By Melanie Smith
Making a relationship work takes effort from everyone involved. Oftentimes, hard work alone isn’t enough to keep a relationship afloat. The key to a successful, fulfilling, and happy relationship is making sure that the relationship is healthy, not just struggling by.
In any relationship, the most important thing is clear and open communication with your partner. If something bothers you or if you feel hurt or confused, talk to your partner directly. Overthinking and bottling up emotions inside leads to stress, anxiety, doubt, and heartbreak. Different couples will find that they have different ways of communicating, due to personal differences and aversion to confrontation, or fear of rejection or heartbreak. However, a couple is able to communicate their feelings effectively is fine, as long as they are able to do just that.
Some may take a more confrontational approach, while others will take varying degrees of subtlety to communicate their feelings. Depending on how receptive your partner is to your feelings, different degrees of subtlety can work perfectly fine, but if one means of communication is not working, something else must be tried. Being able to make your thoughts, wants, and needs heard and understood, as well as understanding your partner’s in turn, is the most important building block to any healthy relationship.
People in healthy relationships should also be able to properly express their love for one another. This goes beyond just saying “I love you” enough; different people have different ways of showing and perceiving affection and love. To determine the best way for you and your partner to show and receive love, taking the 5 Love Languages test is a great place to start.
This quick questionnaire will tell you how you want to be shown love, in terms of the five “Love Languages”: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch. Each “Love Language” corresponds to a different way of showing your affection. Someone who scores high in the Words of Affirmation language likes to be told verbally how much they are loved, or reminded that they are important and special. For someone in the Acts of Service category, actions speak louder than words. You can prove your love to someone in this category by doing things for them to show them that you are willing to take time out of your day to help them because you love them. The Receiving Gifts category is for people who feel loved when you go out of your way to get them a meaningful gift, which shows you were thinking about them and care about their happiness. People in the Quality Time category don’t care as much about words, gifts, or actions; they are happiest when you just spend time with them. Getting together without distractions and giving them attention reminds them that you care enough to dedicate time out of your day to them and them alone. People scoring high in the Physical Touch category feel most loved when they are physically reminded of your companionship and love. Holding hands, cuddling, and hugging all show your love physically, and are favorite ways for people in this category to receive love.
Finding your love language isn’t the only step though; you also need to find your partner’s. Once you both understand how you want to receive love, then you can each make the conscious decision to use the love language that each person best responds to. Using your partner’s love language to express your love to them will make them happy not just because it is the right language, but because you love them enough to make the effort to use their language.
Featured image is from Romance University.