Valentine’s Day is defined by the Oxford Dictionary online as “a day when it is traditional to send a card, often anonymously, to a person one is romantically involved with or attracted to”.
Well, the volume of cards, chocolate boxes and red roses which will be sent this weekend would back up this definition, for sure. But amongst the commercial hype that this day brings, there is also the chance for us to reflect on our relationships and ask ourselves about how we are treating those whom we claim to love. Are we actively helping to maintain a healthy relationship? Are our words and behaviours affirming, encouraging and positive? These are all important questions to ask ourselves at any stage in a relationship – whether you’ve been together for 6 months or 40 years.
There’s no denying that relationships can be hard work, they require patience, time and grace. As Brené Brown, American scholar, author and Ted Fellow reminds us “love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them”.
At Restored, we want to encourage a culture of healthy relationships. This starts with reminding ourselves of how we and our partner are wired. We are all uniquely made and receive love in different ways – for some of us feeling appreciated by our partner could be being made a cup of tea at the end of a hard day, for others, words are powerful and we feel built up when we are reaffirmed. It’s important to know these traits in ourselves and our partner.
The Five Love Languages (a term first coined by Gary Chapman in 1995) outline the different ways in which one gives and receives love. They are: quality time, words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, or physical touch. Out of the five, there are usually one or two more dominant (or primary) love languages for each of us. Just like it’s important to understand the language that your partner speaks in order to communicate verbally, knowing your partner’s primary love language(s) is also important in order to communicate emotionally with them and for them to feel valued.
Our challenge for you is to take the test here to identify your own love languages, and to encourage your partner (or your friends and family) to do the same.