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[personal profile] bravocharliesierra
There is apparently some conflict over Zuckerberg's relationship agreement
with his wife.<http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2012/05/23/facebook-founders-relationship-agreement-sparks-discussion/>

I actually think a relationship agreement, for people in high-stress, busy
lives, is a GREAT idea. Legally enforceable? No, but it helps to set
relationship expectations and gives you something to return to to
reevaluate what may be failing when you are having relationship trouble.

Think of it from this perspective: It helps you be mindful of what your
partner needs.

Dr. Gary Chapman has written about five "love
languages"<http://www.5lovelanguages.com/learn-the-languages/the-five-love-languages/>
-

*Words of Affirmation*

Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love
> language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words,
> “I love you,” are important—hearing the reasons behind that love sends your
> spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily
> forgotten.


> *Quality Time*

In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full,
> undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but
> really being there—with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and
> tasks on standby—makes your significant other feel truly special and loved.
> Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially
> hurtful.


> *Receiving Gifts*

Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts
> thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you
> speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known,
> you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to
> bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty,
> thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday
> gestures.


> *Acts of Service*

Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely!
> Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts
> of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to
> hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making
> more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t
> matter.


> *Physical Touch*

This language isn’t all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language
> is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the
> back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or
> face—they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love.
> Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can
> be unforgivable and destructive.



I learned about these at Strong Bonds, and I think they are one of the most
valuable things I learned about in those sessions. Why are these important,
and what do they have to do with relationship agreements?

I think communication is one of the most important things in relationships
(second to trust), and the evidence provided by researchers certainly
supports that idea. These love languages force us to understand our own
preferences, and what makes us happy in a relationship and what makes us
feel loved, and also push us to listen to what our partner cares about,
what makes them feel valued and loved. Maybe your partner really needs to
hear you say "I love you" every day. Or, maybe they need you to hug them or
give them a kiss in the morning to feel like they really are loved. I, for
example, feel the most loved when TGW makes me a cup of coffee - especially
if it is without me asking - and I need to hear him say he loves me a *lot*.
He likes hugs and when I actually sit and listen to him and focus on him
(quality time).

You could easily use these love languages to establish a relationship
agreement. Maybe you need to have a specific amount of time each day or
each week where you sit and listen to your partner talk about something, or
where you do something very special for them - even if it is just something
simple like rubbing their shoulders while they work on a project or telling
them something to express how you feel about them. People in busy
lifestyles really can forget these little things.

Imagine how busy Mark Zuckerberg must be. It is hard even without being an
executive to find time for dates, dinner together, and simple
taking-care-of-each-other measures. I can't fathom how easy it must be with
his schedule to lose sight of how much time he needs to spend with a
significant other - even if he wants to, he has a business to run and many
people are motivated by the desire to maintain a happy lifestyle for their
partner, with the thinking that if they don't keep their lifestyle, the
partner may not have the things they want to be happy. It is an easy trap.
But, with a relationship agreement, it says:

"This is what is important to me. Set aside time for these things, and then
> we can be flexible with everything else. This is what kind of love I need,
> what kind of time and effort I require from you to be happy."


They say relationships are hard and that they don't come with a manual.
Wouldn't a relationship agreement kind of be like a manual? I think I want
to make one with TGW, even just an informal one. With our busy schedule, I
think we could really benefit from it. Revisiting our love languages like
we did when we first got married and setting goals with those can help us
to be happy and fulfilled, and happiness is *always* the right goal.


-bcs
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