A look at the endlessly interesting and desirable magic of love

By Elie Mikhael Nasrallah

Most people are illiterate in the languages of love. I know, I am one of them!

We all know that love is the most illusive subject of all time. How to define it, how to gain it, and how to lose it, are all matters of universal appeal and a never-ending mission of mankind?

All cultures, from antiquity to modernity, have wrestled with this thorny topic to endless debate without success. Why?

On Valentine’s Day, it is fitting and proper to take a new look at an old topic. What makes love such an impossible task, yet desirable and endlessly interesting in every conceivable way?

In his world-renowned book “The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate,” Gary Chapman in 1992 offered these five gems:

1. Words of affirmation/compliments; people love to be praised and made to feel appreciated. It goes a long way to consolidate relationships and love.

2. Quality time; compromise in personal interest section. Watching moves and TV time, each according to their own preferences and each to accommodate the other.

3. Receiving gifts; feeling loved and giving back are all too important for everybody.

4. Acts of services; to share in the household workload and responsibilities. Division of labor, that is.

5. Touch; touching has a magnetic effect on human emotional and physical wellbeing. It moves the blood, warms the veins, and could arouse passion and establish a long-term bond.

These five pillars are necessary but not sufficient. Allow me to add another five to complete this human project once and for all. (Just kidding!)

The added five pillars are:

1. The Art of Respecting Change. We all go through the process of constant change on all levels. Physical, psychological, material, emotional, and intellectual. Nothing is more certain than change. It is the only constant in human affairs in all places and at all times. How to handle, manage, adjust, adapt, and succeed in this mission is one of the secrets of success in the love kingdom.

2. The Art of Listening. The art of listening is an underestimated pillar in marriage, love, the workplace, and at the kitchen table. What is being said, and not said, are of immense significance. People love to tell stories about themselves and their family members. Being heard is man’s desire, having someone’s ear is a gift of love, friendship, and grace. “The stuff of friendship,” wrote Gerry Spence in his book “Win Your Case,” is understanding. The power of persuasion is understanding those we attempt to convince. And, as we have discovered, understanding the other can best be achieved by listening deeply with our third ear. Therein lies the magic. Therein lies the power of listening.

3. The Art of Growth. Living is about growing daily, learning, and adapting to constant change and the elements of nature and life. Married couples have to keep that in mind. Like the changing seasons, standing still is not productive, sexy, or desirable. Growth in interests, intellect, hobbies, challenges are all a recipe for an enduring and intimate relationship. No growth, no good marriage. Period.

4. The Art of Forgetfulness. Happiness, it has been said, is forgetfulness. Remembering the past and learning the lessons it generates are a good thing. But never be held hostage to its shadow. Good times and bad times come and go. “This too shall pass away,” the old proverb teaches us. Memories are a light to better days, not to the darkness. Forget each other’s shortcomings, failures, and bad habits. Uplift and praise and encourage your partner on the journey to a better marriage and tomorrow.

5. The Art of Love. (No comment!)

Gary Chapman’s ideas influenced generations of people all over the world. My humble addition to the task of living love dangerously is an attempt to add a drop to that ocean.

Speaking the same language of love is not an easy task. Nature intended differences for a reason. But understanding the dynamics and the grammar of the language of love is the magic formula.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all.

Elie Mikhael Nasrallah, born in Lebanon, graduated from Carleton University in Ottawa, with an honours degree in political science. He also obtained a post-graduate certificate in Regulatory Law Administration from Algonquin College. He has been practicing since 1998 as a certified and authorized immigration consultant in North America and globally. He has written three books: "My Arab Spring, My Canada," co-author in 2012, and "None of the Above," in 2014, and "Hostage to History," in 2016. Currently, he is working on his new book "Gates and Walls." He is also a writer and commentator for major newspapers in North America and the Middle East. He has published in the Globe and Mail, The Montreal Gazette, The Toronto Star, The Ottawa Citizen, Huffington Post, The Daily Star in Beirut, Al-Ahram in Egypt, Annahar of Lebanon. He is a public speaker and a media personality in Canada and the Middle East, appearing frequently on major media outlets.

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