All the successful relationships I know of are made up of one rock and one kite…
The Rocks in Relationships
The rock is the one that thinks with their head and not their heart, (do NOT read “heartless” or “cold-hearted” here), can be counted on to tell you the truth even when you don’t want to hear it, can handle the truth even when it’s not pretty, and always seems to have their feet firmly on the ground. This person has firm beliefs (I did NOT say “narrow-minded”), morals, and ideals. They are extremely loyal and dedicated to their partner. They are also very appreciative of the role that their kite plays in their relationship.
The Kites in Relationships
The kite, on the other hand, likes to soar. This person has a great imagination, is often creative, is a bit of a dreamer, and can be impulsive. Many decisions, good and bad, are made based on emotion. Kites love to meet new people, take on new challenges, and rise to the occasion. They often need to be tugged back to the ground (read “reality” here) by their rock before they make irreversible and expensive mistakes.
Which are You?
I am well aware of which one I am and am extremely grateful that my husband is my rock. The voice of reason coupled with unconditional love and support has helped me through the most challenging and stressful times in my life to date.
Which one are you? The rock or the kite? Whichever you are, make sure you have the other in your relationship to complement each other for success.
Look around you, how many successful relationships that you know of do not have one rock and one kite?
Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus is the name of a best selling book authored by John Gray back in 2012. It is a great communication guide for couples, with the focus on understanding how the other thinks and feels. Far from rocket science, but important in the evolution and success of relationships.
I learned long ago, early on in my 37+ year marriage, how to get my husband to do the things I need him to do to keep our household running smoothly. The solution was/is simple. Ask for help and tell your partner how you feel. Communicate what works for you as a couple. And what does not!
Many of us women were raised to believe we have to do everything (household chores) ourselves if we want things done properly. This may have worked early in the last century, but modern women are busier than ever and smarter than that. So are men.
In defence of the men in that generation, they were raised to believe similar rubbish. Chauvinism was rampant. My husband was one of them, so were my three brothers. My mother and mother-in-law were clones of June Cleaver, looking after their children and their homes while their husbands worked outside of the home. Things got more complicated, not to mention stressful, when both mothers went back to work as soon as their youngest child was in school. All of a sudden they each had two full time jobs. My sisters and I were recruited to help out, but the males of the family were exempt.
If I learned nothing else from that experience, it was that I would not accept that archaic mentality in a partner. Making that decision a reality was tricky, but we managed to figure it out. I used to slam cupboard doors and stomp around when I was angry and frustrated with his (perceived) inability to recognize necessary household chores.
I would like to say I straightened him out, but must admit he figured it out faster than I did. He did notice the slamming doors and stomping feet after all, so made the first step by admitting his need for me to communicate (verbally) exactly what I wanted him to do. This must be why “honey do lists” became so popular. He was quite happy to “help” although learned fast that he was merely pulling his weight rather than helping. This was especially important when our three sons were young and our household was very busy.
Our sons have all grown up and moved out, with two of them proud fathers themselves. That means our family of five has extended to a family of twelve. So when we entertain the gang, I am traditionally the cook and hubby is the cleaner upper before and afterwards. Works for me!
Men have (thankfully) evolved over the years, into caring and nurturing fathers, husbands and partners. And women have evolved by losing the martyr act and encouraging their men in these roles without losing any of their superhero powers.
As the picture above indicates, successful foreplay doesn’t have to come in the form of candy, flowers or sweet nothings whispered in our ears. Unless of course that is what you need; everyone is different. Me, I believe actions speak louder than words and gifts. I feel participating in cooking, kitchen cleanup, bath time and bed time routines is far more effective.
The moral of this story? Men may still be from Mars and women from Venus, but we can successfully co-exist on Earth if we communicate!
The thought process in the languages of love theory is that people vary in what they need from their partner to make them happy and content in a relationship. The five options or “languages” are listed as:
words of affirmation
acts of service
How to Use the Languages of Love
Simply put, if you want to be in a successful relationship, you have to know what your partner’s love language is and make sure your partner knows what your love language is, especially if they differ. Since both people in a relationship can come from different upbringings, backgrounds, cultures, etc, their individual love languages will often be different. Acknowledging that your partner has a different love language than you do appears to be the first step towards a successful relationship.
I would imagine that some people are content with just one language of love while others need more than one. That’s where it might get tricky as your job in a successful relationship is to provide what your partner needs. Some people are needier than others and needs do change throughout life. Be aware of changing needs on both sides and be prepared to adjust accordingly. Frequent re-evaluation is highly recommended.
Do Your Homework
If you are not sure what your language of love is, ask yourself what makes you feel loved. What makes you feel unloved is important too.
Do your homework. Find out what your partner’s language of love is. Make sure they know what yours is. Be sure to ask them theirs and tell them yours so there is no room for misunderstanding. Do not assume you know theirs or they know yours.
My Language of Love
I know my language of love is “acts of service.” I don’t need expensive gifts or fancy words or someone to hold my hand. I do however like to know that when I need support or something (that I cannot do myself) done, I know where to turn.
“Acts of service” sound very rigid, almost implying contractual services. I’m pretty sure the experts do not mean that instead mean sharing duties or things that need to get done in a household. Things such as:
household chores like cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping
parenting things (I won’t call them chores) like playing, feeding, bathing, bedtime routines
shovelling snow and cleaning off vehicles (although I do love to shovel for exercisein the winter)
I am so impressed with how the younger generation has removed the gender-based roles in relationships. I know, I am dating myself. No longer is it only the mother/woman’s role to cook, clean, look after the kids while the father/man’s role is to go to work outside the home. Part of this evolution came about with the increase in double-income families, but another is acceptance, acknowledgment, respect, and compromise. I am so proud of my two oldest sons who have embraced this evolution, actively and emotionally committing to their roles as daddy and husband/partner.
I broaden the term “service” to includeacts of kindness too. Nothing (to me) is more attractive (on anyone) than kindness. Conversely, meanness is very unattractive.
My Parents’ Language of Love
So, how do we develop our own language of love? Do we inherit it from our parents, like we inherit eye colour and other physical characteristics or interests and talents?
I assume my own preference is because my parents (at least in my perception of their relationship) used that method to show they loved each other and our family. We were not ones to express our love verbally, in fact, I don’t remember either of my parents ever saying “I love you” to each other or to us kids. But they both worked outside the home (my mom only after my youngest brother started school) to provide a home, food, and clothing for our family.
Were my parents happy in their relationship? Not always. I do know my father was devastated when my mother passed away, and her last words to me were “look after your father.”
Actions speak louder than words.
Raising our own Children
That language of love witnessed in my childhood (my husband was raised similarly) is most likely why we raised our children with the “acts of service” language. We knew no different. I know my children know we would do anything for them, still, even though they are now self-sufficient. Is that because we told them that fact often? No, but I hope we showed them with our actions.
I admit that I never gave much thought about what they needed or still need to feel loved, just assumed they knew/know.
I probably do not tell them I love them often enough; it is hard to teach an old dog new tricks.