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

Finding Peace In An Out-of-Control World

Recently I was speaking with a widowed woman in her eighties. She has been through many challenging times in her life. Most recently, losing her best friend to a fatal illness, her only adult son is dealing with a drug addiction taking over his life, and she is going through all of this without the companionship and love of her late husband.

You would think a woman in this situation would be overly bitter, frustrated, or even depressed. When I was speaking with her, all I could hear was peace and joy in her voice. It was not the kind of peace that comes from enjoying a nice vacation or relaxing with a hot cup of coffee. It was a peace that circumvented circumstances – The unshakable rock in the middle of a major storm. As I listened to her, all I could think was, “how can I live with peace like this?”

The understatement of the year is, “These are turbulent times.” We all deal with challenges, but many world events are adding significant stress and fear to our lives. Whether we know it or not, we are all looking for ways to find comfort and peace. Do I find peace in a politician or policy? Will I find peace if my portfolio increases in value? Will I find peace if I get that new job or career, or getting a job at all? Will I find peace in my achievements at school, work, or in my community? Will I find peace in the comforts of life? Will I find peace in the love of my family?

The truth is all of these things are great, but at some point, they will let you down. How do we gain the type of peace that circumvents circumstances? It is not reliant on how well our life is going, our status, or our possessions. The Bible says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (New International Version, Philippians 4:4-7).

Focus on some of the keywords in this passage: rejoice, always, rejoice, gentleness, prayer, petition, thanksgiving, peace, and Christ Jesus. It is evident what the Apostle Paul was trying to get across here. The world is an anxious place, and it was even more so in those times. Think about what Paul and the early Christians were going through in this context. Many of them were being persecuted for their faith, even to the point of death. Paul himself was thrown into prison, stripped, beaten, and flogged during his first visit to Philippi (Acts 16:20-24).

Where did Paul’s peace come from? Where did that woman’s peace come from? It is not peace in circumstances, people, or things. It is a peace that transcends understanding. It is a peace that comes only from believing and trusting in Jesus Christ.

Many people think of God as a far-off being looking down at us and waiting to judge us for messing up. Jesus came down from heaven in the form of His creation to take the place of judgment. While on earth, He experienced pain, suffering, ridicule, poverty, and injustice that we cannot fathom.

Jesus loved us so much, even to the point of death. He did this willingly so we could have the chance to have a relationship with Him and experience indescribable joy and peace. All we must do is trust in Him and know He is in control.

It is ok to cry out to God and give Him all your cares. “Cast all of your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) When the world around you feels like it is spinning out of control, let Jesus be your “Solid Rock.”


Richard Foster, Life Management Advisor at 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

Top 10 Family Fun Ideas For Summer 2020

Some parts of the country are already done with school for the year. Others will follow suit in short order. Memorial Day marks the start of the summer in much of the country – especially in the Midwest – so families are now working on the changeover from a Covid-19 interrupted school year into a Covid-19 interrupted summer vacation.

This is a summer that is going to require a lot of vital guidance and help both from parents to kids and kids to parents. Many summer vacations – especially those that would have taken families out of the country – have had to be postponed or cancelled because there are no flights. This summer is going to be one where it is what you make of it.

To help with the boredom – and the problems of finding things to do – here are 10 ideas that could be the start (or the entirety) of a Summer 2020 bucket list to give you the vital help you need in finding things to do (mostly) at home:

