When you fall in love, you get this emotional high and you think, this is going to last forever. The butterflies in the stomach, the shooting stars, deep emotions, the electricity of a touch and kiss are the euphoric feeling of being in love.
These feelings create the illusion that we can conquer all the problems and enjoy happily ever after. You can’t imagine the possibility of arguments, anger and frustration caused by your partner. The thought of hurting your partner is inconceivable to you.
And yet, something happens to the euphoria of love after some time, reality kicks in, problems start appearing and many couples end in divorce. What happened to the beautiful love story in the beginning? What happened to the promises and the vows?
The thing is, the emotional high of being in love doesn’t last long. Romance, passion and infatuation are elusive and not a solid foundation to build long lasting relationship on.
The dreams of “living happily ever after” are often dashed by the hard walls of reality. Instead of intimacy, there is withdrawal, instead of compliments there is criticism, instead of understanding there are arguments.
Love is one of our primary needs. What then there is so much pain and heartache around it?
There is a significant difference between falling in love and having a mature love for another person. When you fall in love, you can’t really control what happens, emotions are in charge, and you just enjoy the ride. You are emotionally obsessed with each other. Spending time together is like being in heaven. But when all the charm and glitter disappears,
However, mature love is what ensures the longevity of relationships. It is a choice, an effort, and an intention.
Gary Chapman, the author of 5 Languages of Love, talks about the importance of keeping the love tank full to ensure a healthy marriage. And in order to keep the love tank full, you need to learn to speak love languages.
Just like fuel is important for a car to drive, love tank needs to be full for relationships to last.
If you are willing to take an intentional approach to ensure your love tank and your partner’s love tank are full, you will have a healthy and loving emotional climate in your relationship
There are 5 main love languages.
1. Words of affirmation show your appreciation to your partner by verbal compliments and words of encouragement. It is also important to pay attention to the tone and how you speak. You can say, “I love you. I am so blessed by you” in a kind and tender way that is a genuine expression of love. But if you say, “I love you?”, the whole meaning changes and there is room for doubts and a gap in relationships. Words have power. They are the building blocks of reality. By expressing your love with words, you show how meaningful your partner is for you.
2. Quality time is when you give your partner your undivided attention, whether it is a fun weekend getaway, a walk in nature together holding hands, doing on a date, or just having a genuine conversation looking at each other in the eye. Who is taking out the trash and going grocery shopping is not a conversation that will fill a love lank. Watching TV together does not qualify a quality time either. Devoting your time for your partner is a way to say, “You are important to me”
3. Receiving gifts is quite self-explanatory. Almost everything ever written on the subject of love shows that at the heart of love is the spirit of giving. But visual symbols of love are more important to some people than others. Presents don’t have to be necessarily expensive. They need to have meaning and again showing your love and affection for your significant other. Don’t wait for a special occasion. If receiving gifts is his primary love language, almost anything you will give will be an expression of love. The gift of self is also considered a present.
4. Acts of service such as cooking a meal, vacuuming the house, washing dishes, paying the bills, dealing with landlords are all the expression of love for some people. Helping your spouse with household chores could be a way to fill up their love tank
5. Physical touch is a great way to communicate emotional love. The tactile receptors are located throughout the body. And when those receptors are touched or pressed, the brain is stimulated. It usually causes pain or pleasure. We interpret it as loving or hostile. Physical touch could make or break relationship. It can communicate love or hate. It is absolutely essential to be in tune with your spouse’s preferences, because not all touches evoke the same response in all people.
The key is to understand what primary love language you and your spouse speak, so you can show your love towards each other. Couples don’t necessarily speak the same love language.
Don’t assume, what’s important for you will be appreciated by your spouse. If for example, your primary love language is words of affirmation, giving praise to your partner will not make his love tank full, if his primary love language is acts of service. All our problems stem from the lack of awareness, really.
Learn to speak his language of love and make him aware of yours. Understand your partner’s needs, desires and priorities. Have a conversation with them what will make their love tank full. The worst thing you can do is assume.
You have to be intentional. Do not take your spouse for granted, assuming he will always be there.
Although, there are only 5 languages outlined by Gary Chapman, my husband and I both speak the 6th love language. And it is humour. We live by the principle, “a day without laughter is a day wasted.” Playing each other blindly is our expression of love toward each other. Having silly nicknames that only we understand, calling each other silly and making fun of each other is what fuels the healthy and fun environment in our family.
Everything takes an intentional approach in life, if you wish to live by design. Ensuring the longevity of relationships takes mature love and the ability to speak your partner’s love language.
“Happily ever after is not a fairy tale — it’s a choice.” Fawn Weaver
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