How do you express love and feel loved?
Love languages are everywhere in our literature and media. We are inundated with ways to help your partner or yourself. This pandemic, whether you have a partner or not, think of ways to connect even more during this time.
Techniques to Improve Intimacy
Our job is not to read the minds of our spouse, loved one. Instead we need to participate in an ongoing active process that identifies and honors both our love expression preference (how we show we love another) and how we want to be loved ourselves. It’s communication of how we want to FEEL loved that is so important to improving intimacy in our relationships.
How do we do it? Start by learning the love language for you and your loved one. Take a look at “The 5 Love Languages” by Dr. Gary Chapman. In his book, on his podcast as well as on his website, Dr Chapmanshares several ways to understand yourself and your loved ones in order to improve connection and communication. So what are they?
The 5 Love Languages:
- Act of Service
- Words of Expression
- Physical Touch
- Quality Time and Attention
- Gift Receiving and Giving
Our goals are different in relationships and how we want to be loved may be completely unconscious. We also may have had trauma or challenges in our life that have led us to always look for mistrust of ourselves and others in relationships.You still can be loved and give love. Keep going. Whatever your past, you can work on showing up in relationships.
Steps to to Growing Your Relationships
It is helpful to identify things that may matter differently to your loved one. One may be cleaning the house daily desiring to receive words of appreciation. Your partner may feel most loved when they snuggle. It’s important we share that our needs, desires or feelings in relationships that provide connection and love. It may be different for each of us and we won’t be 100% all the time.
So, with Valentine’s Day in the air, it is a perfect time to take a moment and focus on growing your relationships and expressing and receiving love effectively.
- Identify your natural love expression
- Identify your loved ones natural love preference (you have more than one, but focus on the primary expression)
- Explore the ways you are giving love that your loved one can FEEL.
- Ask your loved one: How do you know I love and or care about you? Can you be specific? Get the feedback and listen!
- Provide your loved one specific ways that you feel the most loved. Don’t forget to appreciate the things that may already be happening.
- Have a conversation with authenticity and work through any guilt.
- Practice, practice, practice!
This Valentine’s Day, try to prioritize your relationships romantic or platonic.
Wishing you love towards yourself by asking for your needs, trust in receiving them and the faith to proceed in your journey in all relationships.
About Jennifer Rego, MSW, LICSW
Jennifer is a psychotherapist with over sixteen years of experience in the mental health field based in Massachusetts. She provides individual and family counseling, movement-based healing, clinical supervision and facilitates various workshops in the community with other multi-disciplinary professional providers.