Expressing Affection: a Vocabulary of Loving Messages

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Reading Reaction Paper 2
Expressing Affection: A Vocabulary of Loving Messages Part 4 #20 by Charles A Wilkinson “Love seeketh not Itself to please, Nor for itself hath any care; But for another gives its ease, And builds a Heaven in Hells despair”. These moving words by William Blake show that to Love another you have to move beyond self interest and express our affection for them. The essay by Wilkinson, “a marriage and family therapist (p150)”, explores the ways we go about expressing our affection to others and the difficulty that arises when we cannot communicate effectively. Wilkinson says that the “key point is the similarity of values of the relational participants; any loving behavior is valid if both parties interpret and value it in similar ways”. He will continue to try and prove this point through his essay about the three main ways in which we share affection- direct relational statement, self-disclosure, and gifts. Wilkinson begins by explaining why we communicate affection the way we do. Communication is a learned objective, and that goes for expressing affection as well. We learn at a young age how to show we care for others and to accept caring from others. We develop certain rules for sharing affection and for how intensely affection should be shared. We also learned that expressing varies between males and females and is also accepted differently from males and females. This goes as well for younger and older persons, family members, friends, and colleagues. Your verbal and nonverbal messages are relational currencies or “symbolic exchange process” (p 151). As you share, or exchange, these relational currencies you learn to either agree or disagree with the meaning of the message. This can either strengthen or breakdown a relationship. Wilkinson argues that when currencies are agreed upon, that communication is often times more clear, and thus, a stronger relationship is developed. Not everyone agrees upon the meaning of such exchanges...
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