In English, we use the word love to describe a variety of emotional states. Are we talking about passionate love, intimate love, committed love, unconditional love or do you tell somebody that you love them simply as a term of endearment? Some people grew up hearing “I love you” on a daily basis in their family, while others are still waiting for the day that their parent may finally utter those three simple words that they have been craving since childhood. Tony talks about Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love, and how not only our interpretation of the word, or concept of love, as well as how we put “love” into action can go a long way in describing our relationships...from where they are now, to what you may long for. (Tony refers to the article https://www.elitesingles.com/mag/relationship-advice/consummate-love throughout the episode).
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[00:00:00] So I've shared on many, many occasions that I spent 10 years in the computer industry before I went back to school and got my master's in counseling, which started me on the journey to where I am today. And while I can't even imagine what would have happened if I hadn't changed careers almost 20 years ago now I'll admit that they were some fun times in the computer industry. Sometimes I feel like I make it sound like it was all horrible, but I got to travel and I traveled a ton. I traveled the world literally. I know I went to Japan over 30 times and I went all throughout Europe and China and Russia and back and forth across the United States more than I would even care to count. And there were some good stories that went along with that, too. I had an experience once in the world renowned Japanese fish market where the sushi was so incredibly fresh that once, while I wasn't really paying much attention as it was being handed to me, I was handed a piece that when I brought it up to my mouth, part of it, and I don't know if it was the tail or something moved, smacked my hand and I a screamed and then I b threw it across the room, which was much to the delight of my host, Mr.
[00:01:02] Yoshida san, and the dozens and dozens of guests in the restaurant. Or there was a time where I was staying in a hotel in Southern California and committedly, clad only in my underwear bottoms. I looked out of my room through the little people, only to see that I was lacking my my USA Today newspaper. And at the time that was a big deal. But the room across from me had one and I had to go to the bathroom. So I decided quite impulsively to just run across the hallway. I was going to borrow my neighbors and I'm pretty sure that my plan was that I would return that newspaper across the hall when I was done taking care of business. So as I made my way across the hallway, it really did hit me just as I heard my door slam closed that I forgot the key. So I hung out in the hallway for about ten minutes or so, probably longer in my underwear bottoms, waiting for somebody to come up and unlock my room. And yes, it was that time of the morning where plenty of people were walking up and down the hallway. And to say it was awkward was quite, quite an understatement. But today's episode and if you've read in the title, it's about love. So how does that come up? It brings another story to mind.
[00:02:04] We had a small tech support team for the software company that I worked for. And in our early days, we were all in the same open room. And one day our newbie tech support guy, Jason, nice guy, was on the phone. He was doing tech support. And my buddy Jim, who is one of the funniest guys I know to this day, and he actually hosts his own podcast called The Sad Dads Club. Jim and I were talking to each other and I don't remember what we were talking about. And Jason, who is just nearby, wraps up a call and he just tells the customer something. Thanks for calling and goodbye. And I wish I knew for sure if it was Jim or if it was me who initiated this first. One of us said to Jason, Hey, just tell that guy that you love him. And right on cue, the other one of us said, I was seriously going to say that. I was going to say the same thing. And Jason just immediately said, no, I didn't. There's no way I did. And Jim and I went all in and we had Jason convinced that he had told this customer that he loved them and that it must be because he says it so reflexively to his wife. And we even had to the point where Jason was picking up the phone and he was going to call the customer and apologize, which we thought, OK, that's that's maybe going a little too far, to which we were then saying, hey, Jason, you can slow your roll there, buddy.
[00:03:08] We can work that into our marketing. How much we literally love our customers to the point where after each and every phone call, we can tell a customer that we really do love you. And we eventually let Jason off the hook. But we went on to play that scenario out with literally each and every new tech support person that we employed for years. And every time it was just as funny. But what's so wrong with telling somebody that you love them? The concept, the idea, the definition, the meaning of love is something that gets brought up on a daily basis. In my office and in preparation for this episode, I did. I kept track. I kept a little tab open on my iPad as I took notes just over the past week. And here are some of the things that I heard that had to do with love. The and I hear this one fairly often. I like him, but I'm not really I'm no longer in love with him or another one where the person was saying, my dad's literally never said he loved me.
[00:03:58] So I have stop saying it to him because it makes me feel horrible putting it out there, not hearing it back or one where it's a new relationship. And my client was saying you were both dancing around it. Who is going to say that they love the other person first and one dad? He said, I refuse not to tell my sons that I love them because my dad never told me that he loved me. But each and every time it still just feels so forced or so awkward. And there was another spouse talking about the grief of losing their partner. And one of these moments where it just is, you just feel so much in the moment. They said I'd give anything to be able to tell my spouse how much I really love them now that they're gone in particular. So love, I have wanted to do an episode on the concept from a psychological angle for a long time. And today we're going to take a look at Robert Sternberg's triangular theory of love. Sounds a little nerdy, but I promise you this one is going to deliver. It's a wonderful way to give words and meaning to the various types of love that we experience in our lives. So. We going to cover that and so much more on today's episode of The Virtual Couch.
[00:05:18] Come on in, take a seat on.
[00:05:25] Hey, everybody, welcome to Episode two hundred and seventy seven of the virtual couch. I'm your host, Tony Overbay. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, a certified mind blabbered coach, writer, speaker, husband, father of four, ultramarathon runner and creator of the Path Back, which is a very incredible strength based. Hold the shame, become the person that you always wanted to be program to help you put pornography in your rearview mirror once and for all of you. Turn to that as a coping mechanism. Again, incredibly strength based. We're doing things here that that help people that change lives and make people feel better about themselves and and get them more engaged in their parenting and their fatherhood and their faith and their in their health and their career, all those things. So if you're interested, go take a look at Pathbackrecovery.com and you can download a short ebook that describes five myths that people fall prey to and trying to put pornography in the rearview mirror once and for all. Again, that's Pathbackrecovery.com. And head over to to Tony Overbay, dot com magnetic because the magnetic marriage the next round is coming up soon. It's coming up a couple, two, three weeks into August. And so I would love to get you on the wait list and I'll let you know more about that as it as it comes up. Go to Instagram and just follow a virtual couch there. That's where you start to find a whole lot more about all kinds of fun things that are going on.
[00:06:32] And I got a lot of positive feedback. I posted on my Instagram stories of my time in Utah filming the episode of Family Rules last week. And everything about that experience was top notch. It was incredible. It was wonderful. What a what a professional production and amazing people and a huge crew behind the scenes and all of those sort of things. And so I'm going to I'm going to put together a post about that, too, because I took a lot of pictures and video, everything from get my covid test to my hair and makeup person, which is hilarious when you're bald guy. But boy, they make you feel special to just all the things that went on behind the scenes of the family rules. And it was so much fun. So I'll talk more about that on Instagram. And let's let's get to this episode today, because love before using this Sternbergh model is my guy. I had a lot of notes and one of the directions that I was going to go was breaking down. The Greek versions are the definitions of love. So if you're not familiar with where we're going to go with this today, is there are a lot of times where people talk about that they love somebody. And what does that mean? And when you're talking about love, especially when I'm working with couples, there can be two different versions of love. People could have grown up with a concept of romantic love or people could have grown up with more of a concept of this sexual passion or playful love or this unconditional love.
