Family: How Do We Communicate Our Love?

Questions to contemplate:

*How do I treat my family? *What do I take from my family? *How do I communicate love I have for my family?

Act One: Jewish Law

כַּבֵּ֥ד אֶת־אָבִ֖יךָ וְאֶת־אִמֶּ֑ךָ לְמַ֙עַן֙ יַאֲרִכ֣וּן יָמֶ֔יךָ עַ֚ל הָאֲדָמָ֔ה אֲשֶׁר־יקוק אֱלֹהֶ֖יךָ נֹתֵ֥ן לָֽךְ׃

Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God gives you.

אִ֣ישׁ אִמּ֤וֹ וְאָבִיו֙ תִּירָ֔אוּ וְאֶת־שַׁבְּתֹתַ֖י תִּשְׁמֹ֑רוּ אֲנִ֖י יקוק אֱלֹהֵיכֶֽם׃

Every man shall fear his mother, and his father, and you shall keep My sabbaths: I am the LORD your God.

לֹֽא־תִשְׂנָ֥א אֶת־אָחִ֖יךָ בִּלְבָבֶ֑ךָ הוֹכֵ֤חַ תּוֹכִ֙יחַ֙ אֶת־עֲמִיתֶ֔ךָ וְלֹא־תִשָּׂ֥א עָלָ֖יו חֵֽטְא׃

You shall not hate your brother in your heart; you shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him.

Act Two: In Practice

Excerpt from the poem, “The Lanyard,” by Billy Collins

Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth,
and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
And here, I wish to say to her now,
is a smaller gift—not the worn truth

that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took
the two-tone lanyard from my hand,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless, worthless thing I wove
out of boredom would be enough to make us even.

Excerpt from the essay, “Joyas Voladores,” by Brian Doyle

So much held in a heart in a lifetime. So much held in a heart in a day, an hour, a moment. We are utterly open with no one in the end—not mother and father, not wife or husband, not lover, not child, not friend. We open windows to each but we live alone in the house of the heart. Perhaps we must. Perhaps we could not bear to be so naked, for fear of a constantly harrowed heart. When young we think there will come one person who will savor and sustain us always; when we are older we know this is the dream of a child, that all hearts finally are bruised and scarred, scored and torn, repaired by time and will, patched by force of character, yet fragile and rickety forevermore, no matter how ferocious the defense and how many bricks you bring to the wall. You can brick up your heart as stout and tight and hard and cold and impregnable as you possibly can and down it comes in an instant, felled by a woman’s second glance, a child’s apple breath, the shatter of glass in the road, the words I have something to tell you, a cat with a broken spine dragging itself into the forest to die, the brush of your mother’s papery ancient hand in the thicket of your hair, the memory of your father’s voice early in the morning echoing from the kitchen where he is making pancakes for his children.

Act Three: Communication

From The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Dr. Gary Chapman

“Seldom do a husband and wife have the same primary emotional love language. We tend to speak our primary love language and we become confused when our spouse does not understand what we are communicating. We are expressing our love, but the message does not come through because we are speaking what, to them, is a foreign language…five basic love languages…”

Five love languages, as explained by Jennie Steinberg, LMFT, LPCC, LMHC:

  1. Words of Affirmation– Giving compliments, expressing appreciation verbally, offering encouragement, saying the words “I love you.”
  2. Quality Time– Spending time with someone in a focused and present way (i.e. not binge-watching Netflix together but rather being attentive to one another), Practicing active listening
  3. Receiving Gifts– Giving physical objects to your partner, not necessarily expensive things, but things that are thoughtful and have the message of, “I was thinking of you.”
  4. Acts of Service– Doing helpful tasks, such as helping around the house
  5. Physical Touch– Including but not limited to... back rubs, holding hands...touching your partner’s shoulder, etc.