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In my experience as as a counselor, I find poor communication to be the culprit in most marital strife. As part of that miscommunication is: the signal sent is not necessarily the signal received. One of the most damaging of these miscommunications is a distortion in the language of love. Take a moment to consider:
How do you really feel love? Think of times where someone has done or said something that REALLY made you feel loved.
Conversely, how do you express love? If you want someone to know that you really love them, what do you do or say?
Suppose the way you say “I love you” is via gifts but the way your mate feels “I love you” is by spending quality time? Then your gift may not be appreciated and worse yet your mate may not feel loved. Maybe said mate is trying to tell you “I love you” by asking to spend time together, but you are too busy earning the money to buy the gift which you hope will let them know how much you really love them. In the meantime your mate may feel unloved.
The 5 Love Languages
In his book, The 5 Love Languages
, Gary Chapman
does an excellent job of explaining the five different languages of love: words of affirmation, physical touch, quality time, receiving gifts and acts of service. On his website (www.5lovelanguages.com
) you can take a brief test to find out what your primary love language(s) is/are. You can find his book at the local Borders
or Barnes & Noble
. I recommend reading it together. You can (literally) get on the same page, Kindle
and rekindle the flames of love in no time.
Licensed Professional Counselor
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According to Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky, one of the myths of happiness is “I’ll be happy when…”. For instance, “I’ll be happy when I am out of debt”, and “I’ll be happy when I get that promotion”. But one of the most rampant myths of this kind is “I’ll be happy when I get married”. In many Disney movies, when the boy gets the girl, they end it with very sweet tagline “and they all lived happily ever after”. Unfortunately this is a set-up. The falling in love and saying “I do” is just the beginning. Happiness in marriage does not just magically happen. I have been teaching the Happiness 101 class since April ’09 and one of the key points in happiness is CHOICE. Unless your marriage certificate came complete with Tinkerbell’s magic wand, either or both spouses have the choice to behave angrily, jealously, with pettiness or disinterest. They could also make the choice to behave affectionately, compassionately, lovingly or attentively. Even when love is expressed, the signal sent is not always the signal received. She might be expressing her love through attention, while he might be expressing his love through physical touch. In his book “The Five Love Languages”, Gary Chapman outlines the many different ways one might feel love or attempt to express love. When you really want to tell someone you love them, how do YOU express that? How does it really cut through to you that someone loves you? Was it the little considerate thing they did, or the diamond earrings? There is much to know and learn about love and happiness. For now, have hope. Statistically, married people are happy (Lybomirsky, The How of Happiness). Of course be careful with statistics. Not all happy people are married and not all married people are happy. Happiness, whether married or single, is a CHOICE.