[00:07:49] But we and those of us who speak English, we have one word. It is love. And that's so it just can mean so many different things. So when you're talking about even trying to get a couple on the same page and they'll even say, Don't you love me anymore? It can be. Well, I do, but it's a different version or type of love than maybe you you think that it is. And sometimes when people feel hurt, especially, they're saying, well, love is love and it's because that's their version of love. So this Greek version, for example, and I'll just tell you a little bit about this and we'll get on to Sternberg's theory here. But in Greek love, there's Eros, which is the sexual passion. So a lot of times we feel like that is the someone needs to feel this eros in order to have a this deep, passionate connection with somebody. There's a filia, which is deep friendship and fun fact. Philadelphia, that's where the derivative of that word. There's there's saludos or playful love. And so you can have just this kind of like playful banter with someone. And it would be this Lutece type of love. There's a gap, which is this love for everyone, and that can be this almost unconditional love, love of mankind, love of the universe, love of all.
[00:08:57] There's pragma, which is longstanding love and pragma can be one of these things where people have just been together for so long that they just feel this pragma. And you guess what's one of the words that comes from that pragmatic. And then there's Felicia, which is love of the self. So that can be self love and which can be a part of self care and all those wonderful things. Renowned psychologist Robert Sternberg first put forward his what he calls this triangular theory of love in nineteen eighty five. And this is based off of a lot of research that he did at Yale University. And his theory, what it's doing is it seeks to define these different elements of our relationships are interpersonal relationships and to show how these different elements of a relationship can combine to form seven variations or seven types of what we call love. And so his theory is pretty straightforward when you look at it from the start, because it starts with three main components that he says lie at the heart of most all human relationships. And those three components are passion, commitment and intimacy. Now, if you take those individually, what Sternberg said is these components form the three simplest forms of love, passion. And we'll get a little bit more into this here as we go along. But passion alone, if you only have passion, the passionate kind of love that may bring forth infatuation.
[00:10:16] And Sternberg says if you only have intimacy, intimacy alone equates to liking. And then if you only have commitment, commit. That alone by itself can mean empty love, and so you can see we could go a lot of directions right there, that some relationships, if they only have infatuation, then that is going to fit. This passion is going to bring only infatuation. Intimacy is a lot of times where one person feels like we are we are sharing the most intimate details. And so if one person is getting their cup filled, just being able to express themselves and share, they may feel like that intimate connection or that intimate love alone is enough. But if someone else is coming from this place where they want that passion, then you can start to see how we're even speaking different languages of the word love and then commitment alone, as according to Sternbergh, can feel like empty love. So sometimes we that we just have this commitment to each other. Is that part where we feel like we're roommates or it's this just we're in it for the long haul. So where this really becomes fascinating is the triangular part of the theory, because that comes from the fact that you can combine any two of these components to then form a more complex type of love and then each combination forms. It forms a different side of this triangle, this love triangle. So when you have a relationship that combines, for example, passion and intimacy, then you get romantic love or intimacy.
[00:11:39] Plus commitment can give you what he calls companionate love while fatuous love is born, where commitment meets passion. And he said, and then there's consummate love, which is the combination of all three components. And it's often seen as this this perfect or ideal form of love. Because when you mix this fire of the comfort of intimacy and the security of commitment, then you have this healthy, happy, long lasting, romantic, love filled relationship. And it's so important to note that this triangle does not have to be this. I was never good at geometry. Does it have to be this equilateral shape? Because usually these components present themselves in different times, different seasons, in different levels. Again, it isn't all sides don't have to be equal. But what you're really trying to focus on are what really matters is that each relationship has some of all three of these components. And and I'll try to put this up on the website when I when I released this part of the episode. But again, consummate love is where passion and intimacy and commitment all meet. So let's go in detail here of these seven types of love, according to Sternbergh. So in this triangular theory of love, it says that you can it can take a number of these forms and each one of them are made up of one or more of the love components. So what it terms like romantic love or companionate love or consummate love actually mean.
[00:13:01] So here's those seven types. The first one we'll talk about infatuation, which is passion. So passion is a love component that so many of us are familiar with. This is the one you see in movies and TV shows. It's responsible for. When I just feel something, I just feel this connection with somebody. That's where your heart rate elevate. So you feel like with kittens in your stomach or your stomach turns over or that feeling of love at first sight. And so, of course, if it is just passion alone, then there's there's really not that deeper connection that comes with something like intimacy or the steadfastness that comes with commitment. So what you end up with, if you are only if you are only looking at this passion, if that is all we're talking about, then the best description for passion on its own is infatuation. So a lot of times I have people come up to me and they say that they don't feel that passion for someone or they don't feel like that they're their heart beating wildly or the flip flop in the stomach. And I love letting people know that I feel like maybe movies, TV shows, those things. I've almost done us a disservice because I feel like not as many people as we think immediately feel this passion, this passion for someone else as far as love goes. So passion or again, this infatuation.
[00:14:14] So the second type of love is what he calls it is intimacy. So next up, unlike passion, intimacy can be a solely platonic feeling. It's that sense of familiarity. It's that sense of friendship that comes when you meet someone and you really get along with them, somebody that you really feel immediately you can be your true self with. You can talk about things for four days and you don't run out of things to talk about. And it is an amazing it is a wonderful component to have in romantic relationships. But if it is the only thing that a relationship is based on, if it's on its own without passion or without commitment, then it's more likely to result in a friendship. Or as the triangular theory of love puts it, Aliki again. Right now, we've already had a we've had this concept of passion, which passion on its own is infatuation. Then we've got intimacy and intimacy on its own is more of a liking. And then the third component is commitment and we have commitment. So the active steps taken to preserve a relationship, the commitment is this essential part of any lasting love. But when you have commitment in on its own and it's missing. Are devoid of intimacy and passion, then it's a part of that it can feel more like love is a duty than a romantic choice. And oftentimes when a long term relationship has lost all passion and intimacy, then it will hover in what Sternberg says is this empty love stage, oftentimes before ending.
[00:15:42] But as Sternberg points out, love can begin here, too. If you think of things like an arranged marriage, for instance, the commitment often comes first. And I have worked with clients where they have settled into this commitment or this empty love and then from their rebuilt that basis of intimacy, which then can oftentimes eventually lead to passion. So Sternberg says, as passion and intimacy and commitment are the simplest components of the triangular theory of love, relationships again that only have one of these three points tend to be more. He calls them basic as well. But where the the beauty comes is when you combine these components, it gets more complicated, but it also gets more interesting. And I'll just make a quick note right now. One of the most downloaded episodes I've done on the virtual couch over the last four to five years has been this almost like this latter concept of intimacy. And it was something that I learned when I was doing betrayal trauma training under Dr. Kevin Skinner, that he had a part, I think it was in one of his CDs. I mean, it goes back a long time and this data around these levels of intimacy. And in that one, he talks about the the concept of there's this psychological intimacy that underlies all things, this honesty, loyalty, trust and commitment. But then right above that, when we meet somebody, we really want to start with verbal intimacy.
