The Different Love Languages Can Help Improve Your Relationship

We all know that vital relationships are important to our mental and physical health. When the seminal book on love – specifically love languages – was published by Gary Chapman Ph.D. in 1992, he probably couldn’t have imagined how important The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate would become. It is a book that has gone on to define our vital relationships – both with our partner and with friends – and it is always worth a quick reminder of what those languages are and how they work.

It is worth noting that healthy and balanced relationships will hit all five of these languages in some way often. Still, it is also true that everyone has different needs and values some of the languages more than others. At the very least, see this as a reason to talk to your partner about which of the love languages they value most so that you can improve your vital relationship with them.

Quality Time

The keyword here is “quality.” You may spend hours with your partner every day, but if that time is spent helping with the kids or watching TV together, it isn’t going to seem like quality time to someone requiring this language. Another key is to put down your phone and pay attention with your eyes along with your ears as something this simple shows that you are engaged in what your partner – or friend – is saying and that you are there for them and not whoever is down the other end of the line.

Physical Touch

A pretty simple one here as long as you remember that this doesn’t mean that the person is looking just for sensual and sexual touches all the time. This is more about physical closeness and the comfort and security that is provided within that. Think walks in the park with hands held, cuddling on the couch while watching a movie instead of sitting apart, or playing with their hair after a stressful day. Please make an effort to be close to someone who needs this language and show them you care.

Words of Affirmation

This language is all about encouraging your partner verbally and showing them that you are in tune with their day and their life with your words. This can be as simple as an encouraging text before a meeting or a congratulatory one when something goes well. It is worth noting that while telling someone you are in a vital relationship with you love them is essential, it might not be enough here. Try to tailor those words – which are important – to the situation to make someone with this language feel loved and valued.

Acts of Service

This is an outdated way of only doing things that make your partner’s life easier by taking away something they have to do. This can be as simple as washing the dishes or taking out the trash, which shouldn’t be seen as chores but as acts of service to the person you love. Doing these things together – especially when it is something like cooking dinner with a glass of wine – can be an excellent way of showing this language and creating a closer bond.

Receiving Gifts

The first thing to do with this love language and your vital relationship is to remove the feeling that it is materialistic or greedy. Gifts in this way don’t have to break the bank – they don’t have to cost anything at all – but instead are all about showing thought in the gift. Maybe picking a wildflower on a walk in the country or tracking down an old recipe from an in-law that your partner loved as a child, the options here are endless without having to spend hundreds of dollars on soon-to-be discarded junk.

Article by Vital Guidance

Tips To Eliminate Shouting And Make Your Relationships More Peaceful

There are many types of drama that can hurt out vital relationships. This has become especially clear during the Covid-19 lock down where couples, roommates, and families have all had to spend the bulk of their time together, sometimes without any space to get away and decompress.

One of the biggest relationship killers – and thus something that should be avoided at all costs – is shouting and/or yelling during an argument. The problem with this is that for some people it is a natural reaction, almost a way to get the conflict over quickly, while for others that raised voice makes them retreat inside to avoid the conflict and thus not get closer to a solution.

Shouting is toxic and it is damaging, so what should you do if you are one of those people that defaults to this emotion when you find your back against the wall? Here are some tips that will help you avoid shouting matches and help make your vital relationships stronger, happier, and more peaceful than ever before:

Take Deep Breaths

This is likely a technique that you have heard of before, but that is because taking deep, calming breaths is important when you are angry and getting ready to shout. Drawing in a deep breath through your nose – allowing your lungs to fill with air and your chest to rise – before exhaling through your mouth is something that will allow you to literally feel the tension flowing out of your body. Expand on this over time by bringing some breathing exercises into your day for a much more relaxed approach to life.

Stop Talking Immediately

This might be the most difficult technique of all, but it will stop someone hurting a vital relationship with angry words that aren’t really meant. As soon as you find yourself starting to raise your voice, simply cut off the flow. This could be mid-sentence, mid-word, or even mid-syllable. The key is just to stop the frustration from pouring out and it will give you a chance to reevaluate whether what you were about to yell is actually what you really mean. In all likelihood it is not and this pause will give you a chance to change words from hurtful to kindness.

Leave the Argument

This is a good technique, but it has to be done right. There is a big difference between storming out of a room hurling words you don’t mean and simply saying that you need some fresh air and will be back soon. Use that time to get outside and feel the benefit of some fresh air in your lungs while you think about what to say next. One thing to do here is to make yourself study the environment around you as you walk. Notice the air temperature, see what animals are around, and take a look at the kids playing on the street. This method of taking your mind off of the anger and onto something tangible will help calm your anger momentum immediately.

