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When is doing the dishes not enough?

iStock_000025133770XSmallThis is a good time to talk about the different dialects in our love languages. The fourth Love Language, according to Gary Chapman author of The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts is Acts of Service (Chapman 92) and the fifth is Physical Touch.

Acts of service is simply doing things for each other, but you have to make sure you’re doing the right things, right. You must do the things the other person appreciates in order to earn credit here. It turns out that my mate’s primary love language is acts of service, but there are certain acts that “work,” and certain ones that don’t.

One thing I think I do fairly well are the dishes, but while this act is appreciated its not necessary to fulfill her acts of service needs.  However, when I go to church with the family or upload new music on her iPod, or put up a bookshelf (and not swear while I’m doing it), those are all acts of service to her.

In some respects, going to church could be considered quality time instead, but in my case, it’s going to church without whining about the length of the homily, or that the priest should join Toastmasters or any number of other gripes over organized religion I could cite. You must identify you mates love language, and then the dialect he or she speaks. What is meaningful to you may not be meaningful to them.

Not only do you have to identify the right dialect, but for those of you who aren’t married yet, or are in the first few years of the relationship, i.e. the “in-love” stage, get ready because your mates love language may not be what you think it is (Chapman 99). When you’re in-love, you’ll do all sorts of things to impress your mate and make them happy and make them think you’re cool – face it, for the most part (at least for guys) you’re doing whatever you must to get a little action. But, once the in-love phase wears off, and it WILL wear off, we revert to the people we were before we fell in love – your mate does too so you may have to do a little sleuthing to figure out their real love language and their dialect (Chapman 99).

Remember though, that any act of service (or fulfilling any of the love languages) must be done out of love, not out of fear, resentment, coercion or guilt (Chapman 101). Manipulation using guilt (if you were a good mate you’d do this for me) is not the language of love (Chapman 101). Or in some cases it’s a trade, ‘if you do this, then I’ll do that.’ But, as Anthony Robbins says, in the cases of a trade, that’s really a transaction, it’s the equivalent of being a whore. You must give without expecting anything in return.

In fact, when Robbins’ counsels couples, typically its just one of them as the other doesn’t want to attend the seminar, he will tell them to give their mate everything for the next six months – everything they need, in their language and dialect and expect nothing in return. Then, after six months if their mate hasn’t come around, consider leaving the relationship. Most of the time though once you start speaking your mates love language, they step up their game for you too.

CAN’T WE JUST CUDDLE?
The last of the love languages is physical touch (Chapman 110). Many guys assume that this is THEIR love language because they like sex. A lot of people, particularly guys, like sex, but it doesn’t mean that physical touch is their default love language. Take a case where a guy is put down verbally by his mate on a daily basis, told he’s worthless, unfit and generally a douche bag – is the guy still going to want to sleep with her? He may, but it will only be out of the need for a physical release of bodily fluids, not because the love bank is full.

We are designed to touch each other (Chapman 112).

  • People shake hands to communicate openness and social closeness (Chapman 112); friends who know each other better often hug, or even kiss (lips closed or on the cheek, don’t get weird on me) to share their affection.
  • During times of crisis we almost instinctively hug one another (Chapman 113). I was at a seminar on 9/11/01 with thousands of other people and everyone kept hugging everyone else. Why? Because it made us feel better.
  • Physical touch is a way of communicating emotional love (Chapman 110). Babies who are held, hugged and kissed develop a healthier emotional life than those who are not (Chapman 109).

Physical touch can be a simple as holding hands or putting a hand on a shoulder or hip as you walk by (Chapman 111), but you can take this to a higher level. If physical touch is your mates primary love language then consider taking a class on how to be a good masseur (Chapman 111). If intercourse is your mates dialect, grab a book on improving or adding variety to your lovemaking.

Remember when you and your mate were first dating? You yearned for your mates physical closeness and their touch. That first time a hand fell on a leg at the movie theater and wasn’t pushed away, or those arm-in-arm or hand-in-hand walks together? Remember the excitement and rush you got from it? Now, if physical touch is your mates primary love language, that’s the same level of emotion and thrill they will get when you speak to them in their love language. Then, imagine the thrill you will get when they speak in your language and dialect, whether its doing the dishes or hanging a picture. You may even be able to recapture that initial in-love feeling and keep the party going.

Chapman, Gary D. The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts. Chicago: Northfield Pub., 2010. Print.

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