[00:17:03] And so being able to just talk and communicate with somebody and when that feels easy or when it feels like that part is complete, then oftentimes we move up into this emotional intimacy and we can share and be more open with somebody above that. He said it was cognitive and intellectual intimacy where I often say at that level somebody can be a PhD and somebody can have a GED, but it's OK because they have a verbal connection and emotional connection. So then from a cognitive and intellectual standpoint, they can still approach each other with curiosity because they're building this foundation above that spiritual intimacy. And on the top of that ladder, if you can imagine, that is the physical intimacy and it's this byproduct of these lower levels or not. Are these these these levels of intimacy that then build upon each other? So I know that a lot of the clients that I talk with and a lot of people that listen to my podcast are familiar with that concept. So I feel like if you're coming at this triangular theory of love, a lot of this will will make sense or fit into that model as well. So let's talk about then when you start to combine commitment, intimacy and passion. And again, those are the parts of the that triangle. Those are the corners. And a fat infatuation on its own or passion on its own can lead to more infatuation and intimacy on its own, Sternberg said, leads to more of a concept of liking and commitment on its own can lead to more of this concept of what he calls an empty love.
[00:18:26] So let's talk about he calls it fatuous love, which is commitment plus passion. So when you combine the fire of passionate infatuation and then the bonds of commitment but don't intimately like who the other person is, he said, you get this fatuous love world. He talks about whirlwind celebrity marriages or the cliched quickie Vegas wedding can often be described as fatuous love and it can be ardent and committed connection. But it's built without a lot of substance behind it. So it's like we are committed and we are passionate, but we don't really feel a connection. We don't really feel a liking, so to speak. So the lack of intimacy means that when passion mellows, then such relationships are often difficult to sustain because when that that fiery passion comes down, but we feel like we have this commitment only then we're lacking this intimacy or this deeper connection. He says it also, depending on the level of commitment involved, it can really be tricky to dissolve a relationship like this as well. So that's fatuous love, which is commitment plus passion. Next up, we have romantic love, which is passion plus intimacy. So in romantic love, the intimacy component brings this meeting of the minds. And while the passionate component means that there's this physical attraction as well.
[00:19:40] So he says as glorious as this combination is, you have this lack of commitment, which means that romantic love is very much focused on the now rather than the future. So it means it's often even seen in the giddy early phases of romance or that time when you're learning all about each other. That's that intimacy that we're connecting. But we still have that passion as well, where we just have this strong desire for each other. And so at that moment, we're learning all about each other, loving what you discover. But he said before your lives and loyalties are fully merged. So then with the addition of commitment which can come with the children or jobs or mortgages or that sort of thing, he said that this can blossom into what he calls consummate love. So without it, it's more likely to. Be the stuff of he calls it Tim, Tim, Tim, tempestuous romance novels, so we have passion and we have intimacy and it equals romantic love, but we don't have that commitment piece. So next up, he calls companionate love, which is intimacy plus commitment. So he says that the other end of the drama scale, the romantic love, is this concept called companionate love. So when combined commitment and intimacy make these powerful emotional bonds, meaning that the companionate connection is stronger than a simple friendship. Or again, you've got intimacy, you can connect with each other and you've got commitment.
[00:20:58] We are in this for the long haul, but we lack that passion. So he is. Sternbergh says the lack of passion means that this is often quite a chaste, comfortable arrangement. Some people call this roommate syndrome. This is the sort of thing that might happen after years of familiarity. And according to Sternbergh Sternberg, this isn't the death knell for love. In fact, he says this mellow phase is a common part of the relationship progression. And kind of just talking about this on the fly. I feel like a lot of the couples that are coming to my magnetic marriage course have this version of love, this companionate love, where there's some intimacy, where they've connected on a lot of things. They have a lot of memories. They have a lot of shared experiences. And they have this commitment, whether it's because of their religious beliefs or whether it's because of their own views on divorce, that they have this companionate love, intimacy plus commitment, but they are lacking the passion. Sternbergh Vince says that the six types of love that we just went over can be seen at the heart of many different types of relationships, from platonic friendships to whirlwind love affairs. And there's nothing inherently wrong with any of these set ups, of course. But the true fact is that most relationships will pass through one or more of these phases as time goes by. And so it can be possible to be very happy within one of these phases.
[00:22:13] Or it can also be where one can feel like things feel stagnant or they feel stuck. So the triangular theory of love, so that there is one thing that these types can't be and that is ideal, true love, because ideal, true love requires the presence of all three of these components. So what's the goal of the triangular theory of love? Again, this consummate love, which is the passion plus the intimacy, plus the commitment. Sternberg said that when passion, intimacy and commitment are all present in a relationship and the result is consummate love, and these three components don't have to be present in equal measure. This was that part where all sides of the triangle are not equal. But the ideal form of love needs to at least have an element of each one of these things in them, the excitement of passion. Think about that. Do you have the excitement of passion in your relationship? Do you feel like you can be spontaneous? And even if you are not someone who is a spontaneous person, sometimes that spontaneity can bring this passion? Or do you have curiosity in your relationship? So often I feel like that is missing or because people have fallen into such patterns where they feel like if they even express curiosity, they're met with or why do you care or what's your angle? If a partner says, hey, I noticed that you have been reading a lot of articles about something we'll talk about.
[00:23:31] Lately, there's been a lot about noticing that you're reading a lot about something political or something about the economy. Tell me more about that. And if their spouse meets that with OK, I don't get it. What's your point? Why do you care those kind of things? And I get it because a lot of times people don't necessarily feel safe in opening up about things that they appreciate or enjoy or they're curious about because of previous experiences that they've had where their spouses maybe not been the most welcoming with with information or questions. So you can see that if there isn't that curiosity, that oftentimes then that is where people can't even communicate with each other. Had the excitement of passion, the comfort of intimacy and the team spirit of commitment are all needed to get to this ideal of a consummate version of love. So how do you know if you're in consummate love? Then if it's been years and you really can't see yourselves happier with other partners, if you're still enjoying sex or physical affection with each other, and if you're still both putting in the time to communicate and commit to each other, then chances are you've reached some some form of this consummate stage and it may not last forever. Sternberg said one of the caveats of the triangular theory of love is that relationships can move from one point to another over time, but it's something that can be worked toward or you can work to recover it.
[00:24:48] And Sternberg says it is absolutely worth working for. That consummate love is a special type of bliss. It's the kind of connection that these couples continue to adore each other long into their relationship, long into their partnership. And as Sternbergh said, who wouldn't want that? So back to here's what I tell myself. I always seem to be as authentic and open as possible. I know I was starting to talk about people that are coming to the magnetic marriage course that I lost track of my thought. So I feel like what I see a lot of times are people that are coming to the course and they they typically have something like intimacy. They can open up a little bit and they have commitment, but maybe they've lacked the passion or they have the passion and they have the commitment, but they lack the intimacy or they lack that ability to communicate or recognize each other's differences. If you've been following a lot of the episodes I've been doing as of late, there's a lot of buildup toward this concept of I want you to be able to communicate effectively. That's why I have these four pillars of a connected conversation. And I want you to recognize that you're two different, unique individuals, each of you bringing your own experiences into a relationship and that the goal is to be differentiated where one person ends, the other begins. And too often we are so codependent and enmeshed that when we even start to express some of our independence, it brings anxiety from our spouse, from our partner.
