Pinings: Dear readers
by Sherry Hughes firstname.lastname@example.org
Two weeks ago, my column dealt with apologies. I was writing about the idea that we need to change our behavior along with saying the words “I’m sorry” or else the words mean very little.
I received a letter from a reader named Jim, who recommended some books on the subject – well, not on the subject of apologies exclusively, but on the way we communicate in relationships. The author of these books is Gary Chapman and his premise is that we need to learn to speak different languages in order survive and thrive in relationships. We need to learn the languages – of love – that our partners speak. For example, if I want to show my partner that I care about something she’s done or if I want to buy her a gift, I could buy her clothing or a new watch. But my partner is the kind of person who loves to experience things and isn’t really into owning a lot of possessions. A better gift would be for me to take her hiking or to take her to a museum. I’m showing her that I care about her in her language, not mine. Jim writes that Chapman suggests “there are five predominant languages through which human beings experience love (i.e., give and receive it), and that we each speak only one or two primary language(s) fluently. That is, of the five, there is usually only one language where, when it is used, we feel deeply loved, genuinely touched.”
Jim wrote to tell me that Chapman also writes about five languages of apology and that we usually only speak one or two. If someone uses a language that we don’t understand or value, the apology may not feel sincere to us. Jim says he and his partner are practicing how to speak to each other in order to learn to love each other and understand each other fully.
Some people would look at all of this as goobledegook, you know, that people talk the way they talk and it means what it means. But if you are one of those folks struggling to understand how to communicate more fully with a partner or loved one, you might want to check out this writer’s books. I think there is some truth in the adage that opposites attract. And once we are in a relationship with that opposite, we sometimes struggle to understand what makes them click. Just men and women in general sometimes have these struggles.
This work isn’t for everyone, but if it’s for you, you probably already know it.
Sherry Hughes welcomes letters from readers at email@example.com
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