love languages

The Five Love Languages for Successful Couples

WHY ARE THE 5 LOVE LANGUAGES SO IMPORTANT?

In all my years of counseling, diverse couples, marriages, and partners, it’s become clear that everyone benefits when they begin to apply them in all their relationships.

Rarely do couples share the same love language. It can create a lot of frustration when you think you are doing a good job expressing love and yet the other person is just not feeling it. If you don’t understand the love language concept, then you can feel stuck. But it, you understand that they speak a different language, then you can learn to speak that language.

 

WHAT ARE THE 5 LOVE LANGUAGES?

The love languages were originally written by marriage therapist Dr. Gary Chapman in his book, The Five Love Languages. The book has a religious theme that doesn’t resonate with many of my clients, but the foundation of this basic couples theory still offers important guidance. 

Basically, there are five main ways we demonstrate love in relationships.  Everyone has a need for all five languages, but each of us prefer one of these more than others. Usually each individual values one or two of the five more than the others.

Most of us communicate love to our partners primarily through our preferred love language- which doesn’t always match our partner’s preference. This miscommunication means sometimes our efforts go unacknowledged.  And sometimes we don’t see all the love our partner is throwing our way.

Sometimes we can have trouble connecting with love even if it is all around us.

IDENTIFYING YOUR LOVE LANGUAGE…

Think of a time you felt truly loved in your relationship. You were sure your partner loved you dearly. What were they doing? What specific actions did they take? Why were these actions important or meaningful to you?

Or think about daydreams or fantasies you have about being well-loved. What’s going on?  How does the person in your dream tell or show you they care?

Now read the languages below to see which best fits with the scenario you described above.

Most people enjoy all of these Love Languages but you will see one or two of them are especially important. Knowing which is your primary or favorite helps your partner better connect with you when showing love.

Knowing which is your least priority helps you identify loving practices you might overlook in partnership.

Your preferred Love Language can change over time, of course, so identifying it clearly and talking about it with a partner will help you two connect in more meaningful loving ways.  

Focus on the love you share this week with this framework in mind and watch what happens!  


 entrepreneur relationships | couples who are entrepreneurs

Gina Senarighi has been supporting loving couples and healthy teams for nearly twenty years. As a former couples therapist turned retreat coach, workshop facilitator, and author she's transformed partnerships, leaders and communication strategy all over the world.  

Her uniquely non-judgmental, inclusive approach to couples work puts even the most concerned participants at ease.  She's not your average sit-and-nod supporter- she'll hold hope even when it's hard and always help you grow. 

Call for a consultation to see how she can help you deepen connection, communicate effectively, and passionately reignite your relationship.

31 Creative Ways to Say "I Love You"

All too often we forget to show the ones we love how important they are to us. So here are 31 creative ways to say “I love you” to get you through the start of 2017.

Hopefully these starters will get ideas rolling to last you the next 365!

Creative Ways to Say I Love You

  • Watch a sunset or sunrise together and bring a picnic or background music to set the mood.  Check for sunrise or sunset times in advance!

  • Make a love note scavenger hunt hiding sweet reminders and rewards in your home, office, or neighborhood.

