According to Gary Chapman’s book on love languages, there are 5 ways in which people speak and understand love: words of affirmation, physical touch, quality time, acts of service and gift giving.
Most of us speak a different primary love language to that of our partner. But Chapman argues that it is understanding each others’ love language that matters and deepens intimacy. This is because over time, as our relationships evolve, communication is what makes them last.
Scientific studies have somewhat validated his approach, because Chapman’s multidisciplinary approach breaks down love in its complexity, into a practical how-to guide. That being said, we need to keep in mind the rich diversity of expression in love; to restrict ourselves to 5 single “love languages” may be too simplistic. If you are interested and would like to learn more, we highly recommend Dr. Sheva’s upcoming workshop: “Love Languages: Learn How to Give and Receive Love that Fulfills Both You and Your Partner”.
In addition to the way in which we demonstrate our affection for others, the notion of intimacy comes up frequently. Intimacy might mean having “deep” talks with a partner to one, friend or family member, whereas for another it might be the simple act of holding hands. So what unites the various interpretations?
Quite simply, intimacy is emotional and physical closeness, an expression of feeling that brings us closer together. At its core, intimacy is built on compassion, empathy and understanding. A study found that intimacy reduced stress between partners: specifically, it reduced cortisol levels, our body’s stress
hormone. It was also associated with better health outcomes. With this in mind, you can imagine just how important it is with regard to our health and well-being.
Below are a few tips to deepen intimacy:
- Express your feelings: Because we often come to the realization that we aren’t mind readers! Confiding in partners, friends and family are what lay the foundations of intimacy.
- Listen with empathy: Practice makes perfect. Giving a loved one your undivided attention is a learned skill for many, and not always easy. Naturally, it takes time to fully understand and feel what they are going through. If we start by becoming aware of the difference between active and passive listening, we are already taking a step in the right direction.
- It’s all about connection. Our relationships are ever-evolving. This is why we need to make the time for our loved ones by continuously cultivating our precious connections.