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What ‘The 5 Love Languages’ Can Teach Us About Listening emotionally. Saying the same thing the same way to two different people can have very different effects. Understanding this will help you become a better spouse, parent, friend, neighbor, manager or coworker. This might seem difficult to do when you consider the number of people you interact with on any given day. However, there are simple ways to discover what kind of message or action will mean the most to someone want to communicate with. For example, you can observe how they react to what others say to them or do for them. If you notice your neighbor is raving about a small gift their spouse got them, bring over a bottle of wine or their favorite coffee beans next time they invite you over. They will not only appreciate the gesture, but the person will feel a stronger connection to you, blossoming your relationship. Of course, if the relationship is close enough there is a simpler approach: You can just list the five love languages and ask that person which of them mean the most to him or her. I spend much of my day helping patients hear better, but the ability to hear is pointless unless you actively listen and engage with those around you and discover ways others want you to treat them. We can call that “The Golden Rule 2.0.”
Golden Rule 2.0
can be categorized into five topics. These are: 1. words of affirmation, 2. quality time, 3. receiving gifts, 4. acts of service, and 5. physical touch. He described these in his very popular and often-referenced book, “The 5 Love Languages.” While Dr. Chapman wrote about this as it applies to romantic couples, I think the idea can be usefully applied to any important relationship. Using the framework of “5 Love Languages,” my wife and I found that we have quite different expectations of one another. My wife’s top love language category is quality time, while I thrive on words of affirmation. It was interesting to see such big differences between us in what makes us feel cared for, but this has helped us see our relationship in a new light and improve the way we communicate with each other. People have a tendency to approach others the way they would want to be approached. It is right there in the golden rule: Treat others how you would want to be treated. What we often forget, however, is that not everyone responds or engages exactly like we do. For example, I could encourage and support my wife with lots of verbal compliments and affirmations — something I respond very well to when it is directed at me — but if we do not spend quality time together, these words will mean nothing to her. If you want to get a message across to another person effectively, it helps to know how to do it in a way that person will understand
As an audiologist who specializes in solving hearing and listening problems, a significant part of my job is counseling and
Dr. Larry wishes you a Happy Valentines Day!
coaching the patients I work with. I am not licensed in psychology or therapy, but counseling was part of my academic and practical training. I am well-versed in deciphering the frustrations, fears and concerns people have about their hearing and giving them guidance on how to get the most out of their improved hearing. Still, as M. Scott Peck, M.D. said in his classic book “The Road Less Traveled,” “While it is true that one’s capacity to truly listen may improve gradually with practice, it never becomes an effortless process.” I am thankful that my wife occasionally (gently) points out my communication lapses and coaches me to be a better communicator. As readers will remember from my January cover article, I have a personal goal for 2019 to foster stronger relationships with friends and family. Even after decades of a wonderful marriage, my wife and I wanted to apply that goal to our relationship. With Valentine’s Day this month, I am reminded of that goal. Dr. Gary Chapman has spent 30 years as a marriage and family counselor. When he reviewed the cases of couples he worked with, Chapman discovered that what couples crave from one another
–Lawrence Cardano, Au.D.
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