  • Read bedtime stories. Pick a favorite book and read aloud together. Quality time together and the expansion of your individual/collective knowledge bases.
  • Send an e-greeting.  Someecards is my personal favorite for snarkiness, and you can personalize them!
  • Write it in the sand.  Or the fall leaves, or seashells, or shoes boxes, or rose petals….
  • Unplug.  Set up a media free night and focus 100% of your attention on your honey.
  • Write it in lipstick on the mirror.  Even if you aren’t the one who wears lipstick (or neither of you do).
  • Share five minutes of uninterrupted eye contact. Try it and see what happens.
  • Throw a surprise appreciation party with close friends where everyone gives a short speech about why someone is loved.
  • Plan your sweetheart’s dream date. Do exactly what they love to do, with no strings attached.
  • Write it in the snow (no, not like that).  If you live somewhere cold, use food coloring and a spray bottle to write sweet words in your love’s yard. These folks did it with spray paint.
  • Make a calendar.  Use your google or iCal or Outlook or whatever, and make a note every day of one thing you appreciate about your special someone.  Make sure you share it so they can see!
  • Re-live your first date, or meeting.  Remember the details and try to line things up with meaning.  If it was awkward, stage a re-do.
  • Love all over.  Trace your sweetie’s body and fill in the outline with all the awesome things you appreciate about their body.
  • Make a homemade thank you card.  Get out your markers, glitter, and crayons!  What a sweet (and sparkly) way to say something kind to someone you love!
  • Write out an alphabet of appreciation. Make a list of something you appreciate about your sweetheart for every letter of the alphabet.
  • Be the Grocery Fairy.  For those of you who prefer “acts of service” as your love language- surprise a lover with a week’s worth of fresh groceries.  Don’t forget the note from Grocery Fairy!
  • Bake it.  Say it in cookies, frosting, cakes, or pie tops.  Make your sweeties favorite sugary treat and top it with your love.
  • Make a modern mixtape. Curate hand-picked tracks for your honey, to let them know you’re thinking of them!
  • Hand write a letter explaining why you love someone—and be specific.
  • Dedicate and perform a karaoke song to your beloved.  Dance moves always help.
  • Goodnight love note. Hide a love note under their pillow.  Better yet, make them alove note pillow.
  • Go international.  Surprise them with an “I love you” in another language.  Usegoogle translate to get your pronunciation right!
  • Host a personalized movie marathon. Arrange a marathon of your sweetheart’s favorite films from their childhood or college days.  Don’t forget the popcorn!
  • Home movies. Use iMovie to piece together a collection of reasons why you appreciate your sweetheart and upload to vimeo.
  • Breakfast in bed.  You can even make pancakes or toast that say it for you.
  • Written on the body.  Write a love note on your body and have a scavenger hunt for your lover to find it!
  • Make a love map.  Not the Gottman Love Map you hear me talking about all the time, instead this time get a map and stick a pin in it for each of your travels.  If you have yet to go far, stick another color in for your future travels!
  • Play it out.  Make a crossword or word search puzzle of your favorite inside jokes.
  • Send a panty-gram.  Yes.  That’s what it said.

Start loving more creatively today!  Pick something above, or submit your own creative way to say I love you in the comments.


 relationship coach | positive psychology | happy couples | couples retreat

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC has helped thousands of couples review their growth together, and renew their connection moving forward. 

For nearly 15 years she's specialized in strengths-focused, positive psychology-based relationship advice and coaching to nurture lasting joy and and resilience in her client's relationships.  

She will help you:

  • develop a shared vision and goals- and create actionable steps to move in that direction
  • overcome outdated patterns and establish new intentional, healthy ones
  • strengthen trust or repair it after infidelity or dishonesty
  • connect in meaningful ways during and well after life transitions
  • design rituals of connection that will keep you close for many years
  • break stale or unhealthy communication patterns and learn new skills 

Contact her for a free consultation to see if working with her is right for you.

Fall Relationship Bucket List

We all need new adventures to keep things lively- relationships are no different.  

Every couple I work with creates a relationship bucket list of their own, filled with ideas and dreams to share.  It helps you get to know one another, reconnect, and build a shared vision of your future. 

Plus it's fun.

[Check out the other seasonal lists right here]

If you need some ideas to get started writing your relationship bucket list here are a few from my winter-themed list to get you going.  

Just download the image below and use it to help you try something new together.


life coach | relationship coach | couples coach | couples retreats | positive psychology

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC has helped thousands of couples review their growth together, and renew their connection moving forward. 

For nearly 15 years she's specialized in strengths-focused, positive psychology-based relationship advice and coaching to nurture lasting joy and and resilience in her client's relationships.  

