With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to brush up on your love language. Everyone expresses and receives love differently, so understanding how you (and your significant other) prefer to get affection is essential for a healthy, fulfilling relationship.
Making Valentine’s Day, or any other day, special for you and your partner is more than buying chocolates and giving greeting cards. It takes concentrated effort to ensure that you and your significant other are receiving love in the best possible way.
Here are a few guidelines for making your relationship stronger, healthier, and more fruitful:
Communication, Communication, Communication
One of the most important aspects of expressing love is clear communication. Whether it be through words or actions, being straightforward about what makes you feel loved will help ensure that your expression is well-received. Avoiding any hint of vagueness when asking for what you need will make sure that both parties involved are always on the same page.
We all have needs. While our significant others can’t meet our every need or cater to our every whim, most loving partners want to please us and make us happy, to the extent they are able to.
Things tend to break down now and again when we don’t make our needs or desires clear. We expect our partners to come equipped with mind-reading capabilities and we get angry or disappointed when they miss the mark.
Research has found that effective communication is one of the most important elements in successful relationships and a key factor for receiving love. A study by researchers at the Universities of California, Berkeley, and Illinois (Kashdan et al., 2002) looked at couples’ communication styles and found that those with higher levels of partner-focused communication had higher levels of relationship satisfaction and greater feelings of being loved. In addition, another study from the University of Rochester (Harwood et al., 2017) found that individuals who reported more partner-focused communication behaviors also reported feeling more understood and loving toward their partners. These findings suggest that effective communication can help foster relationships in which both parties feel loved.
When it comes to expression, being direct and honest is the best way to get your message across. Showing love means showing them what you need from them in a straightforward manner. Don’t be afraid to make yourself vulnerable by expressing how you feel or what you need in order for them to show their love for you.
Positivity Positively Prevails
Along with expression, having a positive attitude is key to getting the love you want. No one wants to be around someone who’s always negative and pessimistic. Instead, try being optimistic and keep your energy up in order to attract more positivity in return.
Have an attitude of positivity in order to encourage meaningful interactions with each other. Instead of making demands or issuing ultimatums, try offering compliments and words of affirmation that can help strengthen your relationship.
One study conducted by the University of Michigan found that people with a positive attitude reported higher levels of relationship satisfaction and increased feelings of commitment toward their partners (Dunn, Stagner, & Brownlow, 2007). Another study from the University of Pittsburgh showed that participants with a positive attitude had more meaningful relationships with their romantic partners (Johnson, et al., 2012). Finally, a study published in The Journal of Positive Psychology found that having an optimistic outlook improved the quality of personal relationships and increased feelings of love (Gouin & Kiefer, 2011).
Encouragement is also an important part of getting the love you want. By praising the one you love, they will feel appreciated and more inclined to return your expression of love. Give them compliments and build their self-esteem to create a positive environment that is conducive to love.
Research has demonstrated that encouragement within a relationship can strengthen the bond between partners, increase well-being and satisfaction, and help couples to better cope with stress. A study conducted by Lawrence et al. (2017) found that couples who reported higher levels of encouragement in their relationships also reported higher levels of relationship satisfaction. Similarly, another study conducted by Meuwly and Tschannen-Moran (2016) found that when couples experienced mutual encouragement, they were more likely to report feeling close and having greater satisfaction in their relationships. Finally, a study by Aron et al. (2003) found that mutual encouragement was associated with improved coping skills during conflicts between couples. These findings suggest that encouraging one another in relationships can lead to stronger connections and improved well-being for both partners.
Finally, never forget the power of little gestures, like hugs and kisses, to show how much you care. A bit of effort goes a long way to make sure your significant other knows just how special they are to you.
So this Valentine’s Day, take some time to reflect on what expression and communication methods work best for you and your partner so you both can receive all the love that you need!
By using clear communication, avoiding vagueness, expressing positivity, and incorporating acts of encouragement into your relationship dynamics, you’ll be well on your way to getting (and giving!) the kind of love that will last a lifetime.