South Asians, whether living in their country of origin or growing up abroad, are often raised with the cultural value of providing care and doing things for others. The concept of seva, or service, is one that repeatedly arises throughout a South Asian’s life, emphasizing the importance of "the other."
Girls even more so than boys are raised to believe that you show love and caring by doing and serving others. Although the message may be more skewed by gender, boys also may grow up being taught that providing money and financial support as well as doing the heavy lifting around the house, literally, is what makes for a strong and successful husband.
The assumption that comes with this cultural value is that all people appreciate and feel loved when others do things for them. Unfortunately, especially in a marriage, this is not always the case, as there are several different ways of showing love and how we like to be shown affection differs based on the individual.
These are the five most commonly used ways of expressing and interpreting love and affection.
1) Acts of Service
The love language that many South Asians, especially women, mistakenly assume is what their partner speaks is actually only one of five common languages.
People who speak this language will do anything for you and show you that they love you by going out of their way to make your life easier.
They feel loved when they you offer to take some responsibilities off of their shoulders and make them your own.
2) Words of Affirmation
People who speak this language relish constant, repeated and unsolicited verbal compliments and affection.
These are people who need to hear things such as "I love you" or "You are so strong" to feel loved and hold on to the sentiments behind those words for a long time.
3) Quality Time
South Asian individuals who rely on this language to communicate love and affection thrive on undivided attention and predictable time alone with their partner.
This person is very sensitive to a shift in your attention if they are speaking or sharing something. To them, postponing a plan or having the TV on while they are talking makes them feel unloved.
4) Receiving Gifts
Beyond being superficial and materialistic, the people who speak this love language cherish the thought and sentiment behind procuring the gift or gesture.
They will respect and appreciate the sacrifices and effort that you took to get the gift for them.
5) Physical Touch
This language is not just about sexual pleasure, but about physical affection of all kind.
- These people like to hug, kiss and hold hands.
- They will reach out and touch your arm if you are feeling sad or jump in your arms to show their excitement.
- They feel loved when you extend yourself to be physically close with them as well.
According to Dr. Chapman’s research, we tend to be drawn to partners who have a different love language than our own. Keep reading...
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