March 27, 2023
4 min read
A committed romantic relationship or marriage is one of the core life projects. You might be planning to spend decades with your partner, and even one tiny good habit can have a significant positive impact. So let's take one of the most popular books in the relationships category - "The 5 Love Languages," and find practical ideas or principles for improving our long-term relationships.
The core idea of the book is that we must learn our partner's primary love language to make them feel truly loved. At the beginning of a relationship, we are in an "in love" stage where we don't have to do much work to feel good. Yet, the problem is it will only last one or two years, and after that, we should transition into a "true love" stage by filling our partner's love tank by communicating our feelings through their love languages.
The first love language is words of affirmation, which includes verbal compliments, words of appreciation, or encouraging words. An easy habit here would be a daily compliment or words of appreciation for your partner. If you don't feel comfortable giving compliments, take it seriously and start tracking it as a habit until these good verbal expressions become natural. Another practical thing is encouraging words. We all have insecurities, and uplifting your partner at the right time could be of great value. Encouragement requires empathy and seeing the world from your partner’s perspective, so it is hard without knowing what is important to them, and that's where the second love language comes in.
Quality time is one of the most reasonable love languages because what is the point of relationships if we don't want to spend quality time with our partner? Also, it is one of the most impactful ones. Without spending enough time together, we'll fail to build deep friendships, and other love languages will be less effective. The easiest habit to implement here would be a shared session of reviewing the day, recognizing what you liked or didn't like and how you felt throughout the day while paying attention to your partner. Then you can extend the love language by having walks or exercise together, enjoying shared hobbies, having trips without taking your partner for granted, and treating those activities like dates.
The third love language is receiving gifts. It doesn't have to be anything fancy or expensive, and it could be more of a symbol of appreciation. Your partner will hold it in their hand and be grateful that you care and think of them. An easy habit would be giving a gift once per week, month, or even year, depending on how much of a love language it is for your partner. Also, being there when your spouse needs you speaks loudly to the one whose primary love language is receiving gifts.
A fourth love language is an act of service, basically doing things for your partner. It usually comes down to domestic tasks, like cooking or cleaning, and if those actions come from the right place, they are indeed expressions of love. The obvious practical thing here is to be aware of requests your partner makes for you most often and help with those shores.
The final love language is a physical touch. It's not limited to sexual intercourse and includes things like holding hands, kissing, or embracing. While there are habits to touch your partner more often, we might better invest in having more quality time together since touch will come out naturally as a side effect of togetherness.
We all have different primary love languages, and if you've spent enough time with your partner present, you know which expression of love will have more effect. We can also do all five languages and then tune down the less impactful ones while amplifying the ones that resonate the most.