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How the 5 Love Languages Help Strengthen Your Relationship

How the 5 Love Languages Help Strengthen Your Relationship

You may have been hearing “The 5 Love Languages” buzz around the internet for the last couple of years. But really, what are the love languages.

Everyone gives and receives love in different ways. So, the goal of this article is to help couples gain a deeper understanding of what are the love languages and their differences and boost communication.

The love language test applies for couples or for singles who want to understand what are the love languages they need from a relationship. The test also applies to men who want to succeed in life, for children and teens, and even for those in military service who face unique relationship challenges.

So what are the 5 love languages, and what’s the point in finding out more about them?

What Are the 5 Love Languages?

1. Words of Affirmation

You need to hear your partner express their love for you verbally. This can include romantic affections, expressions of appreciation, and simple manners.

2. Acts of Service

Having your partner help you out around the house or do something to make your day a little easier (like making you breakfast or shoveling the snowy walkway) means more to you than a bouquet of flowers ever could.

3. Receiving Gifts

Don’t mistake receiving gifts with being spoiled! This only means that you feel the most loved when your spouse surprises you with a gift that lets you know they were thinking about you.

4. Quality Time

You need to spend time with your spouse doing something that doesn’t involve watching television or playing on your phone. You receive love when you get undivided attention from your spouse.

5. Physical Touch

You receive love when you are hugging, kissing, caressing, holding hands, and being sexually intimate with your partner. It connects and refreshes you in a way that nothing else can.

Why We Need the 5 Love Languages

Imagine this:

A husband showers his wife with gifts and quality time, but she continues to tell him that she doesn’t feel loved.

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Why does she feel this way? The husband comes to discover that his wife’s love language is “acts of service.” She is feeling burnt out with work, raising children, and tending to the house.

The husband had great intentions with his gifts, but what his wife really needed was some help around the house.

Similarly, a wife who’s love language is “physical touch” may regularly be affectionate and intimate with her husband several times a week. So, when he tells her he is feeling unappreciated, she is beyond surprised.

What else can she possibly do to make him feel special? After taking the what are the love languages quiz, she realizes that his love language is “words of affirmation.” So, while sex is a great way to connect as a couple, what he needs from her is a verbal assurance of love or admiration.

This is how not knowing what your spouse’s love language is can affect your relationship.

Can the Love Languages Improve Your Relationship?

We all like to think we know our partner better than anyone else, but sometimes we only see what we want to see. This is where learning the 5 Love Languages comes in so handy.

Learning what are the love languages, how they give, and prefer to receive love enhances our relationship with our partner. Also, we develop a deeper understanding of what their needs really are – not what we assume they are.

Here are just some of the ways that learning your spouse’s love language can strengthen your relationship.

How to Strengthen Your Relationship with the Love Languages

1. Communicate with Your Partner

If you’ve ever gotten relationship advice from any long-married friends or family, you have probably heard the age-old adage, good communication is the key!

Communication is the key to conflict resolution, a happy marriage and a great foundation for a relationship.

A study published by the Journal of  Marriage and Family reports that couples who communicate are more satisfied with their relationship.[1] The research also suggests that couples are more positive and exhibit less negative behavior with one another, regardless of gender.

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Tips for great communication includes:

  • Making a habit of daily conversations
  • Not interrupting your partner when they are speaking
  • Actively listening
  • Removing distractions (cell phones, television blaring in the background, etc.) from your conversations
  • Being calm and respectful when voicing opinions
  • Looking at things from your partner’s perspective
  • Compromising
  • Not assuming you know everything about your spouse
  • Talking often about things both big and small
  • Not only does better communication do away with unnecessary arguments and deepen marital friendship, but it can also do wonders for your sex life.

Studies show that communicating about your intimate needs boosts overall relationship sexual satisfaction, quality, and results in increased orgasm frequency in females.

When you learn what are the love languages of your partner, you understand how to communicate with them on a much deeper level than you ever knew possible. After all, now you’re ‘speaking their language.’

2. Learn How to Empathize

What is empathy? Simply put, you can put yourself in your spouse’s shoes. When they’re stressed, you can sympathize. And when they’re happy, you’re ecstatic!

