Dina H. Loomis, DTM, PDG, AICI CIP
"The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard but must be felt with the heart." - Helen Keller
Love must be the most overused, misused, and abused word in the world so why then is it also the most misunderstood word?
The answer, I believe, is found in human nature.
Human beings, by nature, define everything from their own point of view, from their feelings and emotions, to their own needs.
I believe love happens only when you stop thinking of yourself and start thinking of others.
Dr. Gary Chapman, the best-selling author of "The Five Languages of Love," is by far the most acclaimed modern-day love guru. Over ten million copies of his book have been sold worldwide and translated into 50 languages. His audio albums are the most followed resource on the subject worldwide.
For easy reference and guide on our everyday relationships, here are Dr. Chapman's five love languages:
1. Words of Affirmation
"Verbal compliments are far greater motivators than nagging words."
Why are marriages easily broken by couples who refuse to use encouragement and focus instead on putdowns that trigger negative reaction from their partners? This bad habit can escalate quickly into screaming matches that end up into long periods of silence.
This is the time to stop thinking of yourself and start thinking of your significant other.
Instead of accusing your partner of an abusive behavior, you can start by expressing how bad you feel and how much better you will feel if he behaves in a more considerate way.
For example, you might say, "I felt too anxious and tense while waiting for you. I would have been calmer and relaxed if you had called or texted me that you were called to an emergency meeting in your office."
2. Acts of Service
Look for opportunities to assist your partner in getting things done or surprise him by cooking his favorite food.
My late husband used to surprise me with a personally prepared breakfast in bed. He also offered to drive me to my meetings, prepare my presentation slides, and send my emails for me.
You will never run out of things to do for your significant other. The instant reward is a bright smile and a gentle "Thank you."
3. Giving Gifts
We don't need to wait for a special occasion to give a love gift. Any day is the right day to give a surprise gift. A love note attached to the gift will make it even more special.
A lady friend shared her joy with me when she received love cards that her husband created himself in his computer. She said, "I feel so happy that he does that. It's so much better and more meaningful than receiving manufactured cards."
4. Quality Time
When you let time stand still, stop texting or watching TV and just focus on intimate conversations with your significant other, that is a powerful way of showing your love.
Some couples in my neighborhood take brisk walks together on a regular basis. They are the couples who seem content and happier together.
5. Physical Touch
This is by far the most romantic and sensual love language.
Just make sure that your significant other is comfortable with public displays of affection. If not, make sure to do it in private.
How to Build Stronger Relationships
Life is so unpredictable and anything can happen that could turn even rock solid relationships into emotional roller coasters.
In his book, "Building Relationships," Dr. Gary Chapman wrote "Prayer is the first place to begin. "Lord, you know my feelings, but I want to be controlled by your spirit, not my feelings. Show me what action I should take and give me the power to do it."
Such a prayer is the first step in the right direction. Human love is not perfect, because we are imperfect. When in doubt, just stop thinking of yourself and start thinking of others. That is when love happens.