She will help you:

  • develop a shared vision and goals- and create actionable steps to move in that direction
  • overcome outdated patterns and establish new intentional, healthy ones
  • strengthen trust or repair it after infidelity or dishonesty
  • connect in meaningful ways during and well after life transitions
  • design rituals of connection that will keep you close for many years
  • break stale or unhealthy communication patterns and learn new skills 

Contact her for a free consultation to see if working with her is right for you.

Nine Simple Ways to Build Closer Relationships

Staying in love long-term takes intentional action every day.  It doesn't have to take a lot of work, but by keeping these things in mind you'll be a dream partner to your sweetie.

Apologize

Strong relationships are based on trust and accountability.  Being a great partner means owning when you've hurt someone, taking accountability, and moving forward.  Try apologizing with more clarity next time (here are a few tips).

Breathe Before Responding

Most conflicts could be resolved if we just slowed down and thought things through before reacting.  Take a breath before you respond from now moving forward and notice what shifts between you.

Take Care of Yourself

If you aren't taking care of yourself you can't properly take care of your love.  Period.  Prioritize your self-care as a means to nourish your relationship.  

Make Their Day

Stop and ask yourself, what one thing might brighten my sweetie's day- and then do it.  Maybe it's a love note, a clean house, or a special song no matter what it is we all like to enjoy a special treat once in a while.  Surprise them with something new.

Show Affection

Not all communication is verbal- having strong kinesthetic communication strengthens relationships too.  Ask your partner what their favorite kind of affection is, and then follow up by doing it.  

Think Kind Thoughts

Resentment likes to build up even without our partners' help.  Notice when you start dwelling on negative thoughts, criticisms, or complaints you have about your partner and force yourself to think nice thoughts for each negative thought you're holding.

Consider their POV

When you're in conflict make sure you take your partner's feelings and ideas into consideration.  It's going to be very difficult to move forward until you do.

Compliment Them

Often as a relationship grows we forget to tell our partner the things we love about them- specifically, in person, and with words.  Take the five seconds to nourish your relationship right now- just tell them why you love them.

Share Gratitude Openly

Strong couples share genuine appreciation and gratitude regularly.  Start a daily gratitude practice and share something you're grateful for to help you stay close.

I hope these suggestions help you create a partnership you love.  Here's a version you can print for your fridge if you want a little hanging reminder to help you get into strong practices that nurture your relationship.


 positive psychology | love coach | relationship coach | couples coach | couples retreat

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC has helped thousands of couples review their growth together, and renew their connection moving forward. 

For nearly 15 years she's specialized in strengths-focused, positive psychology-based relationship advice and coaching to nurture lasting joy and and resilience in her client's relationships.  

She will help you:

  • develop a shared vision and goals- and create actionable steps to move in that direction
  • overcome outdated patterns and establish new intentional, healthy ones
  • strengthen trust or repair it after infidelity or dishonesty
  • connect in meaningful ways during and well after life transitions
  • design rituals of connection that will keep you close for many years
  • break stale or unhealthy communication patterns and learn new skills 

Contact her for a free consultation to see if working with her is right for you.

Healthy Relationships: The Five Love Languages

In my coaching, I have found it particularly useful for couples to understand and integrate the Five Love Languages.  Gary Chapman (author of The Five Love Languages) says that there are five main ways individuals express and receive love.  Each of us has a preference for with language we receive.  We are also each more skilled in giving love in one of these ways than the other.

The trick is that we are most likely to give love in the forms that we most enjoy receiving.  But our partner may have a different preferred language and may miss our attempts at showing our love, or may give love in a way we aren't even realizing!

To clarify your preference take a few notes on the following questions:

1.  What is the sweetest thing your partner has ever done for you?  What made it so touching?

2.  What are the five most recent ways you showed your partner you love them?  How did they respond?

This information will help you determine your preferred love language.  Often we default to our own favorite love language when giving love to our partner.  However, its important to try to use a variety of ways to show your sweetheart you care.  Its even more helpful to learn their preference and try to work in ways they will really enjoy being loved.

