With Valentine's Day just around the corner it is a reminder to how much attention society places on love. We all want it and we all need it. Renown researcher on relationships, Dr. Sue Johnson, declared that forming deep, loving attachment bonds is necessary for our emotional, mental, and physical health. But what do we really know about love?
Most of us think of that first attraction which we call “in love” when we define love. Those warm, excited feelings, the goose bumps, that sense of acceptance, the excitement of the touch and the longing to be together. That is a piece of love. Dr. Gary Chapman calls those the tingles and through his research has shown that in two years those feelings start to fade unless people put some effort into understanding their partner and learn his/her unique love language.
To understand love means to understand that we are all unique. We all have had different life experiences, the families we are raised in were not the same as our friends, we each enjoy diverse activities and each of those things have shaped us. They have also shaped how we feel love.
When we enter a relationship, we assume the person we love is the same as us. That they will feel love the same way we feel love. So, if you really appreciate someone doing chores for you, you will constantly do chores for your partner. If they don’t acknowledge it, then you start to feel unappreciated. On the other side your partner feels love by spending quality time with you and you are always doing chores for them, then they start to feel unappreciated. The love starts to lose its tingles and you each start to wonder if you really are in love and if you are with the right person.
Love takes work. It starts with listening to your partner, finding out what makes them have the tingles. If is gifts, affirmation, time, acts, or touch? Its also helping your partner understand your how you feel love. Let them know what they do to make you feel treasured and let them know how much it means to you. It does not have to be February to spread that love around. Make it a regular occurrence to share how you felt love from your partner each week. Then watch the love grown between you.
I appreciate how much you want your relationships to work but sometimes they just hurt. I work with couples everyday to help them fall in love again. If you are having doubts about your relationship or you feel unappreciated it's time to ask for help.
Trish Pauls, MA RP