By Crystal Tingle
Have you ever been to a fine art gallery and appreciated the beauty and originality of what is before you? I have …but admittedly there are some pieces that I immediately loved and admired while there are others that I just didn’t get. But I can still say that I appreciated each simply because it is what was in the artists heart and inspiration to create whether I understood it completely or not. It’s a one of a kind. A masterpiece that says something special…a message or language all it’s own. I have even stepped back a few feet to view from a different perspective or angle to see more, to understand…to know and hear what it is trying to convey so I could love it as much as the others. Sometimes it worked and sometimes not. But the beauty of the artwork and desire of the artist for it to be truly loved and appreciated is still there regardless of my perspective.
“There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved.” George Sand
Much like a painting, our hearts have a unique beauty and message…a language all it’s own. It’s telling a story to the beholder…a story of who I am and how to love me. A story as unique and special as a fine piece of art…ready to be heard and truly loved by the one who holds it in their hand and is willing to listen. I admit… I watched a lot of Hallmark channel at Christmas this year and as I as I watched I kept thinking about how fairytale these movies all seemed to be. No couple lives this way. Can you imagine having the Hallmark life? I mean to be in love…AND to be truly loved in return or at least feeling that way? And not just a little or kind of …but TRULY loved like the fine piece of art that is adored, appreciated, highly valued and understood. But it just isn’t real beyond the honeymoon phase! Everyone knows it moves from bliss to blah, doesn’t it? We blame it on lack of communication and understanding and then say, “that’s just how marriage is” right? Sure there are great moments and occasions but can anyone really be TRULY loved and understood? I believe the answer is yes! Maybe not quite like Hallmark. Life does happen! But just like the art, each heart is speaking a love language that tells us a story …and it is up to us to figure out how to interpret.
Have you ever heard the saying, “You are speaking my language”? There is much truth to that. I read a book several years ago that was so eye opening for me in my own marriage. Yes, much to my families chagrin, I generally write from real life and tell stories on them and in an effort to always better my relationship with my husband and even my children, I read this book called The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. It will forever stay on my list of highly recommended! What really put everything into perspective for me was when he explained how we communicate best in our own native language. Anyone who has traveled to another country understands how difficult it is to communicate when you don’t speak the native dialect. It’s the same way with our hearts. He believes that there are 5 emotional languages that people speak and conversely how they receive and express love.
- Words of Affirmation – You need to hear verbal words of encouragement, adoration or kindness and it’s just as important to you when your spouse to or in front of other people affirms you as well.
- Acts of Service – You heart is full when your honey takes care of things for you. It could be cooking, doing the lawn, paying the bills or running an errand. The list is endless and personal to you but the energy, time and planning required by your spouse to do these things speaks volumes of love.
- Receiving Gifts – You need visual symbols of love. You don’t always need purchased gifts. They can be found or made also and sometimes the gift of your spouse just being there is important as well.
- Quality Time – This is not simply being around your spouse. You desire focused undistracted attention from them whether you are on a date, doing an activity together or simply having a conversation.
- Physical Touch- More than words or gifts, you just need to literally feel your spouse is there. From a back rub to a hug to holding hands in public, you need their gentle touch to know that you are loved.
This is of course a very abbreviated explanation of each language and some people may speak more than one but each person has a distinct primary that we must not only interpret but also learn to speak for a successful shot at truly loving one another. But often, just like with our native language, we try to speak “our” primary love language to our spouse instead of theirs. Thus, communication breaks down …bliss seems like it’s turning to blah…when in fact, that isn’t the case at all. It’s simply a language barrier. It means stepping back a few feet, seeing this masterpiece from a different angle and trying to understand what this fine art is saying.
Learning each other’s love language, learning how to speak it and recognizing when your spouse is inadvertently speaking to you in their own instead of yours and extending grace in the moment will be key to unlocking the potential masterpiece of experiencing truly loving one another the way each receives it best. I am not saying to you “do this, learn that” and then promising you the Hallmark life… but I do believe that only when you give your best to something, can you expect to get the best out! Happy translating!
“Love is when the other person's happiness is more important than your own”. H. Jackson Brown, Jr.