The Five Love Languages are:

1.  Words of Love: Sweet things said or written to one another

There are many ways to share words of love.  It's really helpful to share affirmations and appreciations every day.  Tell your partner why they are special to you and what drew you to them.  Help them see how great they are in person and in writing.  Emails, texts, quick phone calls or Skype dates can quickly warm your loved ones' heart.  It can take a little creativity if this isn't your primary love language.  Make a list of all the ways you can tell them and begin making attempts every day.  You might want to make them a card, write it on a cake, read it in a poem, or shout it from the rooftop!

2.  Physical Affection: Nonverbal physical intimacy

Do you hold hands in the movies?  Do you kiss hello and goodbye?  hugging, cuddling, and sex is especially important to partners who prioritize this love language.  Increasing the amount of loving touch you share doesn't take much time, but may require a little thought, especially if this isn’t your primary love language or you didn’t grow up in a physically affectionate family.  Simply sitting close to each other as you watch TV requires no additional time, but can communicate your love loudly.

3.  Acts of Service: Actions providing care for the other

Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an a partner who highly values acts of service will speak volumes. Some of the words they most want to hear are, “Let me do that for you.”  Ask yourself, what chore or responsibility is your partner constantly nagging you about?  Your spouse is telling you this particular task as a really important thing to him or her.  Try it as a starting point for your acts of service.

4.  Quality Time: The gift of your undivided attention

Time is a strong communicator of love and all too often couples spend more time apart than together.   Because we are drawn in so many directions it is especially important to spend real-time focused on each other and your partnership.  In order to increase connection and communication for the partner who especially values quality time there are a few easy ways to improve the quality of your shared time.

  • Set your electronic devices aside for a set time (especially on dates and during conversations).
  • Maintain eye contact when your partner is talking
  • Try not to interrupt
  • Reflect your partners words back to them so they know you hear them.
  • Ask yourself, what your partner is experiencing, and try to confirm their emotional experience

5.  Gifts: Gestures and/or presents as symbols of your love

All five love languages challenge us to give to our spouse, but for some, receiving gifts, visible symbols of love, speaks the loudest.  This does not have to be a materialistic gesture.  Some of the most meaningful gifts can include tickets to a show you loved together, or a receipt from a date when you were just getting to know each other.  They can be flowers from your yard, or drawings, or poems.  Keep a note of your partners wish list (Evernote can be a great tool for this on your smart phone) so you always have ideas handy.

Understanding the five love languages and the ways they support your love can lead to greater creativity, interest, and most importantly awareness in your relationship.

50 Free and Cheap Super Dates in Portland

Keeping the romance alive can be easier than you might think.  Portland (and the areas close-by) is completely FILLED with great date opportunities for you and your sweetie to reconnect and adventure.  

Here's a list of 50 free summer date ideas (and around) in Portland this summer:

Soak together

There are TONS of incredible hot springs near Portland and across the state.  Hike in and soak with your special someone!  Here's a great list with a map!

Eat local

If you're a foodie you know Portland is a great place to eat.  But the summer produce from local farmers makes it even better for food-inspired folks.  Go to any of the farmer's markets to taste or challenge yourself to see new parts of town by attending all the markets on this map this summer.

Watch a movie

Portland parks shows free movies all over the city three and four nights a week.  Bring a blanket and your favorite movie snacks and watch a silly show with your neighbors.  Here's the whole list.

You can also attend the rooftop movies at Hotel DeLuxfor a more grown up movie night.

Go swimming

There are over 6000 lakes in Oregon.  Start with a visit to any of the lakes on this list of 60 great summer swimming spots!

You can also attend the Chunky Dunk, or Naked Goddess Swim, if that floats your boat.

Picnic in the parks

One of my creative couples started checking off a list of every park in Portland last summer.  Their goal?  Visit every park with a picnic basket.  There are 279 parks in town- so this adventure list could keep you busy for a while!