[00:26:08] And so oftentimes they will say things that will feel invalidating. They'll say things like, I didn't know you thought that man was, what do you do next? Then all of a sudden leave the relationship. And so oftentimes that's what keeps people feeling more this codependent, enmeshed relationship. But the goal is to become interdependent, not codependent, interdependent, differentiated people. Each one of you bringing your own experiences to the relationship. And when you have that type of a relationship, then naturally you have this curiosity because you're two different individuals going through life together. And that is the best way to manage thoughts, emotions, feelings, as Sue Johnson, founder of VDT, says were designed to deal with with emotion in concert with another human being. But we can't do that. This is me saying this now. You can't do that if you are trying to control how the other person expresses themselves or if you don't feel like you can even express yourself without being met with with any type of fixing or judgment statements. Now, it's natural for us to respond that way. It takes actual work and effort to be able to develop the tools, to be able to stay present, to say tell me more, to not react to something that someone else says. I have so many of these experiences that I've been writing down lately, experiences that have been happening with that.
[00:27:25] I've been noting with my wife and I and I'll tell you about one that that happened. We were on a trip watching our son play basketball. He's a real wonderful basketball player. And this summer was before his senior year. So we we're out there doing the the tournaments and he's being recruited and scouted, that sort of thing. So we are actually in Alabama a couple of weeks ago for a tournament and we're staying at a hotel and it's in Alabama. It's muggy, it's hot. And we brought our dog. That's a whole I need a whole episode on that. We aren't people that typically bring a dog. We have this five month old puppy. It's a Yorkie Maltese poodle, Yorkie multiple. It's the funnest puppy in the world. Again, I have some I put some things, I think, on Instagram about it. Her name is Olive and she's amazing. And we didn't want to board her, so we brought her on the plane. She was an amazing companion. I can't lie. But, man, you got to walk her all the time. She gets feisty in the hotel room. So we go out on this walk. And where we were at in Alabama, it's a hot Alabama night. It's muggy, there's humidity. The bugs are so loud. We even recorded just how loud the bugs were. And we're just we're just out on this walk. We're walking alone. And there's not a sidewalk outside of our hotel, but there's this grass median in between the two lanes of the road.
[00:28:36] So in order to get walk away from our hotel, we're on a grass median. And my wife says very clearly, and I don't like walking on this grass median. And I said, I hear you. This is it is awkward. It's it's not very comfortable because the cars are buzzing by. It's late at night. So we made it eventually down to some sort of strip mall. We walked around it. And so now we're going to head back and I'm aware of this grass median in front of us. And so I know that there's a looks like there's some parking lots we can go through these business complexes to our right. So without expressing anything, I press the button and we cross the street and we go through these parking lots. So we walk through the parking lots. We're having a wonderful time, all of us being funny. We're talking about all kinds of things. I love just being places with my wife. And we have this curiosity and we're just talking. Tell me more. What's this like for you? I don't even know the topics we were talking about. And we get to a stretch where there was only a little bit left to go back to our hotel. And the only way there is to walk across one of these grass medians again. So I say, hey, are you OK walking on the median? And she doesn't say anything.
[00:29:38] We cross the street, we're walking on the median. And then as we're we're walking off of this grass median into our hotel parking lot, she says and I love this. I love this about my wife. She says, hey, how do you start a conversation again if there's something that you are really curious about that your partner did that you're struggling with? And I immediately knew, oh, my gosh, I did something bad. My anxious attachment just goes on high alert. And I think I just want to say whatever it is, I didn't mean to do it. Don't worry about it. And it's OK. Everything's fine. But I had to lean in and I and I said, OK, let's let's jump into these four pillars of a connected conversation. I said, you have to assume good intentions that you're the person. So in this case, me wasn't doing something to hurt you. And so I said one of the best ways is to say, hey, tell me more about and then ask the question about what it is that you find interesting, that you think that they maybe did, that you can't believe they did. And so she just said, hey, tell me about walking across the aisle, walking on this median when I shared with you that I didn't want to walk on the median. And I just I was so grateful in that moment that she was willing to express herself, that she was willing to be that.
[00:30:44] And invulnerable. And so then I said, OK, Wendy, we are going to jump into the four pillars of a connected conversation, and I make jokes often that it must be annoying to be married to a therapist. Maybe there's some good in it at times. But I said, all right. So in this one, I said, you have to assume good intentions. And I said, this is so funny that you're we're talking about me. So you have to assume that I didn't wake up in the morning and I thought, oh, boy, if Wendy lets me know that she hates walking on a grass median at any point during the day, what I'm going to do is I'm going to wait for my opportunity and then I'm going to we're going to walk on that grass median. So the so the assumption of good intentions, pillar one allows us to stay present and lean into the to continue the conversation. I said pillar two is you can't put off the message that I don't believe you are. You're wrong. So then question, you know, pillar three is questions before comments saying tell me more about and then pillar four is her staying present. So she can't just say if I express myself, she can't just say, oh, it doesn't really matter. I guess it doesn't matter that I don't like walking on medians or anything because you're going to do whatever you want. So when she had said, all right, tell me more about walking on in the media, and even though I had said don't walk in the median, then I said, man, I am so grateful that you brought this up, because I would rather have this conversation, of course, than have you just feel like I was some complete jerk and that I ignored your feelings.
[00:31:58] That would be that would be so hard. And I said, so I did hear you. And I was so grateful you you had shared with me. You didn't like walking in this meeting. So when we turned around and we were heading back up the hill and I was aware we were about to walk on the median, I said that's when I made the pivot. And I just thought, oh, let's walk through the these parking lots to see if we can make our way back to the hotel. And I was so grateful because she said, OK, yeah, I didn't know that that was this conscious choice you had made because I had expressed that I didn't want to walk on the median. So thank you that I can appreciate that. And she said, but then tell me about when you said, well, you're going to have to walk on the median now. Right. And this is where the gold happened, because in my mind, I really wanted to just say I didn't say that, but I can't put out the message that she's wrong. So if that's what she heard, if she really believes that I said like, OK, well, now you need to walk on the median and that I said it like that.
[00:32:51] Oh, my gosh, what a jerk. I would sound like such a jerk. And so then I had empathy for I said, I'm so grateful you shared that, because if you feel like that's the way I said it or that's the vibe I said it, then that would that would you. I can't imagine how invalidated you must feel. So thank you so much for sharing that. And so then I validated her. I assume the good intentions and what she said, I didn't tell her, that's B.S. you're wrong. And then I ask questions. What was that like for you? And then I didn't go into my bunker. I didn't say, well, I guess it doesn't matter what I say. So I heard her. She felt heard. And then with that information, I was able to stay present and say, OK, again, I so appreciate you sharing that. I feel, ah, I thought I said that. Hey, are you ready to walk on the media now? But again, if you heard, if you felt like it was this negative I don't care about you vibe then that would make so much sense. But in my mind I said, hey, are you ready now. Is it OK if we walk on the media because the media and the grass median is the only way to get back to our hotel through this little stretch other than just walking in the middle of the street or walking over on the side in the trees, bugs and pine cones.
