In a previous blog, we explored the concept of love languages and how seeking to understand both our own and our partners’ individual love languages can help us develop more meaningful relationships. Love isn’t always just expressed in grand romantic gestures but rather can manifest in many unique ways on a daily basis. Most of these come instinctively through small gestures which are often overlooked in the hustle and bustle of life. Making a conscious effort to acknowledge these thoughtful moments can go a long way to understanding and appreciating the ways you and your partners receive and express love.
Below are a few simple yet profound expressions of love that we either overlook or take for granted- I encourage you to reflect and explore what you and your partner’s unique love languages are.
- Genuinely getting to know someone. Expressing a sincere curiosity and interest in trying to understand who you are deep down is a love language. Going beyond the superficial and asking deep, probing questions that explore one’s perspectives, interests, philosophy, what makes them tick and so on can be a way for you and your partner to form a deeper emotional connection. This may be a dominant love language in the early stages of a relationship but continues to be an important one to uphold as people mature and evolve over time.
- Practicing vulnerability. Expressing vulnerability doesn’t always come easily or naturally to many people. It is a privilege that is only extended to those who create a sense of safety, trust and comfort that allows for the sharing of one’s fears, flaws, worries, and doubts without shame. Taking this emotional risk can be a powerful love language that not only allows your partner to see you in your most authentic self, but in turn can help couples bond on a more meaningful level.
- Showing accountability. Accountability in relationships is about taking responsibility for one’s actions and understanding how it impacts your partner and your relationship. Couples thrive when both partners are willing and able to do the hard work and own up to their roles and responsibilities in the relationship, acknowledge their mistakes and actively make amends to strengthen the relationship. This can be in the form of sincerely apologizing when wrong, taking responsibility instead of deflecting or initiating the difficult conversations instead of avoiding them.
- Being consistent. Going hand-in-hand with accountability is consistency. Positive change only starts to improve the relationship when it is sustained over time. People crave stability in relationships, and being consistent in your efforts to nurture your relationship, grow and learn with your partner as you navigate different phases and challenges of life can create a lasting sense of trust and dependability.
- Embracing individuality. Couples in long-term relationships can sometimes start to feel their identities blending into one common unit especially when most of their time is spent in shared activities and interests. While it is important to have some common ground, it can be equally important to accept each other as they are and to support their unique interests and identities. Allowing yourself and your loved one the room to express a sense of individuality and celebrating their successes on their own personal journey of growth can ultimately strengthen the relationship.