (and we get to that understanding through the other relationships in our lives). After all, doesn’t it seem important that we understand the language that most speaks to us when it comes to love? Isn’t that something important to know about our spouses, children, parents, friends, and colleagues? I think it is.
The other beautiful thing that came from reading this book was forgiveness. Reading this book makes it clear that some of the painful interactions we have with our loved ones are really not intended as they are received. When you realize this, you can pay attention to how you give love and be sure you are expressing it in a language that is understood. You can also teach your loved ones the language that most speaks to you.
I am including a link to the website and the book below. As I mentioned, he has also written books on the 5 Love languages for singles, children, teenagers, and a special men’s edition. Regardless of which book is read, I really believe getting a better understanding of how love is communicated will be enormously beneficial in our quest to live a more heart-centered, love-filled life.
Website for free self-test: http://www.5lovelanguages.com
Wishing you all abundant love and blessings!