[00:33:53] And I was so grateful, proud of my wife because she said and I appreciate that because she said, I felt like you didn't hear me. I felt like when you walked on the median, I wasn't even thinking about the fact that there wasn't another way to go. So I was so locked into the fact that I felt like so and validated that I wasn't looking at what the the entire experience was about. And so in that scenario, she said, yeah, no, I appreciate that. And I told her that. I said because when I felt like the way I said it was that if she said, hey, you don't remember, I don't want to walk on the median, then I was going to I was perfectly willing to say, all right, let's walk in the road. Let's just be really aware of cars or. All right, let's go check the I'll turn my light of my phone on and let's see if we can walk on over in the little woods or that sort of thing. But I can understand, if she felt like I was not hearing her and invalidating her, how hard that would be. So we ended that conversation. And it can sound so simple, right? It can sound so simple that she could have ignored the whole thing and felt like I was a big jerk and that it doesn't matter what she says or when she brought that up, I could have easily gotten the defendant gone into defense mode and said, oh, I guess it doesn't matter that I that I that I did hear you and that we went this different direction.
[00:35:01] No, we stayed present and we had a connected conversation by using these four pillars of a connected conversation. And so from that point, then we felt more connected at that point. Now we've got the intimacy, which is the connection. I feel like we've got commitment that we are going to continue to try to put things through this framework, this four pillars of a connected conversation framework. And then the hopes, of course, is that that is going to lead to passion. And so that, as Sternberg refers to it, is this concept of consummate love. So I appreciate you spending the time with me today to go through Sternberg's Triangular Theory of Love, because it really is fascinating at this these corners we have. But we have passion, we have intimacy and we have commitment and so passion alone. He says his infatuation, intimacy alone is liking, enjoying a platonic feeling and commitment alone can feel like this empty love commitment alone can feel like we're just in this long term relationship, roommates, that sort of thing. And then there's these other versions where you've got passion plus commitment is fatuous love where it can be this cliched quickie Vegas wedding, you got passion.
[00:36:08] Plus intimacy can be this romantic love where in that scenario is glorious, as he says the combination might be. The lack of commitment means that the romantic love is so focused on the right now rather than the future. And so it can be it's almost again this giddy early phase of romance when you're learning about each other. But then when things happen in the relationship, then oftentimes without that commitment, the relationship can struggle. And finally, there's that intimacy plus commitment which he calls companionate love, where you can you can open up and connect with each other. And you have this commitment, but it lacks the passion. So it can just feel very comfortable, very stale. It might happen after years of familiarity. Our goal, consummate love, passion plus intimacy plus commitment. And I truly believe that one of the ways to achieve that is to be able to communicate effectively. And I was not going to make this a magnetic marriage ad of sorts. But if you don't feel like you have the ability to communicate, then I would say that's one of the first things that you can work on in order to start to develop any of these areas that you might feel is a deficiency, whether it's in the passion, the intimacy or the commitment to get to that version of love, this consummate love. So perfect plug and go to Tony Overbay, dot com slash magnetic or so shoot me an email through the contact form and we'll get you on that list of the next round of the magnetic marriage.
[00:37:24] But I would love to hear your thoughts. If you have additional questions, comments, concerns, feel free to comment on Instagram and when this post goes up or shoot me an email and I might cover that in a future question and answer episode. So, hey, everybody, I appreciate all of you, right? I do. I literally do. I love all the people. When I was walking the campus of BYU, I got stopped a couple of times. That's always fun. People that are familiar with the virtual couch and it just has I do I feel such a feeling of of this love, which is probably the the liking. The intimacy is platonic feeling familiarity and friendship that comes with somebody that I feel like we we have this shared passion where we're like minded, that sort of thing. Here's to the goal of getting to this companionate love with your partner and recognizing these other parts of love within your relationships with others. All right. I hope you have an amazing week taking us away as per usual hole. And she didn't come back. I ran into Aurora, Florence last weekend and going to have her back on. And we've got some parenting to talk about. She's got some great takes on parenting that I can't wait to get to. But taking us away is a reference with her song, It's Wonderful
In this special BONUS episode, and in preparation for the coming announcement of Tony's upcoming Magnetic Marriage communication course, he tackles the frequently referenced but rarely understood 5 Love Languages. Back in 1995, Ph.D. and Marriage Therapist Gary Chapman released a book called "The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate." In the book, Chapman outlines five ways to express and experience love. These 5 love languages are: receiving gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service (devotion), and physical touch. For many couples, reading about, and discovering their partner's love language (and their own) is one of the first steps toward trying to repair a damaged relationship. For newlyweds, this can be a very important foundational principle for a healthy marriage. In this episode, Tony explores each one of the love languages as well as how understanding them can benefit you and your partner.
Please subscribe to The Virtual Couch YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/TheVirtualCouchPodcast/ and sign up at http://tonyoverbay.comto learn more about Tony’s upcoming “Magnetic Marriage” program!
Tony's FREE parenting course, “Tips For Parenting Positively Even In the Not So Positive Times” is available NOW. Just go to http://tonyoverbay.com/courses/ and sign up today. This course will help you understand why it can be so difficult to communicate with and understand your children. You’ll learn how to keep your buttons hidden, how to genuinely give praise that will truly build inner wealth in your child, teen, or even in your adult children, and you’ll learn how to move from being “the punisher” to being someone your children will want to go to when they need help.
This episode of The Virtual Couch is sponsored by http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch With the continuing “sheltering” rules that are spreading across the country PLEASE do not think that you can’t continue or begin therapy now. http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your own mental health a priority, http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.
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Bonus- 5 love languages-2020-10-02
[00:00:00] Coming up on today's episode of the special bonus edition of The Virtual Couch, we're talking about love languages, the five languages of love. What are you, physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, acts of service. And more importantly, do you know how that affects you as the way you receive love or how you share love or how you show love? And do you and your spouse have an agreement on what that looks like? That and so much more coming up on this bonus episode of The Virtual Couch.
[00:00:38] Hey, everybody, welcome to Episode two hundred and twenty six, a special bonus episode of The Virtual Couch. I'm your host, Tony Overbay. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, certified mine Vilaboa, Cowriter Sweetgrass and father for ultramarathon runner and creator of the Path Back and Online Pornography Recovery Program that is helping people reclaim their lives from the harmful effects of turning to pornography as a coping mechanism. If you or anybody that you know is trying to put pornography behind them once and for all, and trust me, it can be done in a strength based, hold the shame, become the person you always wanted to be kind of way, then please head over to path back recovery dotcom. And there you will find a short ebook that describes five common mistakes that people make when trying to remove pornography from their lives. Again, that's path back recovery dotcom. And please head over to virtual couch on Instagram, Tony Overbay, licensed marriage and family therapist on Facebook and Tony Overbay dot com and sign up to find out more about the magnetic marriage program that is about to be announced, launched, talked about. And if you want to improve the connection, the communication in your marriage or even just a relationship, then this is the course for you.
