As Valentine’s Day approaches, take a moment to recall this day from the past. Perhaps you do not celebrate this day, but you can recall moments when love was expressed. Moments when your first love, your parents, showed their love to you and you to them. Their love may have looked like a heart shaped box of chocolates, shiny foiled balloons, or a larger-than-life teddy bear. It may have looked like warm hugs, taking you shopping for the perfect gift for a special someone, or simply told you that you were their whole world. And you returned their love with a smile or a picture you created using crayon shavings. Maybe your first experience of love didn’t feel like love at all, and it deeply saddens you. As you grew, you learned even more about love from your friends and even more so with your romantic relationships. You developed how to love and how you want to be loved. These experiences and relationships shaped you. What part of your development has shaped you to have loving, healthy relationships? Are there any areas that no longer serve you and need a closer look?
Luckily, your development of love isn’t done. It’s a good thing too because back then there was a lot of heartache and failed attempts at being sexy! You have changed and will continue to do so.
Before my husband and I were married, we decided to go to pre-marital counseling with hope to be set up for success. We were asked our “Love Languages,” which I knew nothing of. After given the information, my husband was asked which one he believed was my language. “All of them!” he said, and we laughed. This is true, to some degree, but later I realized there are expressions of love I appreciate and expressions of love I need to feel loved. Knowing my love language was important. Communicating how I needed to be loved was essential. Love is not letting our partner read our minds or saying “you should know;” followed by anger, withdrawal, and hopelessness. Finally, I needed to know my partner’s love language AND be intentional about meeting those needs.
So many couples I support struggle with love and understandably so. Work, kids, and resentments about their partner are a few roadblocks to love. They are enveloped in negativity and demand their partner make the first move. But here’s the thing, how YOU show your partner love directly impacts the love YOU receive. It is interconnected and you are playing a role by being confrontational or withdrawn-so let YOU be the change for yourself and for your relationship. Return to your loving self that your early experiences taught you to be and pull your partner close and say “you are my world and I need more time with you” or leave a note when you leave the house (or bedroom if you are working from home). If anger and pain from earlier experiences are preventing you from love, then invest in yourself and get help from a professional.
What’s the next chapter in your love story? Because you’re writing it.
Below are some resources which includes a quiz for identifying you and your partner’s love language. You can also use the quiz with your child or teen to support your parenting relationship. The following link provides more information about love languages by marriage therapist and author Dr. Gary Chapman.
Remember, the relationship you have with your children and the relationships they observe are shaping their future relationships-so if you are strengthening your relationship with your partner, you are helping your child develop healthy relationships for their future. Now that’s a BOGO!
With support and warm wishes,
*Information about "accountability" is not applicable to relationships in which abuse is occurring; victims of any type of abuse are not responsible for the harm inflicted by the perpetrator.
**Disclaimer: This information is meant for educational purposes only-not meant or intended to be therapy or psychological advice. It does not constitute as a patient/therapist relationship. Please dial 911 if you have an emergency or are experiencing a crisis.