We met each other years after we both went through devastating divorces, that left us with emotional scars as well as trust issues. So, after many failed dating attempts & short term relationships, (many more for John than me…LOL), a mutual long term friend, who knew both of our histories, introduced us. And as unlikely and hard to believe as this sounds…from that night forward (7+ years ago) neither of us ever went out with another person again.
That does seem hard to believe right?? Especially with all of these crazy dating sites, where you really have no idea who is going to show up for the date, since many times they are very different from what you expected from their profile!
Advice for Strong Relationships
John and I credit our very successful relationship to the fact that we both spent time alone after our respective divorces. We worked on ourselves, so we knew who we were and not what our previous spouses thought, accused or demanded us to be. We were both at a place where we could thrive and be happy alone, and did not need a partner to complete us, or be responsible for our individual happiness.
Equal Give and Take in a Relationship
A relationship where one party is constantly forced to be in charge of the other one’s happiness is exhausting, unfair, and destined to fail. We both came from relationships that were one-sided rather than a true partnership, and that was not something either of us wanted to entertain again for the rest of our lives!! Once you know who you are and what you want, “you can be the person the person you are looking for is looking for”.
Relationships are not easy, and there are times when one partner has to be the stronger one if the other is going through difficult times, but the overall relationship has to equal itself out for it to be healthy, supportive, loving and long term.
The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Partner
One of the things we both did while we were healing from our divorces was to read the book The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.. It is a quick read and is a relationship game changer!!!
The 5 Love Languages help us speak to our spouse or partner in words, thoughts, and feelings that they understand and receive as love. The trouble in many marriages is that partners don’t speak each other’s love language.
What are the Five Love Languages?
- Words of Affirmation
- Acts of Service
- Physical Touch
- Quality Time
It is very important to know your own love language as well as your partner’s love language, because if you are trying to push your language onto them, but it’s not their language, you will have no idea why the relationship is not going as you expect. It can leave both of you frustrated, unsatisfied, and unheard, leading to major tension or worse in the relationship.
How Knowing the Love Languages Can Help Your Marriage
From John and Melissa:
It does not take a lot of effort to recognize and appreciate your partner’s love language, and it can be the ultimate difference between a long term, very happy marriage, or a miserable broken one, potentially ending in divorce.
When John and I met and started to get to know each other, we never mentioned the book we each read before meeting, but we both knew our own individual love languages. We also knew it was imperative for an enduring happy, healthy, supportive, and loving relationship, to know and understand each other.
Sometimes you have two languages, but one is almost always the dominant one. John’s language is Words of Affirmation and Physical Touch and mine, as you know is, Acts of Service and my secondary is Quality Time.
Just because two people have completely different love languages does not mean their relationship will not work, you just have to know and respect their language and apply it when communicating with each other.
Love Languages: How Do You Communicate?
In our household, I shop (this includes food, clothes, household items, etc.), I cook (healthy, tasty and organic foods), keep the house organized and clean and share responsibilities in caring for our two dogs.
John cleans the kitchen after dinner, loads and unloads the dishwasher, and does the laundry because he says I suck at it – LOL. He takes out the garbage which sometimes involves breaking down numerous Amazon boxes, and without fail, he brings me coffee in bed every morning and shares doggy duties with me.
These acts of service mean everything to me, because I do not have to do all the household chores myself, which allows me to take time for myself, like painting, reading, or taking a bubble bath.
He is extremely appreciative of what I do, and not only lets me know all the time, but he shows me by helping out, because as they say actions speak louder than words!
I am extremely proud of John’s unwavering commitment to his health (and mine), and the weekly, hard workouts he does to keep his body in the best possible shape. I always let him know both verbally and physically how attractive I find him (two birds with one stone – LOL). Also, I express how in awe I am of his continued determination and dedication to our physical health, regardless of any potential obstacles.
He is also a very smart businessman, and I rely and completely trust his investment research and opinions, keeping me up to date on news headlines (as bad as they are), economic forecasts, and the latest and greatest health regimes that he researches to ensure we are in the best possible physical health.
How to Speak Your Wife’s Love Language
As Melissa mentioned, I really try to do my part around the house. Melissa does so much that I don’t feel it is fair for her to do all the household chores. This also hits her love language ‘Acts of Service’.
