Thursday, October 4, 2007

Glutton for love

My dog is a major glutton for love. She will accept love and a belly rub from anyone and everyone. It's adorable really, unless I'm trying to get work done and she lies down across my keyboard...her love language is definitely "physical affection". I can have her next to me all day, take her for walks, have her nap with me, but it's all for not if I don't spend some serious time petting her. She has no qualms about asking for such attention and if I stop before she is ready for me to quit, she puts herself right in my way so she can have the love she desires. It's priceless really. Sometimes it makes me wish I were a dog so I could get all the love and attention I desire. =) My primary love language is also physical affection, so when she snuggles up to me (in her efforts NOT to be put in her kennel for the night), I can hardly resist how sweet she is.

Love languages for those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, comes from the book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. It's a fabulous book that explains that there are 5 love languages (physical affection, words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, and gift giving/receiving). We each have a dominant language and are prone to *hear* someone's love for us if it is expressed through our love language. I'm sort of dual-dominant--physical affection and quality time...I'm perfectly happy just to be with someone I love and consider that a legitimate way of spending my time; I'm also prone to give lots of hugs and back rubs and love to snuggle. Gifts is the most foreign language for me. Aside from things like Christmas or birthdays, gifts are not a big deal for me, and I don't often think of just giving a gift, and likewise if I get a unexpected gift from a gift person it never seems to feel as special as they hope it will. Not that I don't appreciate it, but it just doesn't come through quite right.

I think because each of the languages can be understood by someone who "doesn't speak that language" I might be more inclined to call them dialects--just like with English, there are various dialects, some easier to understand than others, and for most of us when we hear *our* dialect, there is something comfortable and assuring about it. The English dialects that resonate most deeply with me are "Californian" and Southern, and though I can understand a Scottish brogue, it takes focus and energy to catch all of what is said and's similar with the love language.

So, like I said, I love this book. I have found it profoundly helpful not just in romantic relationships, but in friendships and familial relations too--knowing which dialect/language someone else speaks makes it easier for me to express how I really feel for them (though speaking in another language can take a good bit of personal effort). And speaking their language makes them feel more loved by me, which in turn fosters a deeper relationship between us. If you haven't read the book, I highly recommend it. He also wrote one on kids, I think it might be next (whenever it is that I find time to actually read again).

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