Tuesday, March 13, 2012

How Do You Show Love?

I have had a lot of people ask me for advice in regards to relationships.  The first thing I say to them is read the book called "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman.
This book has now undergone many transformations. This one was written for married couples, but no matter what your situation is, you can use it. I got a great deal out of this book.  There are ones for dealing with teenagers, children, family members, singles and even a men's version.  All the principles are the same, no matter which loved one you are wanting to have a better relationship with. What it talks about is that there are 5 different ways (languages) that people use to communicate their love to the people in their lives.  The problem is, if the other person doesn't know or understand your language they will not translate your actions as meaning love and this is where problems can occur in a relationship. The five languages are: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service and Physical Touch. Most people have a predominant one, but you can be bilingual. In the book there is a series of questions that helps you discover which one is your language.  You can do a very simplified check here without reading the book.  It's easy to figure out one's own language, you just have to ask yourself what it is that you love doing for the people that you care about. Are you always trying to lift them up by using your words, do you love buying them gifts, do you love doing things for them, or is it all about spending time with them or are you always finding ways/reasons to hug and touch them?  Whatever way you show love to another person is also HOW you receive it.  It's kind of like a 'do unto other as you would have them do unto you' type of principle. Now the trick is to find out what language the people in your life speak. Now you could just straight up ask them, what is it that I do that makes you feel loved? If that would be uncomfortable, then it will take some time of really watching their reactions to things you do and say. If they have a strong, noticeable reaction, you've hit on the language.  Do they get REALLY upset when you criticize them? Their language could be words of affirmation.  Are they always complaining that you never clean up after yourself or do anything around the house? Their language could be acts of service. Are they always asking you to go for a walk, go to an event with them, or just sit and talk? Their language could be quality time. These are just some things to look for.

Now, some of you may think, why is this so important?  I show my loved ones that I love them all the time! Maybe you do, but do they receive it? If they don't receive it, it's like it doesn't exist. One of the tricks of a lasting relationship is making sure that the love meter stays full, when it starts to get low, that is where things start to get difficult and start to unravel.  I got turned onto this book right after I got divorced.  After reading it, I could pinpoint exactly when things in that relationship started to go south. For many years he spoke my language, but as the years went on, that stopped and I started to feel very unloved which caused me to detach.  At that point I didn't know how to tell him what was missing, I just knew something was.  Near the end, he tried many different ways, but unfortunately, none of them were my language, so it made absolutely no difference. I also had no idea what his language was. I believe there is a reason that I didn't discover this book until after the divorce, I wasn't meant to save that relationship, but I sure learned a lot from it!! When the time comes that I am blessed with a new relationship, I certainly know what to do differently and what to work on!

So figure out your language, let your love ones know how they can show you love (as they are NOT mind readers) and learn what theirs is.  This along with open communication will lead you to a successful relationship.  I won't say that there won't be bumps along the road, any relationship is hard work, but if you have a strong foundation in these two areas, those bumps will be short lived. Happy Loving!! <3

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