Think About Your Reaction

If you are confronted with a yeller, then the best think you can do is not feed into their behavior. The worst thing to do is to mirror their emotions and engage in the yelling. Nothing good can come from this and the situation will escalate and escalate to the point that a vital relationship could be threatened. Staying calm is the single best thing that you can do without looking like you are being patronizing. It can be hard to show compassion and understanding in these situations – without being agreeable to things you don’t believe – but by doing so you will help resolve the situation far quicker than if you feed into the fire.


Article by Vital Guidance

Couples Must Work On Careers and Vital Relationship

Managing your relationship during the Coronavirus crisis can be tricky. As much as we all want to think we are the perfect couple in the perfect relationship, the truth is that most of us have never lived in each other’s back pockets for weeks on end. Even if we share the same hobbies and the same workplace, there are usually other people around and separate events that we will go to without our partner be it gym, golfing or simply going to the hardware store.

Now – thanks to social distancing and stay-at-home orders – that has all changed. More than that, it changed very suddenly. Many couples are now working from the same home no matter if they are working the same job. This is fine – or at least better – if you have a big house with multiple spaces that can be used as an office, but much less fun if you are in a smaller apartment where finding your own space is a little more difficult.

The first thing to realize with your relationship is that you are 100% going to get on each other’s nerves at some point during this lockdown. Maybe it hasn’t happened yet, but it will. Often the pandemic itself is the cause of this, especially if the two of you aren’t completely in line with your thinking on how serious the situation is. Given that everyone thinks differently, this is likely to be a bone of contention at some point.

It is more than okay to get on each other’s nerves. The problem is that unlike pre-pandemic, there is likely no outlet for the feelings other than stewing in a different room. When these fights happen both of you need to avoid the “Four Horsemen” of relationship enders as proposed by psychologist John Gottman.

These four ideas are criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling. These four, which include attitudes with “always and never” statements, insulting verbally or with actions, counterattacking when feeling victimized, and measures to avoid interaction, will all see this pandemic claiming your happiness and relationship from you. Talk to your partner as soon as possible – knowing that fights may come –on how to avoid these specific concepts when upset at each other.

Instead, look at this time as a chance to build your relationship and cut down on stress. Be positive in all interactions – Gottman suggests a 5:1 positive to negative ratio or better – to keep each other happy. Practice your listening skills when you are upset and when you are both happy, showing empathy for the situation towards one another. Make your partner feel safe and happy and find new ways to enjoy life together that break what is already becoming a mundane daily routine.

The options here are endless for ways to improve your vital relationship by not letting the Four Horsemen create stress and bring down everything you have built over the years. See this as a time of opportunity and emerge on the other side stronger than ever.

Article by Vital Guidance

Two Can Become One While Being Ourselves

Being in a relationship and maintaining your independence are two concepts that may sound counter intuitive. The truth, though, is that becoming co-dependent in a relationship to the point that you lose your independence is very unhealthy. Instead, you want to be two people who share their lives, their experiences, and their goals together while still maintaining independence in the right areas.

Here are some tips on how to keep your independence while also keeping that vital relationship in your life alive and kicking:

Do something on your own

This can be as simple or as extravagant as you like. If you are feeling like you are penned in as part of your relationship then start by doing something simple on your own. Maybe this is refocusing on an old hobby or starting a new one. Fitness classes and sports are excellent examples as well as they will get you out of your house independently of your spouse. For those already in that area, consider a trip to a new city alone where you can spend a couple of days doing everything that you want to do – food, activities, etc. – without having to please anyone else.

Maintain old friendships

In a marital relationship it is only natural that you and your significant other see your circles merge. This is fine, and healthy, as couples friends are an important part of life. One thing to remember though is that you had a life before you met your partner, one that included a friend group that was all of your own. While hanging out as a couple with those friends can still be fun, plan nights to hang out with just your own friends and go out separately. That way you will have more stuff to talk about the next day!

Learn to love yourself

Loving your partner can often be easier than loving yourself. Both aspects of this are vital for a healthy relationship. We are not talking narcissistic love, just a fundamental appreciation of who you are and what you bring to the table for your relationship. Taking care of yourself and your own needs is vital, but if you don’t love and respect yourself then it is easy to fall into a co-dependent trap where nothing you want is ever put first.

Article by Vital Guidance