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Worry can be a Love Language

This week we are delving into the idea of WORRY as a LOVE LANGUAGE.

About 30 years ago, Dr. Gary Chapman wrote a book called THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES that sold over 20 million copies worldwide. His book helps us understand the categories of “triggers” that make people feel love. It's a very handy thing to know about your partner, or your family and friends, plus all the others you have any sort of relationship with.

And in case you've never heard of the five love languages, or need a quick reminder, here's my explanation of each before diving in.

The first Love Language according to Dr. Chapman is GIFTS. Some people feel like they're being loved when another gives them something. It doesn’t necessarily have to be an expensive gift. One woman I interviewed was so happy to get a feather from her partner. As for me, I love when Richard brings me flowers, but I also love when my friend Carla Rose, sends me pictures of flowers.

The second one, (these aren't in any order) is ACTS OF SERVICE. If somebody's doing something for you, maybe helping with cleaning up the dishes, or picking up your child from school for you, that would be ACTS OF SERVICE. My friend Jeanne is watching our puppy this week for us. This makes me feel love, (well, maybe she really just loves Mochi not me. LOL!)

The third is QUALITY TIME. It's that time that you spend together just focused on each other. No distractions, no cell phones, just time connecting. For me, this happens every morning as Richard and I share coffee and our nighttime dreams and daytime plans.

The fourth is WORDS OF AFFIRMATION. This would be speaking out loud those thoughts of appreciation to the other. Saying “What a great dad you are in how you took the time to talk to the kids the other day” or simply “You look beautiful!”

The last one is TOUCH. It's a caress, it's a hug, or a kiss. All those physical interactions that trigger a sense of love, fall under TOUCH.

It’s a great practice to see which of the above trigger a feeling of love in you. And then to communicate it, so those around you know.

Another really great practice to help feel more and more love is rather than get others to change, to start experiencing ALL the above as love.

For example, just because we might not experience ACTS OF SERVICE as love, by bringing awareness to all the possible ways people express love, we can see that maybe the simple act of helping wash dishes IS an expression of love, not an expression of duty. When we do this, our world becomes more and more loving.

For the last year or so I’ve been doing research for my next book, asking people more specifics like what is it that your partner does that makes you feel loved? One of the things I've noticed is that there are a lot more Love Languages that go unnoticed and one of them is WORRY.

Think about a mother. We might be able to see that a mother having WORRY about her child, thinking about whether or not she will do well in school and having the thoughts “She should study harder so she is successful in life. She is out playing not studying, I’m worried about her.” To the mother, it's an expression of love. She wants her daughter to do well. And for her WORRY is a way she communicates that desire and love. Her daughter might not (most likely will not) receive it as LOVE though. She might feel criticism or control.

It also shows up the other way, where if somebody isn't WORRYING about you, they don’t love you. Here’s an example. If a single gal goes out with a bunch of friends, often someone will say “Text me when you get home so I know you’re safe.” There is a little bit of WORRY in that. WORRY isn’t my primary love language, so I’m not so likely to say this. One time though, a friend explained that it made her feel like I didn’t care, when I didn’t ask her to text me.

There are soooo many other categories for Love Languages that I’ve been finding: Mischief, Sacrifice, even Jealousy. Are there some others you see? I’m always expanding my list.

What I’m coming to believe, though, is that all of these Love Languages are simply “triggers”, as I keep referring to them.

We often think of triggers as things that make us upset, but there are triggers that make us feel happy or feel loved. So another super fun practice is bringing awareness to ALL of our triggers, whether they are creating positive or negative feelings.

That’s it for this week. Always feel free to DM with any relationship questions.


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