L. O. V. E.: Putting Your Love Styles to Work for You

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If marriage took place in a vacuum, there would be no outside influences—including in-laws. Rules, schmules! Lerner has come up with over of them, and at just under two pages each, they are easy to digest, logical, and practical. The idea is that our unconscious mind chooses a partner that helps us complete the missing pieces in our lives. Updated to include new philosophies and exercises, this book has withstood the test of time.

Communication is key in all marriages and this book by Dr. Sue Johnson gives couples a fresh approach on how to do it right. While emotionally raw at times, readers are given several useful exercises to do with their partners, and are led through seven healing conversations.

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If you and your spouse have an amazing sex life, kudos to you! Each chapter consists of a fun conversation, an idea for a date on which to have the conversation , and an exercise for couples to prepare for the conversation. Your reasons for fighting make a little more sense.

Types Of Love

Beyond fighting less or at least more productively , the concept of love languages is a great for maintaining the relationship, too. Of course, the concept is also helpful in simply expressing your love in the best possible way. Now that I know quality time is more important to him, I cater to that instead.

For example, I used to get angry at my brother for being terrible at keeping in touch.

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He rarely calls, and it hurt my feelings. It took time to realize that his love language is percent words of affirmation and zero percent quality time or acts of service. Once I got that, his lack of phone calls stopped hurting my feelings. And it works the other way, too. My brother might speak a different language in a romantic relationship than he does with family. It can help in business, too. As a leader, she finds out how each person on her team feels appreciated, and she can then motivate them accordingly.

Chapman even wrote a follow-up book specifically aimed at the workplace: The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace. However, you can probably translate pretty easily on your own by simply taking a look at their behavior and how they respond to things. Everyone is different.

The Four Attachment Styles of Love

In a culture where we tend to place romantic love on a pedestal, we can easily overlook the dynamic ways to experience love. There's the depth of close friendships, the sense of belonging in a community, the intensity of an artistic practice, a connection to our work, or any experience that provides companionship, support, self-discovery, and even the feelings of both elation and misery.

But this isn't the common narrative, so for many single people — me included — we can mistakenly think we're not good enough, or feel incomplete without this one, specific type of love. But a lack of romantic love isn't a character flaw , rather it's a failure of our collective imagination to acknowledge the various forms of love that exist in our lives.

How to Have a Better Relationship

As Krista Tippet, the host of On Being podcast, wrote in her book Becoming Wise: "I can't name the day when I suddenly realised that the lack of love in my life was not a reality but a poverty of imagination and a carelessly narrow use of an essential word. After many years spent berating my own single status, I could see how carelessly narrow my own view of love had been and how short-sighted it is to view romantic love as a prerequisite to a happy life.

For many, being single is not about a lack of options for love, but a choice — a choice to apply a broader definition to love, and see the value in all its forms. From fairytales to romantic comedies, it appears we have been sold a lie that one person will complete us. In reality, it takes a village to feel loved. In fact, considering romantic love to be the cornerstone of our family or community is relatively new, as psychotherapist Esther Perel explains. You married once and, if you didn't like it, you could hope for an early death of your partner.

Where previously our sense of identity was more embedded in community, a shift to individualism and choice has meant that we feel responsible for everything, especially finding an all-encompassing romantic partnership. This shift has confused us, she adds.

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Whether you're in a relationship or single, recognising that one person can't be your everything can help you find a broader definition of love. Knowing this, we can build our own communities. For me, this has been quite literal with creating ongoing dinner parties with a group of friends, and starting an event series for people to work on creative projects in a group setting.

But you can also find community in your neighbourhood , attend something regularly to build relationships, or recognise how your friends, family and colleagues all contribute to a kind of scattered village of people that understand varied parts of who you are.

Throughout my life I've certainly experienced friendships that have followed a similar trajectory to some love stories — a frenzied meeting, a devising of future plans together, spending any free moment together, revealing secrets and fears, and gaining a deep understanding of each other that has grown over the years and decades.