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  • Writer's pictureDr. Annie

Relationship stress? This will help.

I wish I would have realized what I'm going to tell you today sooner, because it would have helped me in every single relationship that I have to reduce stress and anxiety.

We’re going to talk about the five love languages. And maybe you've heard about them. I am talking about the five love languages, not just in romantic relationships, which is what Gary Chapman, the author wrote his book about.

I'm talking about it in all relationships and let's zip really quickly through the love languages in case you haven't heard of them. And then we'll get into the nitty-gritty.

One is quality time. So the people whose love language is quality time like it when others spend uninterrupted time with them. It's no phone calls, no texts. You go out of your way to schedule special time with them.

Acts of service is the people who do things for other people. This can be anything from making dinner, having a party, getting the car washed, running an errand, watching their kids, etc.

It’s also important to note that someone's Love Language is also how they “hear” love from you. For this one, it’s when people do the acts of service for them. It can be something just to lighten their load that day. It can be bringing them dinner.

Words of affirmation is the third one. With words of affirmation, it’s saying I love you, but it's also giving compliments and praise. It's, Hey, I noticed that you did this and good job, or I'm really, really grateful that you did that for me.

The fourth is gifts which may seem obvious, but gifts is not necessarily about spending money. It's the idea behind it and the thought attached to it. So the person, every time they look at whatever you gave them, they'll think about how much you love or care about them, because that gift demonstrates that to them.

And then there's physical touch which it's giving a hug or holding a hand and in intimate relationships, it could be sex and Public Displays of Affection, that kind of thing.

I'm going to tell you how this information changed the way I perceive others in relationship and how it brought down the stress and anxiety in relationships. My dad wasn't a words of affirmation person. And my love language is words of affirmation. So he wasn’t constantly giving my compliments or saying “atta girl”. He didn’t say I love you a lot. But his love language is acts of service. He worked very, very hard to supply for us. And when he was at home, he was doing chores around the house or yard work or helping my mom. He was doing acts of service ALL the time.

And if I would've known when I was young that was his love language, I would have been able to hear him saying “I love you” through his actions, not in words. Instead of the, I love yous, I would be able to know that the Acts of Service is how he's demonstrating his love to me. That's how he's telling me right now that he cares.

Another example is my husband and I. We have completely different love languages. You can take a quiz and find out your dominant one. You can go to the Gary Chapman site, the love language site, and take a quiz and find out which one is yours. I asked my hubs to take the quiz and we were very different. Mine is words of affirmation. And my second one is quality time. His are acts of service and physical touch. So we were missing each other. You see how that can happen, right? Because I would give him compliments and I would tell him, I love him or text him nice things, leave post it notes for him.

And that wasn't his love language. His was wanting to hold my hand all the time or wanting a little bit of PDA in public, which I've had to get comfortable with. And I'm not saying that you have to get comfortable with physical touch, if that isn't up your alley. I'm just trying to show you how these disconnects can happen.

And when you remedy them and understand them, it reduces a lot of stress and anxiety in your relationships. When we went through this exercise together and realized that we had different Love Languages, he got better about words of affirmation. He leaves me little post-its now, he texts me nice things. He says “great job or you look beautiful”, and I love that stuff. And I try to do things for him that speak his love languages.

I've gotten more comfortable with the physical touch thing and his is also acts of service. So I do nice little things for him. And he can hear in those things that I care about him and that I love him.

Another example is I have a friend whose mom is always doing so many things for other people all the time. So obviously her love language is, you got it, acts of service. But my love language, as I said, is words of affirmation. And she doesn't give those. In fact, she gives kind of the opposite of those most times. I honestly, didn't think she liked me. And when I discovered her love language is acts of service I realized she actually really likes me because she would do things for me all the time. Do you see how this works?

And do you see how, not only can you realize how people are expressing that they care about you or that they love you, but also how you can demonstrate it to other people when you figure out theirs?

It reduces a lot of friction, a lot of stress, and a lot of anxiety because when people feel safe and cared about in relationships, the stress level comes down, doesn't it?

I wish I would've learned this trick when I was five years old, it would have alleviated a lot of stress and anxiety for me. And I hope it's helpful for you.

Let's go through what you can do when you find out the different love languages of people in your life. I just want to give you some ideas. So you can get creative about what to do to show them that you love them based on their love language.

For people whose love language is words of affirmation, send an unexpected text or card or put post-it notes up for them, or genuinely encourage them and appreciate them anytime you can. Because every time you do it, they're going to know you care about them because you're speaking their language. I know it sounds a little bit cheesy, but it's, it's important and it actually works.

So if it's physical touch, hug someone, you know, give them a little squeeze on the hand, give them a little pat on the knee, nothing inappropriate, obviously. And if it is an intimate relationship, touching them in intimate ways, kissing them, holding their hand. It really speaks volumes to them about how much you care.

Receiving gifts. If you know somebody whose love language is receiving gifts, it's not about going out and spending a bunch of money.

It's just about little thoughtful things that you give them when you get a chance. It's tiny, tiny things, but they make a huge difference. For example if you go on a trip and your friend really likes bears and her love language is gifts. If you get her a little bear that says San Francisco, from where you went, it's going to speak volumes to her because you're speaking her language.

For quality time, create special moments, go out of your way to have uninterrupted time with that person, but make sure you're really focused on them. And that you're actively listening to them. Don’t on your phone or texting or distracted because when you can be there really genuinely with them, you got, it says you care. It works.

Acts of service, doing small, nice things for people doing any sort of chore around the house that would lift their load or brighten their day, or bring them a coffee or make them dinner. You can really choose any act of service. This is going to sound funny, but I hope my husband doesn't read this, but I iron his pants because I know that he hears that act of service as a love language. And it means a lot to him. It's not really a big deal for me. And I know he feels loved because I feel his energy change when he sees me doing it.

So go out of your way to help alleviate stress for them by doing little acts of service. I hope this gave you some good insight. I honestly wish I learned this a long time ago. If you have any questions about it, ask me in the comments.

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