PBS had the most beautiful profile of Luciano Pavarotti last year. He told a charming story about how his Mother loved to hear him sing. I mean loooooooved his singing. At first I thought it was just a mother’s bias, but he went so far as to ask her why he was the object of her affection. Adele Venturi sighed sweetly, “Your father doesn’t speak to me like you do. When you sing, you are telling me something to my heart.”
Adele’s quote reminded me of the five love languages created by Gary Chapman. When you speak to others, are you telling them something to their heart? Likewise, are you communicating what you’d like to receive or do you push your needs aside like this month’s series, No Points for Pain?
The five love languages are:
- Words of Affirmation
- Acts of Service
- Receiving Gifts
- Quality Time
- Physical Touch
Dr. Jewel Ray Chaudhuri recently tweeted, “We need to listen at 4 levels: Voice. Language. Body. Emotion.” Imagine combining Dr. Jewel’s good advice with the 5 love languages. Too often we think that deep connections mean an expensive Valentine’s Day dinner that lasts all evening. However, have you ever been out at a great restaurant and noticed couples barely speaking? Bonding begins or ends in small, seemingly insignificant moments. Around the kitchen table. In the coffee break room at work. Over scrambled eggs for dinner as well as lobster tails and champagne.
Think how “Good job!” is more meaningful when your spouse or boss says it with enthusiasm in their voice and direct eye contact. Somehow their body language make all the difference. You more than hear what they’re saying; you feel it.
Remember the spouse in “The Power of Habit” who had the unkind routine of staying on his phone for the first hour after he arrived home? He may have thought he was checking off the “quality time” box by getting home early, but his wife never felt it. Having intense conversations with others said to his wife, “I want to be somewhere else.”
I have a friend who is terrific with her children. Every “Mama?” gets a reply. “Yes.” “I hear you.” “What do you need?”
We’ve talked more than once about how tiring it can be to juggle two active little boys. Every day is filled with a thousand and one random questions. “Why is the sky blue?” “Why do I have a brother?” “When am I big enough to get a new bike?” Responding to them the first time around is her love language. What she’s really saying with each answer is, “You are important.” “You matter to me.” “I’m interested in what you’re doing.”
Make this the week to show love by telling something to someone’s heart, even if they aren’t your sweetheart. Consider ways to demonstrate, “I hear you.” “I am present.” “I am really listening to you.” Paulo Coelho softly reminds us, “Love is just a word until someone comes along and gives it meaning.”