On the other hand, whenever the people around you are sad, you feel distressed. Do you see the pattern here?

Empathy is understanding someone else’s feelings. Having empathy is a great quality in a relationship, but not everyone is born with the magnetic ability to sympathize with others.

Learning what the love languages of your partner are will help you develop a deeper understanding of how they think, feel, and respond to things.

For example, you may not think anything of being off the grid with your spouse during the day (no calls, texts, or video chats).

Let’s say, you are off the grid for the day while you’re at work or out with your friends. And then, you didn’t call your wife, text her, or video chat. When you got home, she’s upset.

But why?

She knows you love her and you’re not a guy who likes to be on his phone while he’s out with other people. So, what’s the big deal? Why is she overreacting over nothing?

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After taking the Love Language test, you find out that your wife responds highest to words of affirmation and quality time. Then her actions and how she feels will start to make sense.

She’s not mad because she is trying to be the nasty wife who’s wrecking your guy’s night. She’s upset because hearing from you, even if only for a couple of minutes, is what makes her feel loved.

By learning what the love languages of your partner are, you can better understand and empathize with how they feel and why they act or react to certain things the way they do.

3. Express Affection in a Way That Matters

One study examined 295 college students, 195 females and 100 males, to see how physical affection affected a relationship.[2]

The physical affection mentioned included holding hands, kissing, caressing, giving or receiving massages, and cuddling.

The research, published by The American Journal of Family Therapy, found that:[3]

“(Romantic physical affection) is found to be highly correlated with relationship and partner satisfaction.”

Interestingly, the study also posits that the more physical affection a couple has, the better their conflict resolution skills were.

If you spend plenty of quality time with your husband and he still seems distant, it may be because his love language is physical touch.

Consider this: he isn’t vying for sex all the time just because it feels great, he’s doing it because it’s how he connects to you.

Once you learn your spouse’s love language, you can express your feelings in the ways that will matter the most to them. And, you will argue less.

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4. Connect on a Deeper Level

We spend so much of our time in relationships wondering what the other person is thinking, and this often leads to arguments and misunderstandings. The inability to talk to your spouse about both the important and the silly things in life leads to relationship devastation.

Don’t believe me? In a survey of 886 divorcing individuals, a whopping 55% cited being unable to communicate as the downfall of their relationship.[4]

When couples learn how each partner expresses themselves, it improves communication. In turn, this gives each person the courage to speak up about relationship-issues before they spiral into resentment. In turn, it leads to an improved friendship between you and your partner.

Romance is great, but it isn’t everything in a relationship. There’s something to be said for having a deep friendship with the one you love. When you learn your spouse’s love language, you start to connect on a deeper level – romantically and otherwise.

This is good news for you because research published in the Journal of Happiness Studies found that couples who view one another as their best friend double their marital happiness.[5]

As researchers Shawn Grover and John F. Helliwell explain,[6]

“We explore the role of friendship within marriage, finding that in our United Kingdom data the well-being benefits of marriage are much greater for those who also regard their spouse as their best friend.”

Final Thoughts

Now that you know your partner’s love language, you will be able to express your affection in a powerful new way.

In return, your spouse now knows exactly what you need to feel loved and appreciated in your relationship.

With these news lines of communication open, you and your spouse can conquer any problem and strengthen your relationship against whatever comes your way.[7]

What do you have to lose? Sit down with your spouse and take the 5 Love Languages test and find out the language of your hearts.

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Learning what are the love languages your spouse or partner have will help you communicate better, not take things so personally, to better empathize, master conflict resolution, improve your romantic friendship, and become more observant in your relationship.

More Tips to Help Improve Relationships

Featured photo credit: Vince Fleming via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Sylvia Smith

Sylvia is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt its principles in their relationships.

How To Resolve Relationship Conflicts without Hurting Each Other How to Leave a Toxic Relationship When You Still Love Your Partner How to Overcome Jealousy in a Relationship How to Stop Nagging And Communicate With Your Partner Better 6 Reasons Why You Should Not Give Up on Love

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Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

More Tips Improving Listening Skills

Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

Reference

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