According to Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the Five Love Languages Series, we all speak with one of five love languages: quality time, physical touch, gift giving, acts of service, and words of affirmation.
For example, your partner may reflect his love through physical touch when you’re craving quality time. Or, you may shower your significant other with gifts while he or she is in need of words of affirmation.
In my practice, I see couples that are struggling in a variety of ways to connect and communicate. This can range from feeling disconnected, not spending enough creative or downtime together to arguing frequently. How to move beyond these challenges as a couple is what I focus upon in our sessions together.
Communication is key. In couple’s counseling, I often begin our first session by listening to my clients thoughts about why their relationship is stressful and less fulfilling than desired. I then help them recognize their partner’s love language so it is easier to directly meet one another’s needs. This allows for many couples to reestablish a way of communicating their love in the way their partner needs.
I help couples to identify and verbalize how they feel and what they want (their love language). We practice this in our therapy sessions until it becomes more habitual. Learning to listen to your partner is another very important part of communicating effectively. Listening to each other deeply and reflectively will increase the chance of having your needs met.
Many people in relationship have been hurt by neglect or misunderstanding or betrayal, but have not “checked in” with their loved one. Instead, they may make assumptions and then retreat or worse become resentful instead of expressing their feelings and asking for clarity. Acceptance without judgment is important. No on likes to be judged. Judgment creates defensiveness, which blocks communication and having your need for love and understanding. This is difficult but so important for ongoing communication and flow of positive energy between people in a relationship. Relationships are fluid and creative. They can be transformed to bring more happiness, contentment and satisfaction with guidance and practice.
Dr. Chapman also highlights four ways to continue cultivating a closer connection and deeper communication with your loved one.
• Keep talking.
• Keep your relationship off the back burner.
• Find new things to love in your spouse.
• Get ride of potential wedges in your relationship.
If you and your partner are in need of support to reestablish and build a more loving relationship, please reach out to me and we can schedule a session soon.