Understanding Your Partner
Last month, I wrote a brief blog about the importance of couple counseling. I thought I would take another moment to talk a bit more about getting to know your partner. I often do a couple of things in my first few sessions with my couples. First, I like to create a genogram, a diagram illustrating a person's family members, how they are related, and their medical history. The genogram allows my clients to see hereditary patterns of behavior and medical and psychological factors that run through families. I also like for my couples to take a short quiz, called the Five Love Languages, that aids them in understanding their own unique way of giving and receiving love from their partner.
Some of you may have heard of the Five Love Languages and many of you may have even taken this quiz before. I thought I would talk a little about each of the languages, physical touch, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of services, and receiving gifts. The below information is taken from www.5lovelanguages.com.
Physical Touch: This language is not just primarily about sex. A person whose primary language is physical touch seeks out and provides physical affection to their partner. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial. Physical touch fosters a sense of security and belonging in any relationship.
Quality Time: This language demonstrates love with undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there with the TV off, phone down, and other responsibilities on standby when asked, makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful. Quality time also means sharing quality conversation and quality activities.
Words of Affirmation: This love language includes unsolicited compliments and hearing the words, "I love you," are important. When your partner can hear the reasons behind that love, it can mean the world to them. Finding time to praise your partner, remind them how proud you are of them, and verbalizing what you enjoy and love about them. Kind, encouraging, and positive words can be truly life-giving.
Acts of Service: With this love language, vacuuming the floors and running that nuisance of an errand for your partner can really be an expression of love. Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities that weigh on your partner will demonstrate your love and care for them. The words they most want to hear are: "Let me do that for you." Finding ways to serve can speak volumes to your partner
Receiving Gifts: This love language is not about materialism, your partner thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. Gifts are visual representations of love and are treasured greatly
Now this is not going to provide you with all the information you need to connect with your partner, but from my experience it can provide a great framework to work off of as you discover new ways to interact with your partner. Many times, we love our partner the way we enjoy receiving love, but this may make our partner feel like we do not truly see or understand them.
Try and find ways each day to be intentional with loving your partner. It may feel uncomfortable or challenging at first because it may take you out of your comfort zone, but the connection you will be able to experience with your partner will be worth it! Now go take the quiz and start making some positive changes in your relationship!
Please schedule a free consultation if you have further questions or want to schedule a couple session to create space for you and your partner to get to know one another. This takes time and vulnerability, but it is worth it! You and your partner are worth it! Partnerships have many complexities, but that’s what makes them so amazing!
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