The Starved Relationship

Matt-Head-ShotLast Thursday, Dr. Matt Townsend, a relationship expert, spoke to a group of survivors and caregivers at the Intermountain Medical Center. He presented life-changing skills with humor, teaching me how to improve my relationships in an entertaining way. I enjoyed his presentation so much that I’ve been listening to his many short videos on a variety of topics dealing with relationships while I work. If you like to listen to fun, uplifting, concise talks, you should check out his website.

A synopsis of what I learned from Matt is that life keeps changing and some experiences change the way we think and feel. Although our experiences may differ, we share feelings of: loss, sadness, insecurity, embarrassment, inadequacy, anxiety and/or depression at some time in our lives.

He quoted Carl Jung, a famous psychiatrist, “That which is most personal is most universal.”

Matt professionally counsels people for a wide range of challenges. Some have financial, fidelity, abuse and a variety of addictions. He calls these problems the smoke rather than the cause of the fire. He states we all have seven basic needs and we feel starved when those needs aren’t meet. When we feel starved, we don’t want to feed the other and the bond is broken, which ignites the fire.

We all want loyalty, happiness and honesty in a relationship. To feel joy and peace in a relationship we must feel:

  • Safe – including physical, financial, mental, emotional, social and spiritual safety
  • Trust – consisting of honesty and competence
  • Appreciation- hearing or seeing words of approval (remember it takes four positives to ease one negative comment)
  • Respect – showing through words and deeds
  • Validate – hearing what is said to understand without having to agree
  • Encourage – getting into the heart of your loved one and doing what you can to help them reach their goals
  • Dedication – committing to your relationship and making them feel more important than any place or thing.

Matt said trauma or health issues are the number one way to expand in these areas. We don’t grow unless we are pushed. We learn through our challenges.

Townsend Starved StuffWhen these basic needs are not met, we feel starved which makes it hard to fill your loved one’s needs. We all feel love and express love differently. Gary Chapman, author of The 5 Love Languages, describes how some of us feel love by: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch. We tend to give love to another in the manner that speaks love to us. However, it is better expressed in the language your loved one speaks. Matt says his wife’s love language is acts of service. He vacuums or does another household chore and she’s appreciative. His love language is physical touch. They’ve tried holding hands while he vacuums, but that’s just too awkward.

To learn more about The 5 Love Languages and to discover your own love language, visit: http://www.5lovelanguages.com

GandhiWe all want loyalty, happiness and honesty in a relationship. To feel joy and peace, we must feed the relationship. “You must be the change you wish to see.”- Gandi

Matt is the founder and president of Townsend Relationship Center, a relationship skills-building organization.

To hear Dr. Matt Townsend’s presentation of The Starved Relationship see:

 

 

 

Expressions of Love

love LanI’ve enjoyed leaning about the language of love and appreciate Katie sharing her tips on it. It’s given me a lot to think about:

How do you like to express your love?

What language of love means the most to you?

My order is usually: Acts of Service, Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Physical Touch, Receiving Gifts.

However, as I think of important people in my life and their love language, my order sometimes changes. I also wonder if Acts of Service would be most important to me if my situation was different.  There’s much to think about when learning the languages of love. I find it thought-provoking and interesting. I need to read the book.

What are your thoughts? Have you read the book, The 5 Love Languages, by Gary Chapman?

Love Language

This may be a great family and/or partner discussion.

Learning the Languages of Love

Written by, Katie Wilson Ferguson

Love Language1The most life-changing book I’ve read is “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. In less than 200 pages, Chapman taught me how to better understand every relationship I’ve had. While the original book is targeted to married couples, the information has also helped me in my relationships with family, friends, clients and business associates.

In short, we usually show kindness in our own love language. Those expressions might not be fully understood if the recipient doesn’t share the same love language. The two biggest points the book taught me are:

  1. My love and care for another individual is better understood when I express it in his or her love language rather than my own.
  2. I better recognize others’ love and care for me as I remember they are expressing themselves in their own love language rather than mine.

In my last article, A Village of Support, I shared how family and friends showed support to my family after my mom had surgery and while I was taking care of my dad. These kind loved-ones were probably expressing their concern for us in their own love languages.

The 5 Love Languages taught throughout the book are:

Words of Affirmation

Loved ones sent my mom cards with encouraging, thoughtful messages. My parents showered me with gratitude by thanking me and complimenting me several times a day.

Quality Time

Some friends showed they cared with a personal visit or phone call.

Receiving Gifts

My maternal grandma and other family and friends sent my mom flowers. My paternal grandma sent a box of homemade cookies.

Acts of Service

Friends and family showed us love by bringing dinners. I showed my love by caring for my parents and doing some housework.

Physical Touch

Some great examples of this love language are backrubs, snuggles, kisses and holding hands. This isn’t just applicable to romantic relationships. 

I have two love languages: Acts of Service and Quality Time. I appreciate compliments, gifts are nice, hugs feel good, but nothing says I’m loved more than these two questions: “How can I help you?” and “Want to go to lunch on Saturday?” Likewise, nothing frustrates and hurts me like an unfulfilled promise or last-minute broken commitment.

love LanWe express all the love languages at different times and often express multiple love languages on one occasion (for example, visiting a friend and taking a gift). However, some love languages feel more natural than others, so those are the ones we use most frequently.

What is your love language?

To learn more about The 5 Love Languages and to discover your own love language, visit: http://www.5lovelanguages.com