February comes around, this traditional love month, and in the air is love and its promise of fulfillment and fecundity, in word and in deed.
As you window shop, heart-shaped objects in flaming red dominate the displays of shopping malls. For the more romantic of the lot, the jewelry stores aglitter with the possibilities of love consummated. More and more spouses are into purchasing pricey jewelry if only to express their love to their better half. Don’t get me wrong. I have done this for several years and it has worked wonders. That piece of precious stone or metal speaks for itself: love, this love, indeed, this love that is in the air.
But herein a caution we need to throw, questioning even the best of our motives: Have we become too materialistic in expressing our affections? Or are there other ways to nurture a loving relationship?
Before Fanny and I tied the knot, our minister gifted us with a book by Gary Chapman, his “Five Languages of Love.”
In that book are down to earth principles – doable as they are – in the expressing and nurturing of a loving relationship. At the heart of these principles, Chapman argues, is communication – this communication that plays a vital role in keeping the loving relationship really loving, as it is healthy. Entwined in this idea of communication is the idea that the partners in communication – the lovers – are required to be in the same language. Language, or course, is not literal, but the exchange and diffusion of meanings and more meanings.
Based on his book, Chapman enumerates the five languages of love hoping that when they are “spoken” the other person can understand and reciprocate accordingly. They are:
1. Words of Affirmation.
This is where we utter those words of appreciation, praise, and encouragement. If we sow words that build up another person’s morale, we reap a positive response. For example, “Honey, the adobo and pinakbet were so delicious. I enjoyed it.” These words are music to the listener’s ears.
2. Quality Time.
This language can never be overemphasized. It is self-explanatory. Chapman states, “Quality time is about focusing all your energy on your mate. A husband watching his favorite sports while talking to his wife is NOT quality time. Unless all your attention is focused on your mate, even an intimate dinner for two can come and go without a minute of quality time.”
3. Receiving Gifts.
There are many individuals who can understand this language very well. Simple and easy as it may be, but it is a powerful tool in communication. A gift does not only mean what we buy; more than this is the gift of self.
4. Acts of Service.
This language pertains to things that we do for our mate like washing the car, fixing dinner, throwing the garbage, mowing the lawn, and other chores. But when we do this, don’t expect something in return. These acts of service are expressions of unconditional and must be performed out of the kindness of the heart.
5. Physical Touch.
Humanly speaking, physical touch is a basic need. “It is important to remember that his love language is different for everyone. The type of touch that makes you feel secure is not necessarily what will make your partner happy. It’s important to learn each other’s dialects. That way, you can make the most of your hugging, kissing, and other physical contacts,” Chapman expounds.
Let’s enjoy the love month and practice speaking the languages of love.
Aloha and Mabuhay!