So, what is love anyway? By Dr. Michael Brooks
For many of us, love is what we saw and learned in our own families. Mom and dad loved each other, we loved our parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles and even some our cousins. We loved our pets, dogs, cats, goldfish. We loved swimming, hiking, bike riding. We loved mac and cheese, hot dogs, burgers, pizza, cake, pies, donuts. We love so many things that are in our lives!
The next question we must ask ourselves is, what is love between a man and a woman? How do we define that? Here are some questions that I came up with: What is love? Why do people fall for each other? How and why do they get attracted to each other? Why do they break up? What is the difference between the two sexes? Do woman expect the same things men do in a relationship? Does true love really exist? Is there a commonality between men and women? Or is it always physical attraction that brings us together in love? Can you force love? Can friendship turn into love? Why is it so difficult for some men and women to fall in love? I had all these thoughts racing in my head, while writing this article.
So, what are the 5 love Languages, Steve Chapman writes about? Why are they so important to having a great relationship? When I first read this book, I had to think through the process of implementing these 5 languages into my life. I wasn’t married at the time when I read this book, but I wondered, how would it work on building lasting friendships? I tried several suggestions from the book on my family, and the results were amazing. My sister was happy that I noticed she needed words of affirmation, or encouraging words as I call them. These tips that Chapman suggests, are very good, and easy to do. When I got married and even before I got married, I used them to build a strong foundation for our marriage. If you’re in a marriage that could use some fireworks and excitement, this is a great book to have in your library.
So, here are the 5 Love Languages; 1. words of affirmation 2. Quality Time 3. Receiving Gifts 4. Acts Of service 5. Physical Touch
The love language that we will be looking at today is, words of affirmation. How do you affirm someone that you love or care about? When we tell people how much we appreciate them, and give them compliments for the things they have done for us or others, that is showing love towards that person. When is the last time you told your spouse, “Hey, thanks for mailing those packages for me”, or “I appreciate you picking up some of the grocery’s I needed.” Compliments go a long way in feeling appreciated, and wanted. How much would it help a marriage, if both were committed to saying encouraging words to each other on a daily basis? I can tell you that many of my clients said it helped their marriage a great deal. So, the next time your husband or wife does something nice for you, let them know you appreciate what they have done for you or your children. A verbal compliment can go a long way in making a good and strong marriage. try it, you will be amazed at the results!
One of the things I noticed while giving complements to others, they seemed more willing to help me when I needed help with things. Visa versa, when I got words of affirmation, I was willing to help them. I didn’t expect any thing in return or favors when I was saying verbal complements, I complemented them because I appreciated what people do for me and I let them know. You never know how important encouraging words may be to someone that has been or is hurting. I remember when I was feeling down at work, a buddy of mine noticed, and we talked. He reminded me about the many people that I have helped with health issues and with my counseling practice. That picked up my spirits and helped me make it through the day, and made my week. Be sincere with your words of affirmation when speaking them into other people’s lives. Hurting people will live on words of encouragement and words of affirmation.
When you encourage someone you should see the world from their eyes and why they may needs words of affirmation and encouragement. You have to know what is important to your spouse, or friends to understand where they are coming from. For example, someone may be going through a divorce and have been put down by their ex, how can you help and encourage someone who needs it? Focus on their good points and build them up, tell them how appreciated they are by friends and family. That goes a long way in helping those who are hurting and needing an encouraging word. If the person that you’re encouraging is a great mom or dad, tell them why. You can find many ways to give words of affirmation.
Love is kind and gentle, so use words that express kindness and gentleness. How you say these words of encouragement and affirmation, can be key. You may be speaking kind words, but in a voice that is saying something contrary to its intent. Harsh tones, things said under our breath, can be taken the wrong way. For example, when complementing your husband on going to the store for you, you say, “its about time you got back from the store, what did you do look at the hunting magazines, is that why your late?” This takes away from having any kind words mean anything. Or the husband who is trying to say thanks to his wife after berating her about the ticket she just received, and bringing home a cold pizza. Folks this stuff really happens.
Kind words can heal hurts from disagreements and arguments. When you express how your feelings have been hurt, and know how to talk about those hurts, then your a step ahead of the game. Sit that person down and share with them, why their actions hurt you. When this starts to happen, you are reaching out to build love in your relationship, through kind words. You start the healing process through communication and getting things out in the open. I tell my clients, you shouldn’t keep bringing up the past while arguing, that’s history, move on, you’re in the present (today) and looking forward to your future. If you keep bringing up the past with harsh words, those are not words of encouragement, or words of affirmation, but words of bitterness, and unforgiveness. Both parties should say, yes, our hurts happened, they were painful experiences, but they are history, let’s move on. Harmony in a marriage is done through great communication, kind words, encouraging words, words of affirmation, not by bringing up the past.
You can reassure your spouse, by telling them, that they are not a failure, that you both can learn from what happened, and it will not come between the both of you. That you both are a team, committed to each other, and you will move forward with your marriage. Do you know how much that will help the hurting spouse hear those words? Do you know how that would help your relationship in the long run? You build a relationship on good times and bad times, you work through issues by communication.
Next week, we will finish up this article on, words of encouragement and words of affirmation. Do you have a problem of letting go with your spouses past? Is it difficult for you to encourage your spouse? Do you want to learn some ways that you can build a strong and lasting marriage? If you answered yes to any of these questions, please call Dr. Mike, he can help you strengthen your marriage.
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