Tips and strategies to have better conversations with yourself and others, especially going into the Holiday Season
The term “love language” sounds positive - after all, it has the word “love” in it, how could that not be a good thing? The caveat is that love languages are highly personal. Even if you have the same love language as your partner, it doesn’t always look the same for each person.
We asked Jennifer, one of our therapists, to share some tips and resources for navigating the love languages of those around you. She gave us a few guided prompts and ideas for noticing the differences in the way each person in your life tends to communicate.
Quality Time vs Quantity
One common example of a breakdown in communication is in the amount of time people spend together compared to the quality of the time they spend together. For this example, we are assuming that quality time is the top love language for both of the individuals in the relationship. One person in the relationship might look at the calendar and think their relationship is strong because they spent a lot of time with their significant other, mostly through group settings and family outings. However, if their significant other values more 1-on-1 time and is focused on the quality of the time they spend together as a couple, that person may not feel satisfied in the relationship. It is important for each individual to communicate directly what “quality” time looks like. Some examples include:
“I would love to take a walk together, just you and me. What do you think?”
“I would like to plan a dinner for us. Any particular day that works better for your schedule?”
“I would like to play some board games on Friday night, no electronics and distractions in the background. How does that sound?”
“I would love to do a double date with our friends next week. Are you up for that?”
“I think it would be nice for us to have lunch with my family next week. It’s been a while. Are you interested?”
Another common example is when one person in the relationship needs to spend some time alone to relax and recharge. They can feel drained and overwhelmed if they don’t get that time to themselves. The other person might have a hard time understanding this as they recharge differently, perhaps by being around other people and might not understand when their partner needs some space.
Some ways in which to communicate this is:
“I need the afternoon to myself to run some errands and just be. Are you okay with being with the kids alone?”
“I need to go for a run and get some fresh air. I feel refreshed when I do, I will be back in an hour.”
“I really would love to take a bath and relax. I need some “me time”. Okay if we watch that episode together tomorrow night?”
If you want the other person to take initiative, say: “I would love to spend some time with you alone. I am asking you to plan a date night next weekend. I am open to whatever you might plan for us.”
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Whether you struggle with one of the above scenarios or a different situation entirely, the key is to communicate. No one can read your mind, yet alone your partner.
Instead of assuming they already know what you need, TELLthem what you need. You may not always get it, but you can try by simply asking.
Telling the other person what you need does not make you “needy” or “pushy.” On the contrary, it makes things easier by taking the guesswork out of the relationship!
Whether you’re looking to strengthen an existing relationship, or to gain insight into your own relationship style and patterns, we can help. If you'reyour curious about what your love language is, check this out here. We would love the opportunity to explore and process this further with you!