[00:01:47] So go to Tony Overbay, dot com, sign up, find out, be the first to know about when the magnetic marriage course is available. And actually, that has a little bit of why I wanted to record this bonus episode of the Five Love Languages. This is an episode I believe it was episode forty one or forty five or something like that initially. And that was probably two years ago or more. And this is one of those episodes that just continues to get downloaded. I know the Five Languages of Love, something that was introduced by Dr. Gary Chapman has been widely talked about and I feel like a lot of people are somewhat familiar with the five languages of love. But I feel like there is a lot of confusion around what you even do with that information is, you know, there are five languages of love and this is all talked about coming up here in the episode. But there's quality time, there's physical touch, there's acts of service, there's words of affirmation, there's gift giving.
[00:02:45] And so often we're able to identify our love language or maybe our top two love languages. And we definitely know one that we maybe don't necessarily connect with. And so we will present that to our spouse, handed to them on a silver platter and say, here are my love languages, and then we get frustrated. Why isn't this person doing everything that I've told them that I want from my love languages? And so I think there's a lot of confusion of what you do with the love language information. That's how you express love. That's how you receive love. How do we talk about love languages? How do we integrate those into our relationship? And just the little sneak preview, the the love language test. And we have a module where we kind of talk about some of these ideas around love languages coming up in this magnetic marriage course. So I just wanted to get the idea of love languages just fresh in people's minds. So I do highly recommend that you go look up Gary Chapman's Love Languages quiz. I recently took it once again and just have this have this data, this information fresh and listen to this episode, maybe listen to it with your spouse and just start getting the vibe going of what it's going to look like to have a magnetic marriage. And so much more information is coming up on that soon. So without any further ado, let's get to this special bonus episode of The Five Languages of Love.
[00:04:19] Come on, take a seat, Carl.
[00:04:25] So today I want to talk a little bit about the five love languages, what they are, the significance. And sometimes I do view this almost as like kind of the fundamentals of marriage therapy, that this is a nice place to build some connection. So the book and so the five love language was developed by a good marriage therapist, Gary Chapman. And the book came out in his first book, The Five Love Languages How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate, came out in nineteen ninety five. And in the book has it's been around. So it's been around for a long time. And I was looking at some of the stats on the book. It's been on the New York Times bestseller list since August of 2009 and there was a revised edition. The Five Love Languages was released in January one of twenty fifteen and it's still remained on this New York Times bestseller list. So here's the cons of the book. Chapman claims that in his work in Working with Couples Marriage as a marriage therapist, he says that he he outlines five ways to express and experience love that Chapman calls the love languages. These are we're going to go into a little bit of detail in these. They are receiving gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service and physical touch. And again, he drew these from his counseling practice. And I don't think it's bad to express that. The more digging I did, there's not necessarily as much evidence based around the five love languages.
[00:05:43] But I really find that couples connect with this concept. And in the primary, what Chapman suggests is that everyone has one primary and one secondary love language. And so these love languages are in essence, how you express love. And you may not even know that this is how you express love. If you find that you are someone who is overly complimentary, if you want to just I want to make somebody feel happy. I want to compliment them how they look, the things they do, the just the person that they are, then that's one in that column of perhaps words of affirmation, you providing these words of affirmation. These compliments are your love language. If you're somebody who says, man, I just I don't get enough hugs. If it's I love a back rub. If you're in a couples if a relationship where you feel like your partner doesn't care about you because maybe there's a lack of intimacy or you feel like you're the one that always needs to initiate intimacy, that's a pretty fair sign. That physical touch is one of your it might be your primary love language. If you are someone in a relationship and your spouse travels a lot and you're disappointed when they don't come back with a gift or what I see in my practice a lot is people that make a lot of I was just a big deal around anniversaries and man, they didn't go all out for my anniversary or this is all they got me for my birthday.
[00:07:02] So that person and it's funny is that be qualify. There's the qualifier in those statements a lot of times where people will say, I know it sounds like I'm materialistic or I know that this might not sound right, but I just I really like when someone gets me a gift. So if that's the case, gifts, gift giving would obviously be one of your or maybe your primary love language. And so let me jump in here and tell a little bit of a story, and then we're going to get to the rest of this. When I was first learning about the five love languages, again, I was a shiny new therapist. And and at that time I might see one or two couples a week. And when I would see them, I had learned nice reflective listening skills where somebody says they're frustrated, they're angry, and I'm having the their partner reflect those away. Now, what are they saying? What do you hear them saying? And then the couple with the other partner would say, OK, sure. I hear them say that they're angry or they're frustrated or they wonder why. And then they would say, I'm really mad at him and he does all these sort of things. And I would say, OK, to the guy, reflect back, what do you hear that your partner is saying? And then they reflect back. Oh, I know. I've heard it a million times.
[00:08:06] He thinks this or this. And then you sit back and go, OK, you've both hurt each other and go, let's fix this. And so now in this world of VFT that I'm so passionate about now we can say, OK, hey, we're listening to our partner and this is an emotional bid. We're going to turn off our fixing and judgment statements. We're going to go all in on empathy. We want to hear what our partner has to say. But so before I got to that, I'm a shiny new marriage therapist. I go to I think it was just a three hour training on this five love languages. And I go home. I'm going to practice these skills. So again, actually, it is I think it is important to go over all these words of affirmation. So that is those kudo's, those attaboys. We want to hear that somebody thinks we're doing a great job or that's the people who are guilty of and this is me. Let me be vulnerable here. If I my wife may do a hundred things a day to keep our kids in order, the house in order, the everything running smooth. And if I come home and I go out and clean the dog poop out of the backyard or straighten up around the house, I want to make sure, man, that boy cleaning that dog poop. But that was I think it was going to be that hard. But boy, I just finished that knows that I am seeking those words of affirmation, even though she's done a hundred things and hasn't had to lay them all out for me.
[00:09:16] I do a couple of things and I'm. And I would like some praise now, please, and the words of affirmation. It's that concept and it's funny because this one is that action doesn't necessarily speak louder than words. You want to hear that. You want to hear those words. You want to hear that people care about you. They love you. They notice you. They think that you are doing an amazing job, especially the words I love. You become very important people that will lead with this words of affirmation. Oftentimes they are the people that say, I told my spouse I loved her five times a day and she hasn't said it at all. Isn't that what's wrong with this? And words of affirmation is important to them. Quality time. This is the one where then nothing says I love you like full, undivided attention and not half paying attention on your phone. This is where putting something down, no distractions don't postpone dates. Being all in with your partner is this quality. Time is how they feel, love. And a lot of times that's this person who says, look, I just want to be able to just sit there with you and just focus on you and have deep quality conversations and and at times for another partner. If that's not there, that's not their love language. They can feel smothered or overwhelmed with that.
[00:10:23] But so that one's quality time receiving gifts. This one's fascinating to me. My wife and I, neither one are huge on the receiving gift. So a birthday can come and we we're telling each other how much we we love each other and maybe want to go out to dinner or something like that. And we want to spend that time together. But as far as the gift giving goes, it's not significant. It might be a little something, but it's one of those things where if I don't get a gift or if I and I believe it, why watch her listen to this now and say she's weeping in a corner of my eye. All I wanted were gifts. And Tony can't pick up on any of that. But this is the part where you're not getting those gifts, not giving those gifts, doesn't feel like something's left out. But, boy, this one, again, a significant gift. Giving is your love language. Then that's this concept where if you're not receiving gifts or if your gifts aren't met with oh, my gosh, thank you so much. This shows me you love me. Then you feel like that is your love being rejected. And I've got a good story for that here in a second to so acts of service. This is the concept of cleaning the house, mowing the lawn, doing those things. And a lot of times you hear from the wife saying he's he leaves all these projects undone or we've got I've got the honey do list that he isn't complete.