Attend the symphony

Oregon Symphony puts on a show at Tom McCall Waterfront park for 20,000 Portlanders every summer.  You should check it out.  Here's the deets.

The Portland Festival Symphony puts on five additional shows in various parks throughout the city.  Check out the listing here.

River Festival

Free music and performances at the gorgeous Cathedral Park.  Come dance with your sweetie and celebrate how beautiful the Willamette is!

Eat some berries

Oregon overflows with berries in the summer and there are a lot of fun ways to eat them.  Attend the berry festival, go to u-pick farms near town, or wander one of the great berry picking spots off trails with your honey.

Beachcombing

Oregon is one of the best places to beach comb around.  Head to the coast at any of these spots to find agates, jasper, shells and more.

Street Fairs

I cannot believe how many neighborhood street fairs happen in Portland.  It seems like there's one every weekend.  If you've missed the early ones this summer don't worry you can still check out any of these:

Clinton/Division Street Fair

Fremont Fest Street Fair

Mississippi Street Fair

Soapbox Derby

Yes, Portland is home to an annual Adult Soapbox Derby, and if you get there early enough you can watch other adults zoom past- narrowly avoiding fate with hundreds of other onlookers.

Dessert date

Pix patisserie hosts Wednesday beer garden movie nights with free popcorn all summer.  Get something sweet for your sweetie.

Vegas in Portland

Tony Starlight is Portland's best answer to the glory of old Las Vegas.  You can pay for a show throughout the year, or attend the free Fernhill Park show this July.

Support state parks

My partner and I started this adventure list a while ago and it has given us so many beautiful days.  Support the state parks by hiking, camping, fishing, riding through or cleaning up any of the parks listed here.

Concert lunch date

Pioneer Square hosts noon concerts all summer.  Meet your sweetie for a nooner lunch date and check out the show.

Mermaid Parade

Either attend or dress yourselves up (or both) for the mermaid parade this year.  That simple- Mermaid pride!

Smell the roses

If you're into flowers- but not able to buy them consider a trip to the rose garden.  There are thousands of flowers for you and your sweetheart to choose favorites from.  

Obon Festival

The Oregon Buddhist Temple shares a traditional Japanese holiday with Portland each year.  Bring your sweetie and try something different.

See some art

Portland is such a great city for artists.  You can support art in every neighborhood.  Attend Last Thursday on Alberta, or First Thursday in the Pearl.  Or go to one of the free days at the Portland Art Museum.

Fossil Festival

Attend the Northwests Largest Fossil Festival and geek out together over the incredible diversity of rocks, gemstones, and fossils found in our home state.

Go for a ride

Portland Parkways is a program held by Portland Parks and Rec every year to quiet a neighborhood and give space for pedal-powered riders.  Bring your bike and a lunch and watch a zillion toddlers learn to pedal.  

Float the river

There are so many ways to float the rivers in and near portland.  You could attend the Big Float in town or head outside the city to float the Clackamas or the Sandy River.

India Festival

Celebrate Indian cultural heritage with other Portlanders at Pioneer Park- it's totally free.  

Nude not lewd

If your relationship is ready for public nudity, there are two clothing-optional beaches near Portland, Collins on Sauvies and Rooster Rock.  Both have cheap day-use fees ($5 and $7 respectively) so you can really soak in the sun.

Highland Games

Okay, it's not free- but it sounded so fun I had to include it.  Attend the Scottish Highland Games in Greshambecause it's that fun.

Take a hike

Oregon is arguably the most beautiful state to live in.  Get outside together to enjoy the beauty!  Here's a list of 75 awesome day hikes in driving distance of Portland.


 positive psychology | couples retreat | relationship coach | couples coach

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC has helped thousands of couples review their growth together, and renew their connection moving forward. 

For nearly 15 years she's specialized in strengths-focused, positive psychology-based relationship advice and coaching to nurture lasting joy and and resilience in her client's relationships.  

