Four Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Relationship in 2022
What Are the Five Love Languages?
As a couples counsellor in Farnham, I have seen how members of a relationship like to receive and give love in different ways. We are all different; something that may be incredibly meaningful to one person may be irritating or upsetting to another. Knowing your partner’s ‘love language’, therefore, is so important for maintaining proper communication and a happy dynamic within a relationship. To help you understand your partner better, this blog walks you through the five different ‘love languages’ out there.
Words of Affirmation
Many people value verbal demonstrations of affection. This could entail frequent “I love you’s”, compliments, appreciative comments, encouragement, and, especially among younger people, frequent communication through texting and social media. People like to feel understood, seen, and appreciated, and for some the most powerful way of doing this is in a verbal sense.
Gifts are a common and rather straightforward love language. These visual symbols of love are less about their monetary value but more the symbolic thought behind them. Above anything, people treasure the time, effort, and knowledge that has gone into choosing an item; it demonstrates that the other person knows and cares about their partner. If gifts are a ‘love language’ for someone, they will deeply cherish - and keep - all the things they receive, however large or small – such is the impact it has on them.
A number of people feel most loved when their partner actively wants to spend time with them on a regular basis. This could include weekends away, dinner dates, or simply spending an evening together at home. By extension, they value the partner being highly present: active listening, eye contact, and not going on your phone goes a long way. That sense of receiving undivided attention - of having meaningful conversations and feeling truly seen - makes them feel special, appreciated, and loved.
Intimacy and physical touch serve as an extremely popular love language, given that this is the most tangible form of affection. For many, this craving goes back to childhood; those who received high levels of physical love from their parents will naturally place considerable importance on touch in future relationships. People who feel this way obviously enjoy sex, and want lots of it, but also value more subtle gestures like handholding, touches to the arm, cuddling on the sofa, or receiving a massage.
Acts of Service
A person may cherish their significant other doing small things for them, such as doing the dishes, running errands, making cups of tea, and so on. Someone who falls in this category derives great value from their partner doing minor tasks that make their life a little easier. These people consider actions - especially practical ones - to be much more important than words. They get incredible comfort from receiving a tangible sign that their partner cares.
If you are having trouble communicating with your partner, or feel like there isn’t as much love in your relationship as before, I offer couples counselling in Farnham that gives you the space to explore these feelings and move to a better place. Feel free to get in touch to arrange an initial consultation.
Take the quiz here to find out your love language.
Relationship Exits - How a Relationship Breaks Down In Three Stages
My experience as a couples counsellor in Farnham has shown me that many relationships often break down in the same way. There is a specific pattern that a long-term relationship will follow and, if not recognised it can lead to your partnership/marriage breaking down entirely.
This pattern is known as relationship exits: when a partner does things in a relationship that prevents them from connecting with the other leading to the couple drifting apart. Failing to share feelings with a partner means they end up being expressed as actions - actions that often lead to a relationship breaking down.
To help you understand relationship exits and spot them when they happen this blog post walks you through the three different tiers of exits that many couples go through once they stop communicating properly.
Common exits refer to everyday activities - exercise, cleaning, doing admin, etc. that we do in order to avoid connection. There may be an issue that needs to be addressed and, if a partner obsesses over small activities to avoid tackling this important topic, they are engaging in common exits. Putting these little barriers between yourself and your partner can be destructive; the space between the two of you becomes polluted.
When couples fail to notice these common exits they ultimately slip into serious exits. If a couple has engaged in these common exits for a long period of time they lose that sense of connection and vitality in their relationship and, as a result, they seek those qualities from elsewhere. This could involve drinking, gambling, drug use, or affairs. These harmful activities are inevitable if partners don’t properly engage with each other for a prolonged length of time.
If you don’t recognise these common exits for what they are and fail to make an active effort to connect with your partner serious exits end up becoming the norm leading to an insurmountable chasm developing between the two of you.
Eventually, as serious exits tarnish a relationship to the point where it becomes beyond repair, the couple in question will suffer a catastrophic exit. This usually manifests itself in separation or divorce but sometimes tragic events like murder or suicide can happen. These are the most extreme common exits, and they occur on a daily basis.
If you feel your relationship is drifting, or in a rut, and would like to work towards getting it to a better place, I provide couples counselling in Farnham. My practice gives you a safe space to work through any issues and feel more connected to each other. Please do get in touch if you would like to know more.