Relationships are one of the most important aspects of our lives. As the saying goes, no man is an island. Whether it is just having a laugh or deeper spiritual support, relationships play an active role in keeping us hale and hearty. But they are challenging under the best of circumstances. Once the initial rosy period is over, be it friendships, familial relations, or romantic interests, relationships are always work-in-progress.
There are different ways to express yourself in a relationship, and everyone’s love language is different. We have put together a basic guide that you can adapt according to your love language to strengthen and nurture your relationship.
1. Expressing Support
Support is a basic requirement in any relationship. You may seek spiritual, emotional, financial, physical or any other support you require from your partner. To some people, offering support is instinctive; for others, it may require a little guidance.
When your partner seeks support from you, you can show it in a number of ways like verbally expressing enthusiasm and inspiration for their ideas and plans. You could also inspire them by working on your ideas. This could be especially useful for partners who learn by seeing someone showing the way instead of merely being offered words of wisdom. If you are challenged by an experience that seems bigger than both of you, you could show your support by signing up for a support group together.
You could send them daily texts or post-its of inspiration and encouragement. You could set aside time exclusively to listen to their ideas and offer feedback if they ask for it. If they are working flat out on a particular assignment, you could plan a takeaway dinner or lunch and offer a half-hour window in which they can open up about their progress.
All it takes to show support is to let your partner know that you are standing by them no matter the outcome. That they have a shoulder to lean on, someone to turn to when their days don’t feel right. It can also be quite significant to ask them how you can offer support.
If you don’t agree or are not enthusiastic about what they are saying to you, refrain from criticizing or making fun of what they are expressing. Sometimes, not saying anything is a better show of support than being too honest.
2. Expressing Love
Everyone expresses love differently. Some prefer words, others prefer touch.
If your partner prefers touch as a love language, express yourself through hugs, kisses, holding hands, or just a touch on the cheek. Do this often, and especially when they appear as though they could use physical contact to feel better.
If you are the one in the relationship who prefers touch as an expression of love, do not hesitate to convey your need for physical intimacy to your partner. They may need some guidance or strong hints in the beginning, but the more you show them what you like, the better they will get at it.
Physical intimacy can also be conveyed by just sitting close together for a few minutes every day. It’s up to you to either keep it simple or make a ritual out of it.
If you are not naturally inclined to touch as an expression of love, do not push away the other person or belittle their need for touch. Instead learn to accept what they offer, and who knows, you might pick up a couple of expressions yourself!
3. Offering Time
Often underestimated, but much appreciated, many people do not realize how much the other person would just like to know that you have a part of your day set aside for them, even if only for 5 minutes.
Creating time for the significant people in your life should be as easy as scheduling your day. Just a minute spent listening to another person can completely turn their day around for them. Do this as often as possible. Schedule mid-week lunches or plan for after-dinner walks. Call them on days when they have a big meeting and wish them luck even if you have already wished them in the morning.
It is about letting the other person know that their day is as important to you as is yours.
4. Offering Gifts
This is instinctive for most people, but rarely do people put any thought into it. With so much standardization in gifting these days, receiving a single flower with impromptu thoughts scribbled on a post-it note can be a refreshing change. Plan little surprises instead of waiting for the big day to offer an expensive one. Make them feel cherished and remembered on days when they least expect it. It is more about the effort than the cost or the grandness of the gesture.
Relationships are not built in a day; you need to invest in them and work towards customizing what fits each other’s ideas of love. It will take a bit of adjustment and negotiation, but you will find a language that suits individual needs that will allow you to have a meaningful and lasting relationship.