Finding the Right Love Language for a Loved One in Recovery

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 If someone you love is in recovery, it is important to know how to effectively give them the love that they need to make it through hard times. There are multiple ways that you can make someone feel loved and supported. A love language is a way a person receives and understands love from other people. Historic author Gary Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages sparked widespread interest in love languages and how to use them effectively. Chapman’s approach is built on five major love languages: words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, physical touch, and gifts.

Understanding your partner’s love languages can have an enormous impact on your relationship. If someone’s love language isn’t being spoken, it can seem like they can’t receive your love, no matter how hard you try. A healthy relationship develops when both partners feel accepted and appreciated. Understanding one another’s love languages can help improve any relationship and can play an even more vital role if your loved one is struggling with anxiety, depression, or addiction.

Words of Affirmation

People with this love language need positive verbal acknowledgment. If your partner is battling anxiety, depression, or addiction, you can make them feel supported by writing them sweet letters or text messages. This approach places emphasis on the power of words, so try to be careful and sensitive with the words you choose to say to your loved one to make sure you communicate the love and affection you feel for them.

People whose love language includes words of affirmation tend to find fulfillment in positive reinforcement like compliments, praise, or verbal appreciation. Even if words don’t mean as much to you, use this knowledge of your partner to help them succeed and strengthen your relationship. Examples of words of affirmation for a loved one dealing with anxiety, depression, or recovery from addiction can include:

  • “Tell me how you feel.”
  • “I just wanted to let you know that I am proud of you.”
  • “I am proud of you because…”
  • “I believe in you.”
  • “You are more than your anxiety.”
  • “You will beat this addiction.”
  • “I love seeing you happy.”

Quality Time

This love language is more than just sitting in the same room: it entails active listening, eye contact, and complete presence at the moment. People with this love language are soothed and bolstered by spending quality time with the people they care about the most. Quality time can play an especially important role for someone struggling with anxiety, depression, or addiction. Fighting these battles can make a person feel deeply alone, which is a dangerous factor that can quickly lead to destructive thoughts or behavior if left unchecked. Spending quality time with your loved ones can show them that you care and give them the chance to open up to you about their innermost thoughts. If quality time is your loved one’s primary love language, cut out every distraction and focus on each other.

Acts of Service

Someone with this love language values when you go out of your way to assist them.  Acts of service can include bringing your partner breakfast in bed, washing their car, or doing a household chore you know they dislike. This is the love language for those who feel that actions speak louder than words. If your partner is battling a mental disorder or addiction, relevant acts of service might be going with them to therapy, picking up their medication, or playing an active role in dealing with social situations that you know might affect them negatively. While it might seem like acts of service are an opposite love language to words of affirmation, in some cases, your partner might want both. That’s normal. People can benefit from a combination of two or more love languages; everyone experiences affection in their own way.

Gifts and Physical Touch

Giving gifts is a clear-cut love language. It means that your partner interprets the gifts you give them as a symbol of love. While this could include any form of a gift, for many people, gifts are made much more special if there is significant meaning or timing behind them. Getting a gift for your partner after they complete therapy or a 12-Step program can mean a lot to someone with this love language.

Like gift-giving, physical touch is a straightforward love language to understand. While nearly every romantic relationship incorporates some degree of physical intimacy, this love language means that things like kissing, holding hands, cuddling and hugging, all make them feel loved and valued. You might be surprised to find that a kiss or a few minutes spent cuddling can reverse your partner’s depressive episodes, especially if that wouldn’t be enough to help you in the same position, but if that’s their love language, then that’s what they need.

One popular way of looking at love in a romantic relationship is to identify one another’s love languages: the means by which a person can receive love from others. Even if you don’t receive love in the same ways, being able to make your partner feel supported and cared for is a major part of a healthy relationship. Learning your partner’s love languages can play an important role in helping them cope with mental disorders or addiction. If you or your loved one are struggling, it’s crucial to surround yourself with a strong group of people who support you and can make you feel worthwhile. You don’t have to face your obstacles on your own. Kimberly Center in Fort Myers, Florida, can provide treatment and care to help you overcome any challenges and build a healthy life. You and your partner are capable of making powerful changes and achieving long-term happiness. Contact us at (855) 452-3683 to learn more.

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