  1. Backyard Camping:  A classic for a reason. This is a great way to bond with your children outdoors, yet in the comfort of your own backyard. Modify to an indoor tent if you don’t have any yard space.
  1. Cook Together:  Teaching kids how to cook is an essential life skill. This summer, show them how to cook fresh ingredients and have them pick out recipes they want to try to get them eating new things.
  1. A Sidewalk Chalk Gallery:  Have kids on the same street or in a neighborhood draw their very best pieces of sidewalk chalk art. Then – while distancing – walk with the kids around the neighborhood and find out what they like about each piece of art.
  1. Fly a kite:  There is a reason that it feels a little bit like the 1950s right now. Jump into that nostalgia run and teach your kid the simple joys of flying a kite. The bonus here is that there are huge kite festivals in the US every year, so in 2021 aim to visit one of those if you both develop a passion for catching the wind.
  1. Backyard Movie Night:  Drive-in theatres are always fun, so recreate that magic in your own backyard. All you really need is a projector, a white sheet/wall, and a DVD player/speakers. Add in popcorn and some old fashioned sodas for a throwback evening of entertainment.
  1. Make S’mores:  S’mores are an American classic, but you would be shocked how many kids don’t even know what they are. Get a fire pit going in the backyard and show them with vital guidance what they have been missing out on with the gooey marshmallow treats.
  1. Create a nature garden:  This can be as simple as planting a few flowers that are known to attract butterflies or as technical as buying (or even making) a birdbath or squirrel feeders. Make sure to go to the nature garden at various times of day – and look under the rocks – to see what the kids can find.
  1. A Virtual Summer Camp:  Sure. It is not the same as going to an actual camp, but there are many programs out there setting up virtual camps to entertain and educate kids this summer. DIY Summer Camp and Camp Wonderopolis are just two examples of this trend.
  1. Water Games:  Be it a Slip ‘N Slide, an above ground pool, a water balloon fight, or running through the sprinklers, the summer demands water. As having friends over might not be an option, dial back the years and become a kid again by joining in with the fun.
  1. Bike Ride and Picnic:  This is going to be the best summer yet to spend time doing nothing while exploring the outdoors. Pack up a picnic lunch and burn the energy for your meal by biking to and from a park or other socially distant space to eat.


Article by Vital Guidance

Kids Need Your Vital Guidance During & After Pandemic

Good mental health is a struggle for all of us during the Covid-19 lock down. We have all lost things we love to do – be that simply going for a drink with friends or playing sports competitively – and that disruption to the norm is taking its toll on how people are able to get through their days. While this is an issue for people of all ages, it is children that really need the best vital guidance that you can give at this point as we continue to navigate through uncharted waters in life.

While adults are – for the most part – fully emotionally and mentally developed, the same cannot be said for your children. Overnight our kids were expected to be able to adjust from thinking about the next sporting event they would play in or the next play date they would go on, to being in a lock down situation with no idea when they would be able to see their friends again.

While this is mitigated somewhat by technology, just imagine where we would be as a global society if this had happened 20 years ago. Face-timing a friend isn’t the same as being able to go to the mall or the movies. This pandemic is stripping kids – specifically tweens and teenagers – of emotional development that they will need to be able to grow in a post-pandemic world.

The good news is that with the right vital guidance most kids will turn out alright. This is the view of most economists and psychologists on the subject – despite their data sets being limited at this point. The best thing you can do as a parent during this time is to give your child a safe, stress free, and stable environment to live in. Young kids will bounce back quicker – they will feel less pressure and stress from the situation – and encouraging interaction without being pushy is a really important parenting technique to master if your child starts to seem withdrawn.

Tighter finances, food shortages, and job losses are all stressful. Those vulnerable families are the ones that are likely to see their children become more withdrawn – for any number of reasons – and as such they are the families that will rely on vital guidance both now and after the pandemic,

Kids are resilient by nature and most will find a way to adapt and roll with the punches. Just try to be a little extra aware at the moment – even with the pressures put on you as a parent during this time – of exactly how your kids are doing and what state their mental health is in.

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

Online Dating Helps Relationships During Social Distancing

Dating isn’t easy at the best of times. With COVID-19 doing its best to ruin every aspect of our life, these are not the best of times for dating. However, people in the dating pool are still seeking contact with others and the ability to build vital relationships even in these weird times in which we presently live.

That is why dating – along with pretty much every other aspect of life – has been taken online.

For those in a fledgling relationship this is an interesting period. The key is to feel connected to someone without the obvious connection that many of us have in our lives: physical touch and intimacy. Instead, take the dating in a new direction.

Face timing will obviously be important, but to build a vital relationship that can last for the long haul there has to be more than just sitting around and chatting while staring into each other’s eyes. The key to building a relationship is to take the things you like to do when you are together and to find a way to implement them online. This can be something as simple as watching a new TV show together or doing a crossword online, all the way through to learning a new language at the same time or coordinating and teaching each other new skills.

These days, just about anything you could do around home in person you can do online – that is the beauty of our modern world – so take this time of social distancing to allow your dating relationship to breathe and learn a little more about what makes each other tick.

Also be aware that the social anxiety and stress levels of your date may be through the roof right now. If they don’t want to engage in a special way online or through social media, then make sure that you understand this. As long as there is contact and interest in pursuing a relationship you have nothing to be worried about and by being too aggressive in this time where everyone requires a little soft handling is an easy – but potentially relationship ending – mistake to make.

