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A new theory of love Not in any folder (DW#332)

Every once in a while, a book comes along that completely shifts our paradigms about certain concepts, and challenges long held beliefs and opinions. Love 2.0 by Barbara Fredrickson is one such book.

Barbara is one of the world’s leading positive psychologists. For the last two decades she has been exploring the science of positive emotions such as joy, gratitude, amusement, and hope. (Such a fun job, right?). In her latest book, Love 2.0, she outlines a new theory of love that is incredibly hopeful, optimistic and practical.

She writes:
". . . love is far more ubiquitous than you ever thought possible for the simple fact that love is connection. It’s that poignant stretching of your heart that you feel when you gaze into a newborn’s eyes for the first time or share a farewell hug with a dear friend. It’s even the fondness and sense of shared purpose you might unexpectedly feel with a group of strangers who’ve come together to marvel at a hatching of sea...

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Learn a new language (DW#331)

We spent last week talking about Dr. Gary Chapman’s love languages.

Did you recognize your own love language? And did you discover your spouse’s? (Hint: It is related to what you complain about the most!)

Can you now tell that the way your spouse is expressing love to you may not feel like love to you because it is in a "foreign language"?

Do you recognize that what each of you complains about missing in the relationship is a big clue to what love language is not being spoken? It is almost as if your love was being lost in translation.

Once you begin to recognize these things, here are two challenges for you, should you choose to accept them (which will have a dramatic impact on your relationship)

1) Challenge yourself to demonstrate love to your spouse in a language that feels natural to them and that they understand.
2) Help your spouse understand your love language and what you need and are requesting in order to feel loved.

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Actions speak louder than words (DW#329)

The fourth love language is acts of service.

If your love language is acts of service, you believe that actions speak louder than words and you show others you love them by doing things for them that make their lives easier.

You feel loved when others do things for you that make your life easier. You prefer that someone show you love by cleaning your car than by telling you that they love you.

If your spouse’s love language is acts of service, little things that you can do for them to make their life easier will mean a lot. A "honey-do list" is a request for being loved by taking care of household tasks!

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Wrap it up. (DW#328)

The third love language is receiving gifts.

If your love language is receiving gifts, you consider all gifts as tangible expressions of love from the other person. When you receive a gift, you know that the person was thinking of you and the gift is a symbol of that thought. It does not have to be expensive to satisfy you, of course. For you, it is the thought that counts. If your loved one has purchased, found or made something that is meaningful for you, it makes you feel loved.

If your loved one’s love language is receiving gifts, you do need to invest some effort, time and possibly some money in finding a gift that tells them that you know them and what is meaningful to them.

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Be here for me! (DW#327)

If your love language is quality time, you need the other to be present and available for you without distractions. You need time and attention from your loved one in order to feel loved.

Sharing meaningful conversation fills you up and doing things together increases the love that you have for the other. Your idea of a perfect evening is reading a relationship book together and discussing it.

If your spouse’s love language is quality time, please stop doing things for them and being so busy you don’t spend time with them.

Stop vacuuming and go sit on the sofa with them.

Seriously!

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Why do I need to say that I love you? (DW#326)

Last week, we started talking about the http://amzn.to/2ujhKy85 Love Languages. This week, we will explore them a little.

The first love language is Words of Affirmation.

If your love language is words of affirmation, you need to hear love and appreciation expressed. You need to be verbally encouraged and assured of another’s love. Seeing it in action is not enough for you. Hearing about the other’s love and appreciation for you makes it real.

If your loved one’s love language is words of affirmation, please don’t assume that they know you love them. They need to hear it.

Compliment them, appreciate them and let them hear you praise them in front of others.

Oh, and criticism from you really hurts. So please stop!

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What is your love language? (DW#325)

In a close relationship, have you ever felt that there is so much love between you but that the two of you just don’t "get" each other? That you are trying hard to express your love and the other just doesn’t get it? (and very often the other person feels exactly the same way . . .)

This is a common experience in intimate relationships and according to Dr. Gary Chapman, it is because the both of you are speaking different love languages.

He writes that it is possible for couples to love each other, but to feel unloved because they give and receive love differently, i.e. they don’t share the same primary emotional love language. After 30 years of marriage counselling, Chapman concluded that there are five (and only five) love languages, though there are many "dialects" within these 5 languages.

(In case you are skeptical, his book The Five Love Languages has been on the New York Times Best Seller list since August 2009)

So what are the love languages? They are words...

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Let’s talk about Love (DW#322)

It is that time of the year again. The time of the year when Hallmark and Facebook start talking about romantic love and force us to confront the reality of the state of our own unions.

Now, I realize that many of us are annoyed (even allergic!) to "Hallmark holidays" and consider them nothing more than ways for corporations to make money by forcing us to spend money on flowers, gifts and cards and thereby keep the wheels of capitalism turning.

But all the cynicism aside, it is not a bad idea to turn our attention to our relationships once in a while.

And February is as good a time to do this as any other.

So let's talk about love.

To begin the conversation, let’s reflect on what love means to us.
What does love mean to you? Take a moment and write down 5-10 things that come up when you think about the word "love".

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Completing the Last Year (DW#307)

According to a 2016 study published in the journal Memory, recalling memories can enhance our well-being and it is not only so-called positive memories that are beneficial.

The study showed that three types of memories bring about positive emotions:

A positive or happy memory: for positive memories, simply thinking about them is enough to make us happy in the present
Problem solving: Remembering a time when you successfully dealt with a challenge increases your self-esteem and sense of efficacy (the belief in yourself that you can do it)
Memories related to identity: An experience, even if challenging and painful, that shaped the person you are today.

Other studies have suggested that while it is enough to simply think about happy memories, when it comes to memories about overcoming adversity, it is better to communicate them by writing them down (or sharing them with someone) rather than just to think about them.

Coming back to our topic of laying the foundation for a successful...

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Never concede a point (how to start and continue a fight) (DW#304)

The difference between happy and miserable couples is not that the former don’t argue or fight. What keeps some couples happy is that they learn to make and accept repairs in the middle of an argument.

Couples who are high conflict and distressed on the other hand, never concede a point to their partner. One or both of them have the need to be right – often at the cost of the relationship.

If the couple under discussion learnt to concede a point to the other, here is what their conversation might sound like:

She: [Still calming down from the "you’re not firm enough" side-issue. Considers arguing with whether she needs to be "10% firmer," but thinks better of it.]
You’re right, I did say I’d keep things cleaner. I didn’t realize you only care about the living room. That’s doable. But I have to tell you, I want more respect about how I do discipline her, and how hard it is to be on top of her mess making all day.

Notice that this couple is...

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