How Would You Define Your Relationship?
Denedria Banks, LCSW
Many clients come to me expressing they wish to have a happy, healthy relationship. When I ask, “What does that mean to you?” most respond expressing they have never thought about how they would define what it means to have a happy, healthy relationship.
As Valentine’s Day approaches, I want to share some themes people often struggle with when entering or maintaining a relationship.
What is love?
If I were to ask 10 people what love means to them, I would receive 10 very different answers. There would be some overlap but key needs would differ. Understanding how you show love or what you need to feel love is essential when building a happy, healthy relationship.
Single or coupled, it’s important to identify what you need to feel love and to understand how you express love. Keep in mind, as you grow your needs may change – what was once important in your 20s may not be as important as you gain life experience. Don’t be afraid to revisit your definition from time to time.
Gary Chapman’s book, The 5 Love Languages is a great book to read to learn more about your love language.
Does Communication Really Matter?
The answer is a resounding, YES! The way in which one communicates with his/her mate can often make or break a relationship.
I often remind my clients, communication is not about being right, it’s about being heard and seen. Can I safely express myself? Will my mate meet me half way?
Non-verbal communication is just as important as verbal communication. Do you know how your non-verbal cues come across to others? Communication is extremely important but often overlooked because we tend to make assumptions about what another thinks or should know.
Additionally, there are many styles of communication. Learning your style of communication is the first step because it is important to be in tune with how you communicate with others.
There are a few free quizzes on the internet if you are interested in learning more.
But intimacy IS the same…or is it?
Intimacy is not the same as having sexual intercourse.
Intimacy is the act of building closeness and connection while sexual intercourse is the culmination of the act of building closeness and connection.
Men and women often struggle with this concept for various reasons.
How one builds connection with ties in to how one defines love:
Are you one who enjoys giving/receiving gifts? Do you value spending time with another? Are you one who values date nights, out on the town?
There is no right or wrong path to intimacy – you just need to know what is right for you!
As you move forward in this season of love, allow time to take inventory regarding what you currently have or what it is you desire in a relationship.
Love is not only an action word, it is a choice that you have: You can choose how you love another and what type of love you receive in return.
Remember, the choice you make will begin with the definition you shape.
Peace and Blessings!