The Secret to Making Any Relationship Better
What if I was to tell you I’d discovered the secret to a successful, happy, fulfilling relationship with your partner, your children and your friends, which would last a lifetime?
What if all around the world it is currently being taught by marriage counselors, psychologists and learnt by avid readers? The ABC (Australian Broadcasting Channel/ Network) even made a series called “Making Couples Happy- can science make couples happier?”, definitely worth a watch by the way. They took four in-crisis couples, on the brink of a split or who had resigned themselves to enduring their now-mundane relationships and applied evidence-based methods to teach these couples how to become happier in themselves and their relationship.
I stumbled upon this book at the end of a relationship. I read it in a morning, cover to cover and then started singing its praises ever after. It is Dr. Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages. He is a Christian marriage counselor. You do not have to be Christian or religious at all to gain the wisdom he offers in this excellent book. Atheists, persist, it is definitely worth it.
Dr Chapman, drawing on his years (and years) of experience as a marriage counsellor has labeled 5 different languages of love, ways in which we show love to others and wish to have love expressed to us.
· Physical Touch
· Words of Affirmation
· Receiving Gifts
· Quality Time
· Acts of Service
Everyone expresses differing levels of each of these but you will have a predominant one.
So what is yours?
Do you feel most loved and appreciated by your partner when they show you affection? Holding hands, hugging, massages and making love will all make a person who’s primary language is physical touch feel loved and seen.
Words of affirmation
Do compliments float your love boat? Do you love to hear how well you’ve done, that you’re appreciated, that you look great? Words of encouragement are another expression of words of affirmation, love letters, cards, being told why you are loved and appreciated. All of these expressions will make a words of affirmation lover feel loved. Hidden potential in your partner may be encouraged through your words, enabling them to set down their insecurities and fulfill their potential.
Do you feel most loved when you receive gifts from your partner? Bought gifts, hand made gifts, free, collected gifts or the gift of their presence at an event they wouldn’t otherwise attend? If this is your primary love language you will feel loved and appreciated by your partner when they give you gifts to show their affection for you.
Does purposeful one on one time with your partner make you feel most loved? A walk together, a shared activity, a weekend away, evening catch up chats about your day with no tv? If these activities are your preference with your partner your primary love language may be quality time.
Acts of service
Do you feel most loved by your partner when they do things to help you without being asked? Tidying up, unpacking the dishwasher, gardening, cooking a meal, fixing something that was broken or organising a shared space? If these are your preferred ways to be shown love your primary love language could be acts of service.
It is quite common in my experience and that of Psychologist friends of mine, that couples, parents and their children and sometimes friends, will nag, argue and complain about the love language they feel they are missing out on.
People may feel unloved, not heard, unappreciated or misunderstood, they will complain that “I do everything I can for this person and it’s never enough” or “they don’t do the thoughtful things I enjoy”.
This can be due to different love languages and a miscommunication between individuals of what it is they need to feel loved and appreciated. “Keeping their love tank full”.
If you are someone who buys gifts to show love and your partner expresses their love through physical touch, misunderstanding your partners expressions of love could lead to you feeling as though they ‘only want your body’ or ‘never spend money on you, therefore must not care’. Your partner may feel that you are ‘not affectionate, no longer attracted to them or only appreciate stuff’. These misunderstandings can have disastrous effects.
Luckily, Dr. Chapman wrote this book, I highly recommend it as one of my top reads. This is the way to improve, or even heal, any and all relationships that are worth saving.
Once you have worked out your love language and your partner’s, child’s or friend’s you will be better able to show them love in the way that is most meaningful to them and have them show you love as you wish to have it expressed.
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Here’s to you being Happy, Well and Fed (delicious, healthy, inspiring whole foods).