She will help you:

  • develop a shared vision and goals- and create actionable steps to move in that direction
  • overcome outdated patterns and establish new intentional, healthy ones
  • strengthen trust or repair it after infidelity or dishonesty
  • connect in meaningful ways during and well after life transitions
  • design rituals of connection that will keep you close for many years
  • break stale or unhealthy communication patterns and learn new skills 

Contact her for a free consultation to see if working with her is right for you.

Winter Relationship Bucket List

We all need new adventures to keep things lively- relationships are no different.  

Every couple I work with creates a relationship bucket list of their own, filled with ideas and dreams to share.  It helps you get to know one another, reconnect, and build a shared vision of your future. 

Plus it's fun.

[Check out the other seasonal lists right here]

If you need some ideas to get started writing your relationship bucket list here are a few from my winter-themed list to get you going.  

Just download the image below and use it to help you try something new together.


 couples coach | couples retreat | crelationship coach | relationship retreat | happiness | positive psychology

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC has helped thousands of couples review their growth together, and renew their connection moving forward. 

For nearly 15 years she's specialized in strengths-focused, positive psychology-based relationship advice and coaching to nurture lasting joy and and resilience in her client's relationships.  

She will help you:

  • develop a shared vision and goals- and create actionable steps to move in that direction
  • overcome outdated patterns and establish new intentional, healthy ones
  • strengthen trust or repair it after infidelity or dishonesty
  • connect in meaningful ways during and well after life transitions
  • design rituals of connection that will keep you close for many years
  • break stale or unhealthy communication patterns and learn new skills 

Contact her for a free consultation to see if working with her is right for you.

Summer Relationship Bucket List

We all need new adventures to keep things lively- relationships are no different.  

Every couple I work with creates a relationship bucket list of their own, filled with ideas and dreams to share.  It helps you get to know one another, reconnect, and build a shared vision of your future. 

Plus it's fun.

[Check out the other seasonal lists right here]

If you need some ideas to get started writing your relationship bucket list here are a few from my winter-themed list to get you going.  

Just download the image below and use it to help you try something new together.


 relationship coach | couples coach | couples retreat | positive psychology | life coach 

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC has helped thousands of couples review their growth together, and renew their connection moving forward. 

For nearly 15 years she's specialized in strengths-focused, positive psychology-based relationship advice and coaching to nurture lasting joy and and resilience in her client's relationships.  

She will help you:

  • develop a shared vision and goals- and create actionable steps to move in that direction
  • overcome outdated patterns and establish new intentional, healthy ones
  • strengthen trust or repair it after infidelity or dishonesty
  • connect in meaningful ways during and well after life transitions
  • design rituals of connection that will keep you close for many years
  • break stale or unhealthy communication patterns and learn new skills 

Contact her for a free consultation to see if working with her is right for you.

Spring Relationship Bucket List

We all need new adventures to keep things lively- relationships are no different.  

Every couple I work with creates a relationship bucket list of their own, filled with ideas and dreams to share.  It helps you get to know one another, reconnect, and build a shared vision of your future. 

Plus it's fun.

[Check out the other seasonal lists right here]

If you need some ideas to get started writing your relationship bucket list here are a few from my winter-themed list to get you going.  

Just download the image below and use it to help you try something new together.


 relationship coach | couples coach | couples retreat | relationship retreat | happy relationships

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC has helped thousands of couples review their growth together, and renew their connection moving forward. 

For nearly 15 years she's specialized in strengths-focused, positive psychology-based relationship advice and coaching to nurture lasting joy and and resilience in her client's relationships.  

She will help you:

  • develop a shared vision and goals- and create actionable steps to move in that direction
  • overcome outdated patterns and establish new intentional, healthy ones
  • strengthen trust or repair it after infidelity or dishonesty
  • connect in meaningful ways during and well after life transitions
  • design rituals of connection that will keep you close for many years
  • break stale or unhealthy communication patterns and learn new skills 

Contact her for a free consultation to see if working with her is right for you.