• Thistle Counselling

Love Languages - can we speak fluently?

Hi everyone, welcome back to the blog.

Felt inspired to blog because of a book I've started reading recently called The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. In the book, Gary talks about five different love languages and how sometimes between our partners, we can be speaking totally different languages to one another which brings about conflict, misunderstanding and potentially relationship breakdown.

So what are these five languages?

Words of Affirmation

Quality Time

Physical Touch


Acts of Service

I saw this quite funny (and delicious!) way of describing how each of these looks in reality...

These languages cover a swathe of ways in which we communicate - do we compliment, do we appreciate a physical touch like a cuddle, do we shower our partner with gifts or give an act of kindness?

What the book looks at is how what language we think is best as it's what suits us may not necessarily be the right language for our partner and to have a look at investigating and finding what is the most ideal way to show our love to our significant others.

I think we may have all been there with one of these - Ever been in a situation where you wished you had spent some more time with your loved one on a weekend? Ever hoped for the occasional bunch of flowers? Or even longed for a compliment or two about how our butt does look good in those jeans? There are such a huge swathe of opportunities and chances we may crave or miss being able to provide our loved ones...But....and it's a big but (not like the one in the jeans!)

What happens when we're not communicating at all? It can happen where these things, these words or acts in our relationships can be so at the bottom of the list because we're not talking and that can be why relationships and marriages break down beyond repair. There are situations around the globe, in a huge amount of homes between many, many couples where the communication has broken down entirely and the language barrier can be like a solid and 100 foot high wall and this is where counselling can help, by finding those ways to help communicate to one another, build bridges instead of walls and find better ways to connect with our partners.

It can be a fact, and a hard one to admit, that it can take more work than seeking a love language to overcome issues. That by no means is a criticism of Gary's work - the fact he's been able to narrow down, categorise and neatly explain 5 clear ways in which our relationships and marriages can be maintained like a beautiful rose garden is outstanding. But I think (as my supervisor would say) it's not always black and white, why don't we look at the grey areas?

Could relationship breakdowns be down to an individual issue that you want to deal with as a team or perhaps a challenge you wish to overcome alone? Could be anything - a self-esteem issue, something that has arisen due to a past relationship or a trauma that requires some sensitive and deeper reflection with someone who isn't your partner. There are any number of reasons why it feels like we're speaking Spanish and our partner is trying to get us to understand Portuguese. It's close, but no cigar!

Could counselling help and how so?

Counselling is all about communication!

When you walk into a therapy room, it's all about you. Sounds scary right? But how often do we take the time to communicate how we're feeling with no interruption, no judgement, no unwarranted and unasked for advice? Don't get me wrong, talking to friends and loved ones can be a huge help, but there are occasionally some things we'd rather talk to someone neutral and outside about. That's where counselling comes in.

If you struggle to find the words to communicate, if you're feeling something in the pit of your stomach or an ache in your temples and you can't quite put the words to it, if you know exactly how you feel and want to get it off your chest or untangle it like a ball of messy wool - counselling could be the place for you to find that space, to find the words, to find the clarity to go forth and create solid and happy relationships - not just with others but with yourself. At the end of the day, the longest relationship you're ever going to have is with you. Treat yourself well.

So my question for you to take away (or questions, I guess because I'm greedy and can't just stick to one - bit like tacos....) - What is your love language? How do you communicate? Are you being heard? Could there be more to do behind the scenes before things improve or change if they do need to?

As ever, you can always #ReachOutSpeakUpShare so feel free to get in touch if you would like to book in a session. More details and ways to get in touch are through the site.

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