[00:11:30] And that's just so frustrating. So that might be a cue that her love language is acts of service. And then the last one is physical touch. Now, I think when we think about physical touch, a lot of times we immediately go to sex. But physical touch is much more than that. Physical touch, his hand holding back, rubbing arm around snuggling. And this one significant as well. Because, again, if you find yourself keeping score, I'm always the one that reaches out to hold her hand or I'm fine. I'm not going to do it. I'm not going to wait till she reaches out to hold my hand or I'm the one that's always put my arm around her or initiating the kiss or the hug or sex or that sort of thing. Then it's obvious that physical touch is one of your go to love languages and meanwhile, your partner, if that's not one of their primary or secondary love languages, they're going along just maybe oblivious that the significance of you not responding, are you not initiating. So in essence, you're setting them up for they're taking this test. They don't even know they're taking so. So, again, words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch. So this brings me to a couple of stories, some of my go to stories. Let me take you back then where I was starting here.
[00:12:34] I'm a shiny new marriage therapist. I'm going through these things a lot. And I've identified pretty clearly that I'm a physical touch guy. And again, it doesn't just have to mean sex or intimacy. It can be I'm a on my hand holder. I'm a walk in the door and give my wife a kiss. I love a hug. And so I would find at times that, yeah, I was the scorekeeper. I was the one I'm going to drive down the road. And she's not reaching her hand over here. And and so I'm setting her up for failure. She's not even aware that I'm processing anything is wrong in that moment. So I'm pretty dialed in. I physical touch and then I'm a words of affirmation guy there is that part of me that wants to hear you're the man. Thanks so much for all that you do. And so I've got this identified that I've got it figured out that my wife is an active service person. Long ago my wife identified that at the end of the day, she really loves the house to be clean, picked up, everything put away. And and I have to tell you that when we had four small children, there was this part of me that would come home from work and and the kids had toys out everywhere. We had a toy room in particular, and we could close the door on it. So in my mind, it's like it's close the door. It's going to we're going to repeat this whole thing tomorrow.
[00:13:44] But my wife wanted to make sure that the house was clean at the end of the night. And I used to try to make sense of that this long before my days of F.T. and hearing that is an emotional bid. And I was trying to convince her here I am fixing in judgment statements of why does it matter? Why don't why can't we just close the toy room door and then we start tomorrow and you open it up and then you're not going to drive yourself crazy at night because the kids are going to get everything out again. And man, she did such an amazing job letting me know that she couldn't really turn off her brain, go to sleep like the day was done until the house was in order was put together. And so at that moment, I knew that I. I love her enough that my job now becomes at the end of the evening, I'm going to help her. I'm going to I'm going to dust things and clean things and put pillows where they're supposed to go and dishes away and all that sort of thing. So I think I've got this thing figured out right. I think that the acts of services, my wife's primary love language, so I start running this little experiment is as I take this training, as I'm doing this as a marriage therapist and I think I've got hers figured out.
[00:14:42] I know what mine is, mine, the physical touch, probably number one. And then words of affirmation number two and have my wife figured out as acts of service. So I start going about the night and I'm going to I'm going into I'm all in I'm on the I'm giving the kids baths. I'm clean in the house. I'm brushing the dogs. I'm trying to do everything I can. And and probably along the way a man look at these kids and that bath wanting to get my own words of affirmation, goals or needs met. But so I try to do all I can. And then it's like kids are in bed, house is immaculate. And we we would go upstairs and we would sit there, watch TV, maybe have a little bit of a snack or something. And I'm kind of thinking, OK, all right, scratch that. Acts of service itch for her. And here comes maybe a back rub or maybe. All right, here we go. I've set the table. Now let's get the physical touch needs met. And we sit there, we watch TV and we maybe connect and talk and laugh. And just then she falls asleep and I think, OK, all right. Fair enough. I will try this again tomorrow. And I go through and the kids a bath and brush the dogs and get everything. Here we go. I have met her love language of acts of service and here comes the physical touch. Not necessarily so it was I don't remember how long it was where I said, hey, can I just point something out to my wife? And I let her know that I'm doing this training, this love language training.
[00:15:58] And I'm pretty sure that I've got my own identified as physical touch and words of affirmation. And I told her and I've got yours down to yours is obviously it's acts of service. And so I don't know if you're noticing that, as I do all of these acts of service that, yeah, maybe I'm thinking of now, I my love language will be met as well. And this physical touch. And she had the funniest look on her face where she was like active service. Yeah, that's nice, because I think if I had to pick out of any of those, it's quality time. And so then I had this big epiphany where not having given that a voice before and try and just make assumptions on my own that she was having her her love language meant so as we cleaned the house and then had this time together, then she was in heaven because we're now we're just hanging out. Kids are asleep, house is all put together and we're spending that quality time together where we are just talking about the day's events. Maybe we are giving each other a little foot massage and then she's just fallen asleep and pure bliss because she is in her happy place. Her love language is being met. That taught me a great lesson that day.
[00:17:01] That they're hers is more quality time. And this was we were married twenty seven years now and that is definitely the case. We love our weekly date nights and there's a plug there is a marriage therapist to make that a priority. But I know now that nothing shows connection there like that quality time. So I want to go over a few things. I have another story for another go to that I talk about often. So I go back to this of these early days of marriage therapy. And I was working with a couple and they were they were both on a second marriage and the guy had not necessarily been to counseling before. So I think he was a little bit skeptical to begin with. And if he only knew what was going through my head at that point as a new therapist. And so I'm now I'm all in on these love languages. I'm finding that the reflective listening is not as productive as I thought. I have no idea what he EFT is at this point. And so we're going to dial down and go deep on these five love languages we identify as I go over these. And this guy, he gets pretty emotional and he says that feels so good to have that validated because he said that his love language was gift giving. He had grown up with not a lot of money. And so gifts had been pretty significant when a when his dad could save up enough to give his mom a gift.
[00:18:07] It was a big deal. It didn't really matter what the gift was. So this guy had grown up in his first marriage. He had been a big gift giver. And admittedly, the gifts didn't necessarily go over well. And so he always felt empty when he would give these gifts. So now he's in this new marriage, this new relationship, and we're identifying this and he gets really emotional. It was a beautiful, honestly beautiful moment when I remember this so well. And I think, man, here's a guy that he is he's a bit older, a little more set in his ways. He just was validated that his gift giving means more than just here's a present, here's a gift. It means this is his expression or how he shows love and and we process this. And then his wife is more in charge of the finances in this relationship. And I think beautiful moment. So I look over and I say, OK, now can you see the significance? And he said he later he's one of these who loves to leave flowers around the house and and he just loves to bring things home from a trip. And then I think now she's going to be able to validate this is going to be the coolest moment as a marriage therapist up to this point. And then she just looks at him. Yeah, but he spends too much money. But and I've told him a million times, we've got a budget.
