In a session focusing on conflict resolution between a husband and wife, the husband narrated that he does many things for his wife. He usually takes her for a drive and dinner over weekends. He added, “Most days of the week, I pick her up from her office and sometimes even wait for an hour till she finishes her work.”
His wife agreed and said, “But this is not love for me. Any husband would do these things for his wife”. This is a constant point of contention between couples. While one person thinks what he does is love, the other person has other expectations. The key to this problem lies in how our brain processes the sensory information and how this influences our perception about each other in a relationship. This is what I call the brain’s love language.
Our brain perceives reality through five sensory inputs, ie, visual, auditory, touch, smell and taste. For example, if the sensory input to the brain is predominantly through eyes then that person is more attracted to visual inputs. Such people may like to see, admire paintings and have a map while travelling. If the auditory is the predominant channel of input to the brain then such people like to hear rather than to see things. They may like music, would like their partner to say ‘I love you’, ‘You matter to me’, etc. Whichever channel functions predominantly in a person, that channel impacts his/her perception about reality as well how he/she perceives the other in a relationship. After hearing the above information, a lady participating in a couples therapy workshop said, “For 25 years I did not understand why I always felt unloved by my husband. I expected him to love me my way and he did it his way.” Such information helps pave the way for a healthy relationship. To find out which is your predominant channel with which you relate to the world and experience love, do the following:
Exercise 1: How do you know you love the other person? What do you do to express your love for your spouse? Do you like to touch? Do you verbalise your feelings? Do you do things for the other person? Which sensory channel you use the most to express yourself? It is the same channel through which you would prefer to receive love.
Exercise 2: Think of an experience when you felt loved. Recall that experience. Which channel did your partner use most? This will give an idea about that person’s preferred channel.
Do these exercises together as a couple, and understand the predominant channel of yourself and of your spouse. This will help both of you in understanding the other and learn the brain’s language of love, to love.
A Geethan is a psychotherapist and organizational
consultant. He is the founder director of Nibbana. Details at www.nibbanaindia.com