Though our instinct is to move away from the pain by numbing (hello, ice cream!), I know that the best way to begin untangling our shame and pain is to step back and ask ourselves how our partner communicates.
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Often, it isn't that anyone has fallen "out of love,"; it's just that as time passes and we move beyond courtship, people in relationships demonstrate their love with their own preferred love language (or combination of love languages). If this scenario sounds familiar, it's the perfect time to figure out your own—as well as your partner's.
When a client frets that her husband doesn't send romantic texts or say "I love you," this clues me in that her love language is affirming words. Hearing or reading words of affection make her feel supported and cared for. If your spouse's love language is words, remember that insults are usually taken to heart and a great way to build intimacy is to verbally praise your partner and put notes in his lunch box!
Wasn't it Elvis who asked for a little less conversation and a lot more action? For some people, actions speak louder than words. Tasks like making his lunch and matching up his suits with shirts and ties speak volumes. Nurturing acts say "I love you" without the words.
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Does your sweetie bring you thoughtful gifts? Then it's probable his love language is receiving gifts. This isn't about materialism; it's simply that the receipt of thoughtful gifts express the feeling behind the gift. If your partner’s love language is receiving gifts, then forgetting a birthday or anniversary is hurtful. Saying "I love you" during the course of an ordinary week with flowers or a book by a favorite author will speak volumes.
Though we all enjoy quality time with our partner, receiving a partner’s undivided attention is what some crave. For a person whose love language is Quality Time, nothing says "I love you" like a quiet dinner with conversation. Want to make your partner feel truly special? Turn off the TV, put your iPhone down, and listen in! Quality time means sharing not only quality conversation, but participating in activities together. (Continue Reading)