Everyone has a unique style of communicating appreciation and connection; however, we expect everyone else to share the same style. A lot of conflict in relationships comes from not being able to translate other people’s love languages and understand that there is no single right way to be in a relationship. We can understand how to build relationship skills by understanding that there are at least five love languages that people use in varying combinations depending on the relationship.
Love languages are not limited to romantic relationships and can apply to family, friends, and mentors. The language that you speak most frequently may not always be the language you want to hear from others. Learning about your individual needs and style helps you to be more aware of other’s needs and how you want to show up in relationships. There is no ideal language to use. Every preference has positives and negatives.
The 5 Love Languages
“The 5 Love Languages” was originally written in 1992 by Dr. Gary Chapman. Chapman explains that we all express and feel love differently. Consequently, understanding those differences can make a serious impact on our relationships.
- Words of affirmation – Many people argue that there is a difference between words and actions, but for some people, words are their strength. They may be poetic or direct in using words to build up the other person. People who speak this language are known for being texters and writing notes. They are more likely to notice the little details and express appreciation for them. Communication is important in any relationship, but this is especially true for people whose love launched is words of affirmation. For a child who prefers words of affirmation, when parents acknowledge both their success and their trials they feel seen and appreciated. Too often as parents, it is easy to point out what kids could have done better. Constantly hearing negatives or judgments can leave these kids feeling defeated.
- Gifts – People who are gift-givers tend to put a lot of thought into noticing what others like. For most of them, it’s not a material thing, but the ability to pay for someone’s coffee or picking out a book they might like is a way that they show they care about others. It’s a way to communicate to a loved one or friend that you see them and understand their interests and hobbies. A lot of people feel guilty about being “showered with gifts,” although it can also refer to small things. For people who also enjoy getting gifts as their love language, it can be helpful for them to clarify to their partner that it is not about “getting things” or the amount of money they are spending. Rather, it is the fact that their partner thought about them in the moment and wanted to do something to bring them a little bit of joy.
- Acts of Service – This can be a difficult one. People who like acts of service are more likely to give their all or open themselves up to doing favors for others. This could mean cooking, cleaning, gifts, or quality time. It overlaps the most with other languages, but can also result in being taken advantage of. In some cases, acts of service can sometimes go unnoticed when the person is doing daily tasks such as taking out the garbage or doing projects around the house. Showing love isn’t always a grand statement, but rather small acts of care done daily. People who show their love through acts of service may find that their service is going unnoticed if they are unable to explain how they are showing their love.
- Quality time — For some, quality time means planning activities or meals together, but it really just means giving someone else your undivided attention, whether you’re sitting on a couch, driving, or taking a walk. It is about being comfortable in someone’s preference, as well as exploring shared interests. Quality time can be challenging, because how do you quantify what makes your time together quality? If you are someone who enjoys quality time, take some time to decide what it is about spending time with your partner that makes you feel loved and fulfilled. This can help you be clear when communicating to your partner how you would like to spend time together.
- Physical touch – This is usually what people think of when they define “love,” but it is not the only way to show love. Many people have difficulty holding boundaries, explaining their preferences, or letting go of past negative experiences with physical touch. Physical touch does not have to be sexual and can include holding hands, hugging, or even putting your hand on someone’s shoulder to let them know you are there. There is no hierarchy of physical touch. Some people are more physical than others. In romantic relationships, it is important to communicate to your partner how physical touch makes you feel loved and make sure that you are also respecting your partner’s boundaries around physical touch as well.
So often in relationships, both romantic and platonic, we expect the other person to know what we are thinking or feeling. We assume that we are having the same experience as our partner or loved one. This is why it can be helpful to understand the concept of love languages. It can help you put words to the actions that make you feel loved rather than just assuming the other person should know how to make us feel loved. Without communication and understanding, a person who is a gift-giver may be giving presents to someone who prefers acts of service and feels confused as to why the other person doesn’t appreciate their gifts. On the other side of that, the person who expresses love through acts of service may feel like those daily tasks they do are not enough when the gift giver seems not to notice. Being comfortable and confident enough in your relationships to talk about your needs is the best way to build stronger connections.
A Transitional Program to Build Healthier Relationships
Journey Home is the perfect fit for teens who are ready to build upon skills learned in therapeutic settings but recognize they still need guidance and support to further develop their success.
Residents at the Journey Home are encouraged to pursue positive hobbies, develop talents and skills, and participate in fun, leisure activities. Many of these activities are planned and developed by the Journey Home clients and staff to do together. Clients are also encouraged to pursue some of these activities on their own. Some of the regular group activities at the Journey Home include “Fun Food Friday”, snowsports in the winter, visiting museums, going to movies, exploring the local outdoors by hiking and biking, and many other local events and activities. By focusing on healthy living and social integration skills clients are given the opportunity to understand their interests and needs in relationships. They may find that they create stronger relationships one on one or that they enjoy having new adventures with new friends. Building these friendships gives them the communication skills and self-understanding to create healthy relationships when they return home.
Residents at Journey Home also benefit from our therapeutic programming. Unlike many other transition programs, residents at the Journey Home participate in weekly therapy, alternating between family and individual sessions. During the week, residents also attend two group therapy sessions, led by the Journey Home therapist. These groups are Healthy Lifestyles and a therapeutic processing group. For young people who have a history of unhealthy relationships, therapy can be a tool to process and understand why they have made the choices they have in the past and make different choices in the future.
Journey Home Can Help
Journey Home is a small residential treatment program for girls and assigned females at birth 16 – 21 years old. This program enforces a community-based treatment option for young girls and assigned female at birth. It is specifically designed for residents who have successfully completed a therapeutic treatment program but may need more help in transitioning back home. Sometimes teens transitioning from a wilderness or residential treatment environment believe that they need a more structured environment than their home environment can offer. When residents first arrive at Journey Home, we provide the structure they need to begin their transition back into the “real world”. As residents progress through the program, they are given more and more independence with the intention of boosting confidence and self-efficacy.
Journey Home West is nestled in the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains, offering countless outdoor year-round activities. Journey Home West focuses on healthy living, education, responsibilities, and social integration as key components of the program. Young people leave this program feeling empowered, happy, and healthy. We can help your family today!
For more information please contact us at (801) 444-0794.