My husband and I are very different people. We have different ways of expressing love and that has landed him in a lot of trouble over the years :-P. This one time, a friend shared her copy of "The 5 Languages of Love" by Gary Chapman in the hope of helping my husband. The book explains how each of us give and receive love differently and understanding this can help better relationships
Eg: Lets say, you believe the only way to express love is to say I love you a million times . On the other hand, your partner believes that spending quality time is the way to express love and you both don't know how the other person wants to receive love. In such a scenario, you both are talking two different Languages of Love and not aware when the other person is expressing this feeling. I am drawn to this concept whenever I hear "My Pet doesn't love me". In my opinion, Cats are more misunderstood in the affection department. Just like humans, being touchy, cuddly isn't the only way our Pets express their love for us. Here is my humble attempt at explaining this concept from the perspective of our relationship with our Pets.
We all use a combination of the 5 languages but have one dominant one. This could be a fun and a useful exercise to understand our Pets dominant Language of Love
Words /Purrs/ Wags of Affirmation
We are familiar with Words of Affirmation in the Human context. We love it when people express how much they miss/love/value us. Most of us use Words of Affirmation constantly to our Pets. They could be responding telepathically and we might be missing it. Our Cats purr to show their contentment from being around us and Dogs make tiny whimpers and wag their tails to tell us how much they love us. Or they could just give us a look that says you mean the world to me. We go all gooey when they do any of the above. This is the most common way of expressing love. Hence, you are in trouble if this isn't your dominant language (Case Study: Husband). Do your Pets love to purr/wag tail often around you? How often do you tell them you love them?
Who doesn't like spending quality time with their loved ones? Well, if you are the Cat that loves to nap on the top of the wardrobe most of the time then probably it isn't your favorite way of expressing love. We love when our Pets hang around in the kitchen when we cook or when they sleep in the study when we work from home, or watch the US Open and scream Vamos Rafa in the middle of the night (Poor Brad).Your Dog may enjoy when you seek their company in coffee shops, hikes and long walks. But some Pets with anxiety might prefer home sweet home and their own space. If you notice, all the examples are where the Human chooses the activity and the Pet hangs around to give their Humans company. Are there any instances where you were engaged in an activity to hang out with your Pet? Like, sit next to your Cat by the window or sit in your yard because your Dog wanted to sleep under the moonlight longer (Well,I enjoyed it too)? Every time Brad spots a lizard on the wall, he calls my husband. He expects my husband to tap the wall with a stick so that the lizard will start moving:-D This is our post dinner activity (Go ahead and have a good laugh :-D). Does your Pet like spending quality time with you and how do they do it?
Acts of services
This is something that comes naturally to us in the space of Pet Parenthood. We all go out of our way to care for them in many different ways. I know of Cats that wake up their parents at 5 AM demanding to be fed and our Dog Brad has trained us to be 4 AM people to walk him early in the summer. In my opinion, this is the most common way that our Pets show their affection for us too. While they aren’t folding laundry to make our life easier, they take on important jobs such as helping us be anxiety free by letting us stroke them or caring for us by staying next to us when we are down physically/mentally, entertain us with their antics, train their Pet sibling etc. Unfortunately, in most cases the Humans don't even know that their Pet is doing a job for them. For example, the Cat on top of the wardrobe could be ensuring everything is in order in the house. This is one of the areas that Animal Communication helps. Basis your observations, what is your Pet's main job? What are the acts of services that you do for your Pets (Bet this is a long list).
While our Pets can't get us Physical Gifts, barring the dead bird/rat that your Cat might bring home, they sure address the emotional part of it. This is sort of linked to Acts of Services in the case of Pets. We evaluate gifts based on the thought behind it/ value etc. Pets do thoughtful things like staying close to the baby and keeping an eye on them, distracting us to take our mind of daily life issues, keeping walks shorter when you are unwell, a Cat that stays indoors the whole time while you are away etc. As a kid, I used to get frequent Asthma attacks. I still remember how our dog Brownie stayed by my side the whole time. Whenever I woke up ,he would go and pull my mom’s sari. She would then come running to check on me. He also saved us from a fire once (that’s a story for another day). But these are the gifts he gave us. Can you think of something very thoughtful that your Pet did recently? Any super thoughtful gift that you got your Pet recently?
Physical intimacy probably ranks at par with Words of Affirmation. We all love to cuddle our Pets and love it when they rub themselves on us or give us a kiss. But not all Pets demonstrate affection this way and that is ok too. Some of them can't stand body heat and hence prefer not being smothered by us, while there are others that love it. That tiny lick when you are crying or not leaving your lap when you are upset are a couple of other ways to show their love through physical touch. Does your Pet love snuggles? Do you love to cuddle/kiss them?
We would love to hear about the combinations of Love Languages that your Pet uses. They all love us in different ways. Some do it in subtle inconspicuous ways, while some love to show their excitement and affection all the time. If your Pet isn't big on Wagging/Purring/Physical touch, I would urge you to think about what jobs they are doing for you. Can you express your love for them in their dominant language?
“Expressing love in the right language. We tend to speak our own love language, to express love to others in a language that would make us feel loved. But if it is not his/her primary love language, it will not mean to them what it would mean to us"- Gary Chapman