In my experience as a mental health counselor, I’ve encountered countless clients whose main stress is relationship related. In most cases, the couple truly loves each other, but struggles with communicating and expressing that love to each other. When one doesn’t feel loved by their partner, it can become a challenge to express love to them. Conversely, they don’t feel loved, they don’t express love back. That pattern continues spiraling until both find themselves feeling angry, hurt, and bitter.
A book I often recommend to couples is “The 5 Love Languages,” by Gary Chapman. (http://www.5lovelanguages.com.) The premise of this is book is that each individual has a “primary love language,” which is the method that they feel loved and how they express love to others. The goal of today’s blog is to give you a brief overview of the book with practical ways to use “The 5 Love Languages” to improve your relationship.
Here is a summary that’ll get you started.
Words of Affirmation:
Actions don't always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, "I love you," are important – hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten. Kind, encouraging, and positive words are truly life-giving.
Acts of Service:
Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an "Acts of Service" person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: "Let me do that for you." Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don't matter. Finding ways to serve speaks volumes to the recipient of these acts.
In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, "I love you," like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there – with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby – makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful. Quality Time also means sharing quality conversation and quality activities.
Don't mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous – so would the absence of everyday gestures. Gifts are visual representations of love and are treasured greatly.
This language isn't all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face – they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive. Physical touch fosters a sense of security and belonging in any relationship.
The information above is taken from author’s website. Visit http://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/ to take your own personal “Love Language” quiz to see what your love language is!
Every relationship experiences conflict from time to time, and in small amounts, this is normal. If you find that you are having difficulty resolving ongoing conflict in your relationship, please contact Boca Behavioral Health at 561.961.9077 and speak to a professional who can help you determine if counseling will be helpful to you and your partner.