Quick, do you have a relationship in your life that is harder to navigate than it should be? The answer is yes…unless you have given up on all relationships.
When the “hard” relationship is with someone we rarely encounter (or let’s be honest someone we don’t care much about) we often dismiss them. We quietly tolerate them for our brief encounters and move them to ignore as soon as we can.
What happens when your “hard” relationship is with someone you are around all the time?
What if it is a family member or formerly close friend? Do you feel like you are losing connection with your child? What if it is your spouse?
The better question is: What do you do with a harder than it should be relationship when you are not willing to give up the relationship?
I am no relationship genius. I do know the quality of EVERY relationship moves in direct proportion with the quality of communication.
When you speak the same language and are mutually able to express feelings and gain assurance feelings are understood, the relationship is better.
The quality of EVERY relationship moves in direct proportion with the quality of communication.
Some of the most pivotal moments in history were determined by the quality of communication (or lack of communication).
Did you know the Byzantine Empire would have likely lasted longer with better communication? When Constantinople fell in 1453 to the Turks it was because a guard never got the word to check all the city gates. One was left unlocked! The Turks simply went through the unlocked gate and the city fell.
During the Revolutionary War in 1776, Washington snuck his army across the Delaware and took the town of Trenton. A major turning point in the war. The general defending Trenton was given a note by a farmer that night telling him an attack was coming. He put it in his pocket and never read it, he was too busy celebrating.
He died with the note still in his pocket.
Okay, maybe the history of nations and empires won’t turn on your communication or lack of communication but it matters in your world.
You want better relationships? Learn to communicate better. You want "too hard" relationships to be easier? Learn to speak the right language.
If you do this you will find parenting, being married, being a co-worker, all become easier. These relationships will be less of a drain and more of an energizing experience for you both.
You have likely heard of the 5 Love Languages. They come from a book by the same name authored by Gary Chapman. The 5 Love Languages
Here is the thing…If you figure out someone else’s primary love language and learn to speak it, the relationship changes. Great relationships become incredible, good relationships move to great and “too hard” relationships become easier.
One of the reasons a relationship becomes harder than it should be is miscommunication. The other person gives and receives love differently than you do and you miss each other.
When you learn to speak each other’s primary language you both feel loved and appreciated and the relationship is better.
The languages are easy to understand and simple to speak. The hardest part may be the diagnosis. Check out these video descriptions for a deep dive.
Here is a summary with ready to use tips for the five languages.
1. Words of Affirmation - For some, words have the power to uplift and strengthen their emotional bonds. For those whose primary love language is "Words of Affirmation," verbal expressions of love and appreciation hold significant value. Compliments, encouraging words, and heartfelt appreciation can work wonders in making them feel cherished and valued.
Tip: Leave your loved one a heartfelt note or text to brighten their day and remind them of your love and admiration.
2. Acts of Service - Actions speak louder than words for those whose primary love language is "Acts of Service." They feel most loved when someone takes care of tasks, runs errands, or offers help without being asked. Service is interpreted as willingness to invest time and effort to make their life easier and happier.
Tip: Surprise them by taking over a chore they dislike or prepare a special meal to show your love and support.
3. Receiving Gifts - For some, tangible symbols of love are the key to feeling cherished. "Receiving Gifts" doesn't necessarily mean they are materialistic. Instead, the thought and effort behind the gift holds the significance. It represents you were thinking of them and wanted to make them feel special.
Tip: Gifts don't have to be extravagant; they can be simple and meaningful, such as a book they've been wanting to read or a small trinket that holds sentimental value.
4. Quality Time - "Quality Time" is a love language that centers on undivided attention and meaningful connections. For individuals who prioritize this love language, spending quality time together—engaging in deep conversations, shared activities, or simply being present—is the ultimate expression of love.
Tip: Plan a date night, a fun Saturday, or a weekend getaway to create memories and strengthen your bond.
5. Physical Touch - The love language of "Physical Touch" emphasizes the power of physical connection in expressing love and care. Holding hands, hugging, cuddling, and meaningful touches can deeply resonate with individuals who value this love language.
Tip: Offer your partner a comforting embrace after a long day, and remember that non-sexual physical touch is important in expressing love.
Which of the five languages is your go to? When do you most feel loved and how do you try to express love. That is your language.
What about the other person in the "this shouldn't be this hard" relationship? What is their language?
If you are like me and not great at figuring out your own emotions and motivations much less other people’s; there is good news.
Use this simple quiz (free from the author) to find out your love language. Even better get the person in the “harder than it should be“ relationships to take it as well.
Now you know how to communicate better…so do it. Make the relationship better.
PS: Disclaimer. I don't work for, or get anything from Gary Chapman or 5 Love Languages. I have just found them helpful in every one of my relationships and I hope they help you too!
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