A few weeks ago Jordan and I had a photo session with Aleigh Michelle. I am really excited to share our photos from the shoot but because there are so many photos I thought it would be useful to break it down and share by location/concept. The set I am sharing today is from a picnic at Volunteer Park. My dress is For Love and Lemons (believe it or not I steamed it before the photos but all that laying in the grass wrinkled it a bit) and my shoes are Tory Burch (seriously so comfortable).
I don’t think we ever stop learning about relationships, romantic or otherwise! I had a few realizations about friendship recently that made me pause and reflect on what I want from my friendships as my friends and I continue to evolve and potentially embark on separate life paths. I love thinking about interpersonal dynamics and especially love learning skills to overcome friendship, familial or relationship challenges as life presents them. I am surrounded by really great people but that doesn’t mean life never presents me with any obstacles. Part of the reason why Jordan and I work well in a relationship is because we have learned to really recognize our differences and see each other’s perspectives (it sounds straight forward and a tad bit obvious but it isn’t always so in the moment).
Most people have heard about the different love languages by now right? If not, no worries: the five love languages are defined as Acts of Service, Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Physical Touch, and Receiving Gifts. I can’t remember when I first heard about “love languages”, and though I’ve never actually read “The 5 Love Languages” book the general principle has stuck with me. When Jordan and I had only been dating for a month or two I remember snuggling up to him after a long conversation and confessing adoringly that he demonstrates all of the love languages. I know it sounds cheesy but at the time it really struck me like “this guy knows what he’s doing”! Thinking about the variety of ways different people show love and perhaps more importantly require to feel loved is pretty enlightening. Just for fun I took the quiz again and quality time/words of affirmation tied for first, followed by Physical Touch/Receiving Gifts (tied as well) and finally followed by acts of service.
I am definitely best at words of affirmation. I probably tell Jordan I love him 75 times a day. It was engrained in me since I was a little girl to always say “I love you” before getting off the phone, leaving for school, etc. My Mom was the type to write my brother and I sweet cards on the first day of school and I carried on her method of showing love. I started writing love letters in my diary before I hit puberty! In addition I find I can give quality time and physical touch without thinking about it but I don’t excel at gift giving or acts of service without a tad bit of additional effort.
I imagine it is probably pretty normal for us to give love the way we categorize as most important to receive love. In reality we all need every form of love though. I can’t think of a single category I am willing to give up so it is important to show our partners in the ways that don’t come naturally to us.
JUST AS IMPORTANT! Think about the categories of love languages and how your bf/gf/husband/wife shows each type of love. Sometimes it is easy to dismiss all of the ways you are getting love in one category or another simply because it isn’t the way you readily express love. I know I can forget how many acts of service Jordan performs for me (cleaning out my car, getting gas for me, making me dinner, etc) because I personally focus on words of affirmation (writing him cards and daily text messages). It is worth having a conversation about how you best express love and receive love but I don’t think you should dismiss acts that don’t fit into your top category.
Over time I’ve recognized how much those acts of service mean to me, and without necessarily consciously deciding to do so I started expressing my love more regularly through acts of service too. I realized I could express love by making lunch for Jordan or doing some of his laundry. It didn’t take me long to notice these sorts of tasks would always would be noted and appreciated. Though Jordan hasn’t taken the love language quiz, I would bet his top love language would be acts of service! By cluing into all of the ways Jordan shows me love I was able to reflect all of the ways I show love too. Just taking a little time to be mindful helped me to realize little things I really do appreciate but tend to glance over (and who wants to be bratty like that?).
A Few Small ways to show a little extra Love this week:
- Grab a cute card and write about something your partner did recently that made you grateful to have him/her in your life
- If you are normally checked in on social media/email/etc. turn your phone off (or put it in another room) for an entire evening and give your partner your undivided attention
- Plan a complete date from start to finish and treat your partner to a new (or well loved) experience
- Write a sweet message on a post it note and leave it somewhere your partner will find it unexpectedly when you are apart (in the car, on the bathroom mirror, in a briefcase or purse)
- Do a chore your partner would normally do to alleviate a little stress
- Pick up a sweet treat you know your partner loves to spruce up a random week day
- Cuddle up and watch a movie or television show together
- If the two of you are working on separate projects make a point to be in the same room together, sometimes just being near one another can foster feelings of connectedness
- Make your partner dinner AND do the dishes
- Send a postcard in the mail even if you aren’t out of town
- Plan a day (or weekend) to explore a new city/neighborhood/park together
- If you live together surprise him/her with a completely clean house
- Remember to compliment your partner OUT LOUD, sometimes we forget to verbalize why our partner is important even if we think it all the time
- Splurge on a gift you know he/she would love but wouldn’t get for him/herself
- Give a massage or scalp massage
- Let him/her sleep in one Saturday morning & run out to get coffee & fresh pastries for both of you before he/she wakes up
- Make a scrapbook or memory journal to remember your adventures together
There are infinite ways to show your love, I would love to read your suggestions! What is your love language? Is it the same as your partner’s?