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This blog is about---You! Each and every post is about you. Use it to challenge your usual patterns, as a tool for self-discovery, to stimulate your thinking, to learn about yourself and to answer your questions about others.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

What Rings Your Bell

Hitting the mark or falling short, in attempts to love and be loved

You send her flowers and she says thanks but that's the end of it.  You sneak into his apartment while he's away and clean it 'till it's immaculate and he barely notices.  
Why are you doing these things?  You are trying to make your loved one feel loved.  But, somehow it didn't work.
 How about you?  You hear lots of declarations of love and that's nice 'n' all but it doesn't make you glow inside. 

Here's a true short story of success in this kind of effort.  The grandmother of my daughter's friend worked in a department store with a big parking lot.  While she was at work, her boyfriend came and put all new tires on her car, unbeknownst to her.  I don't know what happened when she came out from work and found that surprise but, I do know that everyone heard about it more than once!  It became a story we all remembered.
Another one:  An employee had a nice looking handbag.  I asked if she had bought it at a discount store we all frequent.  She said, proudly, as she lifted it up for display:  "Oh no, this is a Louis Vuitton.  My fiance got this for me!"  The pleasure and pride in her voice were a dead giveaway.  This guy had hit the mark!
So why do you sometimes feel so delighted and loved by others' efforts to make you happy and other times the effort just seems nice but falls short of a home run?  We each have our own language of love (there is a book by this title, Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, which discusses these ideas in detail).  
You may just jump for joy and have a big smile on your face when you receive a gift.  And, yet, when you thoughtfully try to please your mate with a surprise gift, it gets a bland, "Oh, thanks honey, nice of you." 
~For each of us, there is the one thing that really rings our bell.  If you pay attention to your own reactions, you know what that is.~

 Some, like the lady with the new tires really feel cared for when their partner does something for them, a favor, a helpful chore,  works to solve a problem they have or even, just thoughtfully brings them a cup of tea.  Some, like the woman who was so on-goingly happy with her designer purse, just have a big response to gifts.  

A gift doesn't have to be an object, by the way, it can be tickets to the game, or treating your significant other to a night on the town.  Some people find gifts to be a loving act and some see them as a perfunctory ritual.  
There are people who react very positively to hearing the words, "I love you." or "You mean a lot to me." or "You being there with me meant the world."  I have had 2 clients who were actually in a not so good relationship all because the partner called them sweet names ("Honey",  "Babe", "Gorgeous")  And, again, others will nod politely but not necessarily feel loved by verbal statements. 

Maybe, instead, they really feel cared for when they receive affection. 
So, here you have four very common actions meant to convey love:  Gifts, helpful efforts or doing for the other, affection, expressing love verbally, and what else?  Can you add some other typical acts intended to express love?  
~The important point here is not only to figure out what works for you but also to pay attention!  Notice what makes your partner glow.  Try one of these or, another  that I haven't listed here, or each of them, and notice when your partner lights up, as a result.~
 As you learn about the language of love-your own, your partner's and, even, others who are in your life, you will be happier and your relationships will benefit.

Did you experiment?  Please share what happened. 


  1. Very good post. My fiance's primary love language is touch then the secondary is verbal statements. On the other hand, I like quality time with him and don't respond much to what he says. As you might imagine, this is something that we both have to be aware of and consciously make sure that we are meeting each other's needs. Hopefully, this will continue after our marriage.

  2. That's the ticket, Bama---be aware and try to meet the other's needs!
    BTW, you must have read the book-quality time is another way of expressing or feeling loved and it is listed by Chapman.

    1. I read the single's edition about 2 years ago before I met my fiance, and yes, quality time is definitely my love language. It's a very good book, and I plan to read the other one soon and also the one for kid's love languages since I'll be a step mom.