Day 285: Give Us Some Good Good Lovin'

The highlight of my night occurred early: I arrived at my brother’s house to find two yellow footie-“jammie” covered babies eating dinner and waiting to shout my name on demand. (the name “Auntie Ah” continues to be a delight of mine) But it is now nearly 1 AM, and I have just helped put the babies back to bed. Why? You may ask…because as it happens every time I come here, one of the children has been struck down by a fever. Which means I will get a much much worse version and be bedridden for weeks. Gabrielle insists that the reason that this keeps happening when I come is that I am bringing it on myself by being too concerned about my own health rather than that of her children. I am skeptical about this theory while still quite concerned about my health as I have still not emotionally recovered from the strep throat scandal of 2006.

However, a close second in the running for best moment of my night was when Claire and I received an email from a reader friend of ours named Natalie. Natalie has two wonderful children—aged four and two like the rotters I just referenced above—and a lovely email style as you can see here. Plus she reads our blog occasionally and writes insightful comments about it. So we like her, as you can read here.

Imagine my surprise, when in her email she references a book and a theory (The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman…if this is wrong it’s Natalie’s fault) that I had just begun writing a blog post about! Kismet, I tell you people—kismet.

Now before I talk about the book, I need you all to be aware that I have not read said book; but one of my friend’s sisters did, and she told the friend about it, who mentioned to me that Claire would like it. So I told Claire about it and now Natalie told us about it, and all in all I have decided to read the book though it’s really not my style.

The book is about love: how we give love, and how we receive love. And how each person is different in all this love giving and receiving. According to this tome, there are five main ways people express love: Affirmative Language, Touch, Time, Gifts, and Acts of Service. (yes, Time is the fifth one, Natalie) Keep in mind that you can give and want love in different ways. For example, someone can be great about investing time in the people around them while always just wanting expensive presents in return.

Turns out, in this season of giving, that presents seem to be the topic that keeps this book coming up. The friend’s sister felt she craved presents as a form of love, and it turns out Natalie’s the same way. This can be difficult if you partner up in life with friends or significant/insignificant others who express love in ways that you do not wish to receive it. Personally, I enjoy hanging out with people, but affirmative language about my stunning beauty or generally charming demeanor can seem a lot sincere and meaningful. Therefore, if I partnered with someone who was all about the time, but mute about the love, I could have an issue. You see?

While I do not tend to buy into pop psychology theories or the authors who manipulate them, I have been forced to think about this one simply because of its continuing presence. I think that like so many other things, the value of this theory lies in its provision of a vocabulary with which to describe a really hard idea: the things that people do that make you feel appreciated or not so much as the case may be. So give it some thought, maybe. Knowing what you do shows you what you could do better, and helps you see why you may not be getting what you most need from those around you. Also, if you feel inspired, know that Claire and I would appreciate any love as expressed through gifts, donations of time, acts of service, or affirmative language. Touch would be in there, but this is the internet and who knows what emails we might get.

2 comments:

Jonathan said...

i also wanted to hate this pop psych book but found it kind of right, instead.

Ms. E said...

First, it's not kismet, it's God. Secondly, I have heard many tales of how this book has saved marriages. Of course, the earlier in the relationship you can figure out how to make the other feel loved, the better. Or, figure out that your parent did really love you for providing for you, even though they never said the words, etc.

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