Sometimes, even though I feel like I’m going about the business of my life in a reasonable way, I seem to stumble into invisible walls or get jostled by unseen hands. Sometimes these forces feel mean-spirited, other times just indifferent – always, they’re mysterious. My troubles navigating through makes me feel that there must be some resource out there, maybe a book called How to Live Life, that everyone else has read but that my mother forgot to give me, and I’m forever compromised as a result.
That’s kind of a dramatic beginning to a blog post, and maybe I should delete it, but the basic point is that personally I find life confusing. So when I come across an idea or a resource that helps to sort it out, I tend to get excited. Thus my suggestion that 4Mothers talk about The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman even though I’ve never read the book because even this article‘s synopsis felt like a mini-revelation (and yes, I know the expression that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing but am ignoring it).
Sure, we all like to be affirmed verbally, get presents, share a good hug, have someone lend a helping hand, and spend time together. But the thought that some of these lovely things might carry different weight depending on the person resonated with me right away. I immediately identified the two most important to me and to my husband (four different languages, no less). And when I told my husband about the article, he identified the same preferences in both of us.
It helped to know this. Not in some our-lives-are-unrecognizably-changed way, but in layering a fresh sheet of understanding over our everyday affairs. It connects the requests and workings of our lives into a larger context. He’s not just bohemian by wanting to go out more than I do; he values quality time. I’m not just a pro nag; acts of service are important to me. The concept of the 5 love languages provides a lens through which to see the higher virtue behind what might otherwise remain mundane and middling.
These ideas quickly made their way beyond my immediate family, and I found myself with new thoughts around how various people in my life might differently express and receive affection. And if I dare move into the realm of broad generalization, I even saw relevance in a broader cultural context, discovering insights between the different ways my husband’s family (from the southern U.S.) and my family (from Malaysia) view things. So that’s why we had those differences of opinion about the wedding! and that sort of thing.
Some people are probably too evolved and in tune with love and life to have this kind of response to a magazine article of any kind. Not me. Me, I’m still on the lookout for that missing life manual I mentioned up in paragraph one and if I find a stray few paragraphs on topic here and there, I’m grateful. There’s a lot of love in my life, thank the good universe, and I meet with open arms anything that adds a layer of compassion or understanding to help me more fully appreciate it.