When it comes to connecting with the important people in my life, I’m often a slow learner.
Well-armed with sincerity, I’m regularly frustrated by the lack of positive feedback I receive from my well-intentioned efforts.
One of the books that’s helped me the most to get a handle on this is Gary Chapman’s classic work “The Five Love Languages.” In this insightful book, Chapman offers three ideas everybody should understand if they want to get better at loving and connecting with others, no matter who they are.
The first idea is this: There are basically five ways that love gets expressed and received:
1. Through words of affirmation: “I love you.” “You did a great job.” “I’m proud of you.”
2. Through physical touch: a hug, a held hand, a cuddle on the couch or more.
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3. Through quality time: a lazy breakfast, an afternoon outing, an unplugged evening or vacation.
4. Through personal gifts: a piece of jewelry, sports equipment, an electronic gadget or something else of value.
5. Through acts of service: a base covered, a chore done, some practical relief given.
The second key idea is that each of us has one or two preferred love languages. In other words, most of us feel particularly loved when other people are using our preferred language. For instance, when someone I love simply spends time with me or does something kind for me, I’m a happy camper. They don’t have to give me anything, or say something expressive to me. Simply hang out with me or do something nice for me, and I’ll feel loved.
But here’s Chapman’s third lesson, and it’s the most important one: when trying to love other people, we tend to speak…
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