It’s important to continue nurturing your relationships even as the years ago by, just as you nurture a plant so it continues to grow healthy and strong.
How do we interpret love? There are three ways: by showing – visual, saying-auditory and feeling – kinesthetic. When we initially start going out with someone we express ourselves and our love in all of these modalities. We give the flowers, say we love them and hug them. Then we’re wearing rose colored glasses and believe we love them. As we settle into the relationship and we feel comfortable with the other person we show love in a way that is easiest to us, the way we learned from those with whom we grew up. If you come from a Latin family you tend to show your love by touch. Everyone hugs and embraces each other. It’s natural. This means that touch would be important in your relationship with someone you love and you would do it automatically — touch the other’s hand, shoulder, face, etc. to show you love them. This also means you would like this in return. If you do not receive it on a frequent basis then after a while you feel empty inside as if something were missing.
This can apply to people who are visual or auditory also. The visual ones need to see love given in forms such as flowers, chocolates, a romantic meal or some task done for them. While people who tend to be more auditory like to hear the words — I love you. They like songs, poems – the spoken and written words. Most people are blends of these modalities. Although it has been found that one modality is stronger than others. In order to find out which is your modality, try the following exercise:
1. Close your eyes and imagine a loved one giving you flowers. (Visual) Notice how you respond and experience that.
2. Now imagine being told that you are loved. (Auditory) Notice how you respond and experience that.
3. Finally imagine your loved one holding your hand, putting an arm around your shoulder. (Kinesthetic) Notice how you respond and experience that.
The strongest response represents your modality.
Alternatively, you can ask them, “What specifically has to happen for you to know how much I love and appreciate you? Do you need to hear something, do you need to see something, or do you need to feel a particular touch, a certain way that I hold you? Can you give me a specific example and/or show me?
How do you use this information in your daily life with the one you love? First you need to be responsible and tell them your needs. Do not expect them to just know. Encourage them to express their love in the modality that is meaningful to you. When they do, express your appreciation. Remember this modality may feel very awkward to them. They need encouragement – often. It will be well worth it in the long run.
Remember you must also find out what makes them feel loved. You can ask them to do the same exercise explained above. When in doubt use all three modalities. For example: as you give the flowers say I love you and touch their hand.
These are just a few tools to help create a loving relationship and cultivate it so it continues to grow in love.