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Let’s cuddle (DW#330)

The fifth and final love language is physical touch. If your love language is physical touch, you feel love when the other is physically close to you. You crave physical affection and the best thing someone can do for you is hug you.

If your spouse’s love language is physical touch, please don’t skimp on the cuddles and the hand-holding.

When they are upset or emotional, don’t leave them alone because physical distance from you feels like abandonment to them. Being held will comfort them more than your words (or advice!) can.

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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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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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Share your understanding of Love (DW#324)

Once you have compared your lists of what love means to you, please don’t stop there.

Use your lists to connect with your loved one.

Share your understanding of love. (Without trying to change the other person, okay?) What do the words mean to you? What significance do they have?

Great follow up questions are: How do you feel loved? What is most important in a relationship? How can I support that?

Questions such as these help you to get to know each other, they deepen the bond between you and they prevent the differences in views from becoming stumbling blocks to connection.

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What's your take on Love? (DW#323)

Did you jot down a few words about what love means to you? (If not, please take 30 seconds to do that right now)

Now, have your spouse or significant other do the same. You can do this exercise with your children, or friends as well.

And then compare your lists.

Are there any words in common when you compare your lists? How many?

If you are like the vast majority of people, your lists will look more different than similar.

Are you surprised?

Most couples are surprised when they do this exercise. And sometimes they begin to think that this means that there is something wrong with their relationship…

But this is far from true. We develop our ideas about love and what it means throughout life with influences from various sources, family, friends, life experiences, media and our own way of thinking.

There is no problem in thinking differently about love. It can only become an issue in our relationships if we believe it is the ONLY way and the only RIGHT way to think about it.

Oh,...

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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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A fixed mindset versus a growth mindset (DW#308)

A big difference between people who set goals and those who don’t is the mindset around growth and change.

Carol Dweck, author of Mindset and one of the leading researchers in the field of motivation, differentiates between a "fixed mindset" versus a "growth mindset".

With a fixed mindset, people believe that they either have what it takes or they don’t. They are not open to trying new things, accepting challenging opportunities or learning new things. They resist change because they simply don’t believe it is possible. Failure to them is a sign that they don’t have what it takes so they do not try things which they might not succeed at.

People with a growth mindset on the other hand, embrace challenging opportunities because they believe that they can only reach their highest potential by consistently challenging themselves and playing outside their comfort zone. They believe that failure is a necessary to learning and growing.

Here is what she says about...

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Make demands and threats (how to start and continue a fight) (DW#303)

When things get heated up, it is tempting to make demands from, and threats to, the other person.

When the husband demands Leave my family out of this! The wife is more likely to focus on the threat to her autonomy from this demand and it is very likely to divert attention from the topic at hand.

Similarly, when we make threats, empty or real, (Or I’ve about had it!) it sends the other person into defense mode, their thinking brain shuts down and they are actually incapable of hearing the underlying message or need.

What could this couple do instead?

If they were mindful of their communication, their reactions and the words that they spoke, here is what the conservation might sound like.

He: [Wants to fire back but has learned that the impulse to do so is actually a kind of big, flashing warning in his mind to PAUSE AND BUY SOME TIME until he has calmed down] Hmmm. Let me think about that for a minute. [Discreetly takes a few big breaths. Thinks about whether he’s gone...

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