To the Battle-Torn Lovers,
Fights with your significant other are bound to happen. There's a saying that the people we hurt the most are the ones closest to us. However, the more the problems that arise are dealt with without fighting, the better. How can we avoid escalating these problems into "battles"? What can be done afterwards? I actually recently found the answers to the first question and its amazing how obvious it should be.
I just saw a program about scolding and the first step for "good scolding" was as follows: Confirm the Facts. So many of the "fights" I had with my lovelier other half lately could have been avoided if she asked me if her conclusion was correct before acting up. This is because we as a society have an unfortunate tendency to mistake thoughtfulness for thoughtlessness. One example was she cooked dinner but concluded I didn't appreciate it because I didn't say "Thank you." What we eventually found out was that I kept saying what I thought to mean "Thank you for the meal," in her native language but it didn't. Hence, the stress and conflict could have avoided if she asked, "Do you appreciate my cooking?" instead of concluding that I didn't and become cold (note: she's a fantastic cook).
Something that should be avoided is the assumption the other knows what he or she did wrong. This is because we feels most of our actions are justified until we are proven wrong. Remember the story about cooking? I tried to say thank you in her native language because such efforts tend to be the best received. I failed but that was because the phrase I used was translated as "Thank you for the meal" in the language course I was listening to. I should have tried saying both in English and her language, but I didn't know that until she pointed it out.
Another thing to avoid is stopping the communication. The point of fights is to communicate what your are feeling, but if one side stops it, then there is nothing that can be done but determine the relationship is over. I cannot think of a more damaging blow to the communication between a couple than hanging up the phone or walking away in the middle the other's explanation. It does not matter if the explanation is good or bad. When you sever the communication, it is YOU who burned the bridge because by doing that, you just expressed that you do not care to listen to the other. If this happens, QUICKLY APOLOGIZE! Otherwise there will be no confidence you can ever communicate properly and your relationship is over. If you do not care to listen, it shows that you do not care to love.
Speaking of Love, that is truly the key to not only avoiding the fights, but also the recovery from them. I could ramble on about how "love is putting the other's needs before your own" but I've already explained that in a few of my letters. This time I'll explain the Love Language theory in how you can express your love to your beloved and have it well-received. There's a book by Dr. Gary Chapman that claims we all have a Love Language. This is how we express and receive love primarily. Remember how I mentioned about speaking in your beloved's native tongue, the theory is the same here. Even though you are saying the same thing, it won't mean as much as when said with the primary language of love.
So do we have to learn French? Not at all, unless your beloved is French with a certain love language. Dr. Chapman lists 5 languages that we speak and they are as follows: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Acts of Service, Gifts, and Physical Touch. Let's divide those and very briefly explain what they mean.
Words of Affirmation: Positive feedback. When someone does something, they like to be praised for their good work or effort. A woman may want to hear she's beautiful and thanks. A man may want to hear good job and thanks.
Quality Time: These are the people who want your attention. Just being with them but buried in your phone would actually be worse than not being with them. They may not know what to do, but they know they want to be with you.
Acts of Service: Surprise breakfast in bed is the most famous example. These people respond greatly to receiving what may appear to be trivial acts such as making their coffee in the morning.
Gift Giving: This person loves Christmas Gift Exchanges. Not only do they feel the saying that it's great to give, they also like to receive. The gifts don't necessarily need to be expensive. They can be letters, a flower, or even a couple pieces of chocolate.
Physical Touch: Hugs. If they see something cute, they likely want to hug it. Warm touching is what these people respond to the most. They are also very sensitive to being pushed away, especially if they are trying to hug you.
It is important to know these languages because it will help drastically when your spouse says, "I don't feel like you love me anymore," even when you say the words "I love you" every morning. This would be because words are not his or her love language but maybe gift giving is. The reason why we don't know this when we are dating is because we naturally do all five. While it would be great to continue to do all five, it's most important to focus on the top two or three that your loved one communicates with.
Dr. Chapman also points out that everyone has a "Love Tank" that needs to be filled through these Love Languages. Something that should be noted is that after a fight, the Love Tank can get near to empty and if it stays down there too long, that's when threats of break ups start to happen. Something you really don’t want to do is tell your beloved that you don't love him or her. Therefore it is crucial that you try to communicate with the Love Languages after or during a fight. For example, if Physical Touch is the primary language for both of you, Hug. This is why you may have heard of the term "Make-up Sex," it works for some people because of the language. You may have heard that it's important to give each other some time to organize your thoughts, but only do that after you've convinced each other you still love one another through those languages. Words may not be enough. As I mentioned before, you do not want to sever communications and it's more the case when you both are low in your Love Tanks. It's also not going to help if Quality Time is the primary or secondary language.
N. D. Moharo
P.S. The Love Languages don't apply just to romance but also to our daily lives with friends and relatives. Try using them and see how much your relationships grow.