The key to dating under lockdown – be it a first date or a 100th date – is communication. Without understanding the needs of each other at this time then a relationship will go nowhere. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there at this time and just imagine how much fun it will be to meet or see the person again in real life when all this is over.

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

Tips For A Healthy Relationship With Your Spouse

It is easy to be in a relationship but it can be difficult to keep it healthy.  Making things more complex than they ought to be can easily occur.   Often times, Eros is not enough to prevent a relationship from getting unhealthy.

According to Readers Digest, 57 percent of people in unhappy relationships still are powerfully attracted to their partner. It is vital to realize that “love” is just one ingredient in a delicious broth.

Show affection constantly

You can’t love just in your mind. You have to show it tangibly in a language your partner can understand. Physical affection like kissing, holding hands and gentle rubs help to reduce stress, heightens mood and is directly proportional to relationship satisfaction.


Play has always been key to forming a bond.  That’s why our childhood friends can be some of our best friends.   Relationships are nurtured by the connection procured from play. If your partner is not used to this, a little guidance is all it takes. It allows the couple to see each other at their best, their freest. Find fun activities you both can enjoy and infuse some wellness into the relationship. You’ll find novel ways to express yourselves and communicate.


The city of love has its laws. There are sacrifices you must make to keep it amazing. Some people play it cautiously and decline opportunities to sacrifice. This is because they forget that without pain, there is no gain. Hence, you have to go through a little pain to make your relationship healthier. Time alone, privacy, the need to have the last say are some of the things you will have to compromise on.

Be respectful

Just because you submit sometimes doesn’t mean that you are a doormat. Respect is the act of choosing to trust and have faith in your partner’s judgement, even though you might not agree with their decision. Being attentive, speaking kindly, just accepting are ways you can show that you love them for who they are. This is wonderful for prolonging health in a relationship.

Use actions to express affection

When you make someone feel like the light in your life, it lights up your life. It keeps the flame of the relationship glowing. Words are nice but actions on top make relationships intensely delicious. Do her laundry, buy her some flowers or take him out to his favourite restaurant.

Stay faithful

There’s almost nothing that cuts a relationship like infidelity. When you cheat on a spouse you desecrate a deep part of the sexual relationship.  When you allow someone else access to a type of intimacy agreed to only be shared by you and your spouse, you break a deeply-held contract. This loss of trust can put your spouse in constant suspicion of you and inability to connect due to resentment and contempt. It’s possible to heal the wound of infidelity but the relationship can never be the same.

Article by Vital Guidance

Improve Health With Good Family Relationships

It is common knowledge that good relationships with family are important to overall health and happiness. Thanks to a new study, we may actually have evidence that those relationships are much more vital in keeping us healthy than we knew before.

A recently published study in the Journal of Family Psychology took a wide ranging approach to nailing down the importance of extended family in keeping us healthy. The study looked at nearly 3,000 people – a large case study for such a project – between 1995 and 2014. The average age of the group was close to 45-years-old at the first collection metric.

The study had the group, at three points during that time period, rate the quality of their interactions with their partner and their extended family. The researchers then compared that information with the respondent’s chronic conditions that they had, things ranging in severity from headaches to strokes.

The study then asked a number of questions to ascertain where that person was in life with the vital relationships that were closest to them. Questions in the study were based around their family and love life such as: “Not including your spouse or partner, how often do members of your family criticize you? How much can you rely on your family for help if you have a serious problem?”

The two findings of the study were that people who were suffering from issues within their family and/or extended family tended to have much worse health at that specific time than those people who were getting along well with their family. The study also found – perhaps surprisingly – that there was little to no correlation between people who were struggling with their spouse and health issues.

The result with family came as a shock to no one involved in the study or involved in the psychology of health vs. family relationships.  Lead author Sarah Woods points out that family is for life, while more and more intimate relationships are seen as something that can be transitional in nature. This is a modern take, with people waiting longer to be married and being content on their own perhaps being a reason why the health issues were not seen in people having trouble with their intimate partner.

One thing this should teach everyone is the vital relationship between family and health. Happy, caring families – all the way down to grandparents and cousins – give a person a basis and stability for life. Keep your loved ones close, take care of family, and live a healthier life in the process.

Article by Vital Guidance