What’s your language of love? Mine is words of praise and my husband knows it, and plays it to his advantage. Clever man. Here’s a husband quote:
“Every time I’m near you I get feelings of pure ecstasy that form naturally in my heart and then shoot through my bloodstream.”
Not only that, he nearly died from happiness after tasting my latest cake and said really nice things about that too.
And I just overheard him saying to his friend: “She’s famous around Australia for her lentil burgers.”
What a dude. Your partners language of love might not come naturally to you, but it’s worth learning. If you can give it, and then teach them what your own language of love is, they will reciprocate. When I get loved up with gorgeous words, giving quality time and attention in return isn’t hard to do, even if I have to fight my natural inclination to be a dreamer and float about in my own inner world.
Quite often, the worst pain a person will feel in a relationship is when their language of love is completely missing or even used against them. Being spoken to badly is excruciating for me; it’s like my food has just turned into poison.
Languages of Love:
Luckily for us, this is the last one of importance for both my husband and I. So it’s hard for us to understand when other people complain about not getting something on valentines day, or how a present wasn’t good enough. Come again? Then we shrug in puzzlement. How strange that that might matter. I’d be really challenged in a relationship with someone who values gift giving on the basis of how expensive something is. I like giving gifts, but I prefer to give things I’ve made, like art or cakes. I find shopping really, really boring, perhaps because material objects aren’t very interesting to me. Unless they are books. Of course. Especially the kind you can write in. Or food you can make cakes with.
When time to yourself is what you love the most, like I do, giving quality time to a loved one is a Grand act of love, and they know it. Luckily, you will want to spend time with your partner, because after all, they are the person you have chosen to spend the rest of your life with. If you don’t feel like being around your partner, you need to ask yourself two questions:
1) Are we spending enough time apart?
My husband and I spent the first 15 years of our relationship virtually joined at the hip and then we started learning the fine art of ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’. Oh my Goddess! Talk about a shot of make-your-knees-wobble love and attraction after a decent break from one another! There’s another saying: ‘familiarity breeds contempt’, that you might want to keep in mind. At the first sign of taking-each-other-for-granted’, consider a holiday away from one another, or you risk sliding into contempt. At the very least, this will allow you some space to process whatever it is that’s getting under your skin without extra insult adding to injury.
2) Should we end this relationship?
Sometimes, when counselling, or even listening to friends talk, it baffles me as to why people stay in relationships when they clearly dislike each other. Why would you do that? I know. It’s complicated. But really, you truly are missing out of something divine if you don’t have good friendship in your relationship. I know people have reasons for staying in crappy relationships, and I’m happy to hold space for people while they make the decision whether to go or stay (which can take years of too-ing and fro-ing), but honestly, some relationships have gone so far down a destructive route that they are almost impossible to salvage. What’s the point in trying to make your partner change, just to make a point of being right or feeling validated, if you still wouldn’t like them anyway even then? Sorry, I’m a pragmatist. Maybe it’s my Scottish blood. Either get on with finding ways to like the one you’re with, or move on. I’m all for a good work-ethic, but life is short.
I love touch, but I’ve had to work on this one to bring myself in line with my partner. I’ve trained myself to touch him throughout the day, and this hasn’t been hard to do because it makes him so happy. And when he is happy, I am happy. Easy! Love stretches, love gives, love says thank you. We can’t afford to be lazy in our relationships and neglect our partners, because this neglect causes them pain: it’s a form of abandonment. And that’s cruel! I don’t want to see my husband suffer, so I take care to make sure he feels loved, and he does the same for me.
Acts of Service
I think the tricky thing in a lot of relationships is recognising that the service can be expressed in different ways. You might always do one job, but what does your partner always do that you don’t? Often, there is a natural equality to the division of tasks, if you take a close look, and in good relationships, you are always consciously checking in with yourself and your partner to make sure everything is fair. Because you love each other. You might slack off one day, but pick up the slack the next day. You might look after the kids for a few years while you study, and the other partner does the daily-grind of full time work, then you swap. Gratitude exercises help with this, where you meditate on everything your partner has ever done for you. This is a lot more fun that meditating on what they haven’t done for you, what they should do for you or what you wish they wouldn’t do. Energy flows where attention goes.