I want to share a couple of other things with the men who are reading this that may be a benefit to your relationship as well. Now you may think I should lose my “Man Card” because of these things, but I assure you that is not the case. They are just simple ways to show your significant other the respect they deserve, and you should see a benefit in return. This is not the reason for doing these things, but it is definitely a bonus.
Melissa mentioned I bring her coffee in bed. I have done this everyday for 7+ years. It is so easy to do, and to put a smile on your spouse’s face every morning is huge! After I finish my ‘Own Your Morning’ routine and make myself a second cup of coffee, I make a cup for Melissa. I know how Melissa likes her coffee, and it really takes no extra effort but the reward is huge, and if you are a score keeper, I am up 1-0 in the gratitude category first thing in the morning!
Also, selfishly, I don’t want her awake during my morning time anyway, as she can be a “talker.”Ha. This schedule works out best for both of us. Also, as I am laying out my supplements, I lay out hers as well. She is not as meticulous with supplements as I am, so I feel I am helping her stay healthy by doing this for her, and it’s another point for me! Believe me, these add up!!
Importance of Letting My Wife Know Where I am
I am very regimented in my routine, so Melissa typically will know where I am, but I take the guesswork out by always letting her know where I am and when I will return. I know some of you are thinking this is another “Man Card” violation, but I take pride in knowing Melissa never has to wonder or worry about where I am, what I am doing, and when I will be home.
These are just a couple of additional things I do that take no additional effort, but show respect to Melissa every day. This works even better if both parties in the relationship feel the same way, but men if you do this every day, I believe you will see your partner’s level of security with your relationship increase.
The LIttle Gestures Make a Difference
Also, once a month, I will stop by Whole Foods and buy roses for Melissa. I don’t believe there is a woman on earth who doesn’t like to receive flowers for no reason. Whole Foods has an excellent assortment of roses in many colors, so they don’t always have to be red.
They are never expected, but they are always greatly appreciated. Again, I just feel these gestures make a huge impact on our relationship, and really don’t take too much effort on my part other than just being thoughtful and respectful. My hope is that some of these items might resonate with you, and give you an idea or two that will put a smile on your other half’s face!
We Talk About Keeping Fit and Staying Healthy
From John & Melissa:
One of the other important dynamics to our successful relationship is we both agree to make a conscious effort to stay attractive, physically fit, and healthy, not only for ourselves but for each other. We both have heard the phrase from Jeff Bezos, “show up with a day one mentality”, and we look at this comment as a respectful way to be the partner your partner fell in love with, at least to the best of your physical ability.
Respect is Vital in a Healthy Relationship
A healthy relationship respects the other’s opinions and feelings, even if they are different from your own, because you are not the same person, and one should not constantly insist on having it “their way or the highway”. It is an ongoing give and take commitment to each other, and respecting each other’s voice creates an open line of communication to be able to share freely without fear of retribution, anger or judgment by the other, if they disagree with you.
How to Communicate Effectively
John and I openly discuss topics that bother us before they involve anger or frustration because we do not let them fester until someone explodes.,
We have learned by listening to the other’s feelings or concerns about a touchy situation, it could have been a misunderstanding or taken out of context, and we want to clarify and solve it at that time rather than shoving it under the rug. On rare occasions we agree to disagree, and then we let it go and do not try to force the other to bend to our opinion on the matter.
So many people let things that bother them fester because they want to avoid conflict, but this creates its own narrative for each person, and they end up having no choice but to believe their side of the story, when it very well may not be the case at all. Sadly, failure to properly and respectfully communicate with each other is why so many marriages end in divorce.
Is it too Late To Repair My Relationship?
John and I were very fortunate to have met each other after we knew who we were and what we wanted in a partner. However, it is not too late to repair an existing broken relationship before calling it quits. But, both of you have to be willing to do the hard work involved to get it back on track, until you know and respect each other’s love language it may not be possible.
The best advice we can give you is to read the book, individually first and determine your own love language, and then your partner’s. Once you have both read it, share your individual love language, and then compare the assessments you made about each other’s language to see if you are on the right path. If you aren’t, you may have unraveled the root of your relationship struggles, and together can create a plan to repair it.
The book delivers great insight on why relationships fail and what to do to get them back on track. If you still love your partner and are willing to learn and apply the techniques, the effort is well worth it.
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