Do you feel like you have been existing in a B-minus marriage for way too many years? Or does your relationship in later life feel like it just idles along? You know you need an upgrade, but “let’s talk” can arouse anxiety and put spouses on the defensive.
Diving into heavy discussion isn’t always required when it comes to improving your relationship.
Instead, think about approaching your partner with a “spirit of generosity” — something that is particularly effective when both spouses sign on. The goal is to give to your partner without resentment and without tracking what you are getting in return. Be wary of acting out people-pleasing tendencies: True generosity emerges when a person is feeling self-confident and calm, and giving without obligation.
But how does this work in real life? One way to be generous with a spouse is to use the framework laid out by author and relationship pastor Gary Chapman. In his iconic relationship book The Five Love Languages, Chapman notes that each person has a specific way they prefer being loved: words of affirmation, touch, quality time, gifts or acts of service.
Couples can tap into these five love languages to fully communicate “you matter to me.”
To do this, imagine you are making a deposit into your partner’s emotional piggy bank every day. Consider these love language deposits. Here are five ways to do it:
AARP Membership — $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal
Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP the Magazine.