Recipe of Love in Times of the Coronavirus
October 19, 2020 by Soohyun Moon
The ways we express love have changed in the time of the pandemic. Lockdowns and social distancing have made it hard to see our beloved families, friends, and lovers. Nonetheless, only our ‘means of showing love’ have changed. ‘To love’ amid the coronavirus requires us to put in a bit more effort into our loved ones in slightly different ways to keep affection alive in a contact-free world: express love emotionally. Gary Chapman, a New York Times bestselling author, introduces the “five love languages,” or ways to express love – via “words of affirmation,” “quality time,” “receiving gifts,” “acts of service (sparking joy for others),” and “physical touch.”
Using Gary Chapman’s ‘five languages of love,’ I offer some tips and tricks on navigating relationships during this tumultuous period, based on my personal search for the best ingredients that make a wholesome relationship. Coming from a person who enjoys (and is great at) offering relationship advice, you might find some tips helpful.
- Add a tablespoon of words of affection
Yes, it's all about the sweet words and heartfelt talk… This is not to say, however, that people should flatter. Instead, focus on the positive and compliment others. This is a necessity especially when many people are hit by the pandemic depression. Take, for instance, university students in their junior and senior year, who are starting to prepare for and apply to jobs. The job market has frozen due to the contracted economy; no matter how prepared they are, many are finding it difficult to come out as winners. There is no better time to offer emotional support, which will only solidify your relationship. Encouraging words as simple as, “your summer internships will pay off” and “your passion and knowledge make you a great candidate” or any other remark that creates a heartfelt feeling are sufficient. Don’t forget though, words of affirmation should not be superficial - they should come from the heart.
- Blend the ingredients together to create quality moments
During this time, many of us refrain from going on outdoor dates due to risks of contagion. Although I am an avid fan of coin karaoke and antique cafés, my boyfriend and I still found countless ways to enjoy quality time outdoors, and it has been a rather refreshing, new experience. On some days, around 8 pm, I lie on my mat at a nearby park and look at the stars. These trivial, yet peaceful dates bring back childhood memories and leave me feeling happy for no reason. Everyone should go outdoors to enjoy the cool breeze and scent of flowers. It makes for a lovely date and a great change of scenery!
- Bake your hearts at 100 ℃ through the act of giving
Gifts are a great way to convey our feelings of love and gratitude, especially during the pandemic. My birthday this year was a little different from previous ones since I received most of my gifts through KakaoTalk’s online gift-sending platform! Although COVID-19 has certainly made it difficult to exchange gifts in person, we can still do it online. Last week, I sent a book to my grandparents in Busan, thinking of how tedious they must feel without their trips to the welfare center. This is another simple (and rather intuitive), yet effective way of making others feel valued. Even a small piece of candy would do the trick, if you pack a spoonful of your sincerity with it.
- Top your love with a layer of devotion
Staying home all day during the semester has also opened my eyes to the little things I had failed to notice before. I discovered, for instance, that my mom would spend the majority of her day doing household chores, which had almost become her habit. My dad would often come back home from work really late. This has helped me not only to become more appreciative of my parents, but to also make myself more useful at home - which includes feeding my family delicious home-baked pastries. And it seems like I'm not the only one with this ambition. My dad also started cooking a different Italian dish every weekend so that we could enjoy a delicious, healthy meal together. Bottom line: Try starting something you enjoy that might spark joy for the people you love.
- Slice and serve your love with a hug
Physical touch may not be the best way to express love when there's a pandemic. Yet, with our family members and lovers, it is realistically hard to do an “elbow greeting” (the COVID-19 era’s new way of greeting by tapping each other’s elbow) or follow the 2-meter social distancing all the time. My recommendation: give each other frequent cuddles or hold hands, but don’t forget to maintain good hygiene and reserve a degree of caution at all times.
The ways we express affection may have changed due to COVID-19. We can no longer meet people freely, nor can we travel with our beloved ones to make picturesque memories in a foreign land. But until the pandemic dies down and we can return to our (oh so precious) regular lives, why don’t we read through this recipe to keep baking sweet moments? This is a good time to look back on and appreciate the special people in our lives.