When we decide to share our life with someone, it is usually because we can’t imagine our future without them. They are the missing puzzle piece.
As time passes, even the best relationship can struggle if it is not properly nurtured.
Some couples are more successful at protecting their relationship than others. What differentiates successful pairs from struggling ones?
Successful couples speak each other's love language.
Dr. Gary Chapman, an author, radio host, and pastor identified five ways in which partners communicate love: physical touch, words of affirmation, gifts, quality time, and acts of service. His book, The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts, has been a valuable resource for couples since 1992.
Take a moment to think about what makes you feel the most loved.
You may feel the most cared for by your partner when they clean the house or cook dinner (Acts of Service). Or perhaps it is when you go for a walk or watch a movie together (Quality Time).
Our preferred love language may not be the same as our significant others, and we may mistakenly communicate love in our language instead of theirs.
We need to know their language, and they need to know ours.
It is helpful to take the Love Language quiz. After completing the questions, you receive a summary page that ranks your love languages, identifying your primary and secondary ones.
Then, start communicating in your partner's love language and watch how your relationship grows.
Suggestions for each love language:
- Hold hands
- Offer a back rub or foot massage
- Share a hug
- Sit next to each other with legs touching
Words of Affirmation:
- I trust you
- You are important to me
- Thank you for being a great spouse
- I love you
Acts of Service:
- Pick up groceries
- Mow the lawn
- Fill the car up with gas
- Unload the dishwasher
- Watch a favorite TV show together
- Go for a walk
- Cook dinner together
- A card
- A special beverage
- Gift certificate for a massage
After identifying each other's love language, go a step further by writing down twenty ways your partner can communicate care to you. Each request should be specific and easy enough to do daily.
The list might include:
- five-minute foot rub
- walk the dog
- make coffee in the morning
- bathe the kids
- a hug
- cook dinner
- make the bed
- bring me flowers
- hold my hand
- let me sleep in
After creating the lists, exchange them with each other. Over the next week, commit to doing at least one caring behavior a day from the list.
This exercise is not a competition, so it is best to focus on giving rather than receiving. Caring behaviors are particularly beneficial for couples who feel disconnected in their relationship.
Small, intentional caring behaviors are powerful in restoring a neglected relationship.
This month, take a moment to reconnect with your partner by learning their love language and engaging in caring behaviors. These actions are a gift that will last much longer than flowers and chocolate.
This article was first published on ConqueringCognitions.com.
This article is for educational purposes only, not as a substitute for therapy or other medical treatment. I am a psychologist, but I am not your psychologist. You can find a behavioral health provider in your local area here.