[00:19:12] If you're not following the budget, then you're and it was like this missed opportunity. And I just watched this guy just get deflated as we just validated his love language of gift giving, this is the way he says, I love you. And having his wife say, in essence, what he's hearing then is, yeah, I don't love you because you spend too much money. It's a little dramatic, but that's the concept behind how we express love and how we feel love give back to us. It turns out that the more we talked about with her, she was an attaboy. She was a words of affirmation person. And that one did go on to live happily ever after. But I remember that being a pretty key or pivotal moment when I saw. So I get to speak about this one often. There's there's I sometimes groups will come, asked me to just come speak lighthearted and maybe do some Q&A. And this is usually a nice place to start because and then that leads to a lot of questions. And I actually went on Gary Chapman's website and he has a lot of frequently asked questions about the love languages. So I want to cover a few of those. So he one of the number one frequently asked question on his website is, what if I can't discover my primary love language? And I have and I do. I have a lot of people here's where we can go deep dive that say, what if I just don't really have any of those? None of those really matter to me.
[00:20:23] And now is the time where, you know, that's not an answer that I can give in just the. Hey, does anybody have any questions at the end of a five love language presentation? That's when we need to get on the couch a little bit more, because my experience has been that the reason why someone may have had a love language or two early on, let's say it was words of affirmation, they needed these attaboys. And if their spouse just felt like that was ridiculous, if you have to ask for it, then I'm not going to tell you. Or if if a spouse is hardened and they look, I never had those grown ups, I don't see why I have to give those two these words of affirmation to you. Then over time, what's a partner going to do? They're going to that's them trying to be vulnerable. And over time, they're not going to continue to put their heart out there. They're going to tuck those feelings away. So same as if your of your love languages is gift giving and your gifts are repeatedly rejected at some point, then you are going to make it can just from a defense mechanism standpoint, you're going to start to to hide that love language. You're not going to you're going to put those buttons away because your spouse knows how to press them. Here's another gift. Spouse presses button: I don't want gift.
[00:21:28] You spend too much money. And at that point, we don't feel loved. We don't feel validated. We don't feel heard. And so we're going to tuck those away. So when I have somebody come up to me and say, hey, what if what if none of those if I really don't care about any of those, then I want to say, OK, let's give a little more work around that. Now, let's start working on some of these E F.T. skills of let's get your partner in here. Let's talk about emotional biz. Let's talk about what that's like for you to give a gift and have it rejected. And let's give it a voice. Maybe that your partner, once they understand the significance of gift giving for you, then they get to share their story of why they don't want that gift. And I've had some amazing examples here, that one in particular, where when a guy was then told that that his wife now viewed him rejecting her gifts as her not feeling love, this was another experience I never thought of in this one a long time. But he was pretty emotional because he said when she gives me gifts, he said, then I feel bad because I don't feel like I'm the provider that I should be. I feel like when she's giving me gifts, she's basically saying, hey, look, you never do this. And it's obviously because you don't make enough money. And the wife, which like I that I didn't that's not where I go with that.
[00:22:35] And it was a pretty beautiful moment there. So we got a nice combo of we've got the five love languages plus emotionally focused therapy, E F.T. And now at that point, we've acknowledged that when she wants to give a gift, that this is her saying, hey, not only this is my heart, but I'm showing you this is my love. And the guy now understanding this has nothing to do with him as a provider. This is him being able to say thank you. Thank you so much. And then he gets to give that a voice. I still worry that I'm not doing a good enough job providing. Now she can meet that emotional bid. And man, now, instead of being defensive, we've actually grown together. So what if I can't discover my primary love language? I like this. Gary Chapman says. First, observe how you often express love to others. If you're regularly doing acts of service for others, that's a good sign, that's your love language. If you're consistently verbally affirming people than words of affirmation is probably your love language. I remember feeling that way. So I love to sometimes if people don't get enough positive in their life and I'm not just giving out hollow praise, man, you wear the heck out of that blue shirt. But I do feel like if somebody is, people don't hear enough positives. And so I am one who likes to compliment others and acknowledge others. And so that's true. That is one of the first ways I recognize that words of affirmation are important to me.
[00:23:48] It's funny if you're a big on social media, this is a maybe a little bit of a joke that I just play out in my head a lot of times. I don't if you ever read those posts or somebody says, man, what a day I got up, I got myself out of bed, I put my clothes on, I walk down the hall, I, I made breakfast. I ate the breakfast. I put the breakfast away. I we just laid out some pretty regular normal things. But then people are responding with I don't know how you do it or man you get so much done. And it's I feel like at times that's the person who is starved for these words of effort. And they're looking for these kudo's, these attaboys. This brings up one of the biggest stories I'd love to tell. This is my talk about vulnerability. So now we've identified I'm a words of affirmation guy. I remember this as if it were yesterday, but I remember driving home from the airport once. Just my wife and I were in the car and I remember, you know, he should go away where I think we had been out of town. Maybe it was on a vacation. And now you're back to reality, right? Especially driving home from the airport. And I think I start just going through outloud all the things that are coming up that week. Maybe there are a couple of speaking assignments.
[00:24:47] It was a really heavy client week because I had taken a few days off before and if I'm not in the chair, I don't get paid. And there's some writing projects and a website revamp and all these things. And I'm just going over these and my wife is sitting there and nothing negative. But and that's the part where I get to use my good marriage therapist EFT skills, although I'm sure it is annoying at times to be married to a marriage therapist where I get to say, hey, you're not really saying anything when here is my train of thought, here's where I go. When you don't say anything. I've already worked this through to man this guy is never going to be able to get ahead. He's got too much going on. I'm worried that he's going to have a nervous breakdown, so I might as well go ahead and pull the ripcord. Now, get out of the relationship and remember that point. She's been married twenty years at this point, I think. And she looks over at me and says, are you serious? That's where your mind goes. And I'm like, yes, I but when I don't hear anything, I take it down this worst case scenario. And and she's us. I wasn't thinking any of that stuff because, like, I was just kind of thinking, man, I feel bad that this is where Tony goes in his mind. And I was kind of like, OK, I mean, even you could give me that feedback, OK? But I felt like you knew that I'm here for you.
[00:25:50] We had this amazing vacation. Oh, there we go. Quality time. So she's a man. My my quality time cup is filled. So thankfully, she's. Hey, what do you need in this scenario? What would help? And now I have developed what I now call my famous live living in a box under an overpass speech. I worked it through to I was like, OK. I think in my mind I'm going to this place of where I have all these things and it feels stressful. But part of me, I think, is wanting, first of all, the words of affirmation. I want to hear this. Hey, I'm so grateful for how hard you work for our family. And I am. Oh, I know. But I'm needy when I'm going like this. Emotional vulnerability, maybe. Yeah, that's me saying I want to hear that you're the man. And I was like, I think I want to go as far as to say and if I don't accomplish all of these things and we end up having to sell our house and we live in a box under an overpass, that you're right there with me in that box, I remember her looking like "how big is the box"? But I mean, that's a little bit of a stretch, but it's a big enough box maybe. OK, she's in. So so that is now turned into the every now and again, if I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed and I can be nice and vulnerable and I know my love language is words of affirmation, I literally can text her now and say, hey, I'm going to need that box in an overpass speech when I get home and she goes, I'm on it.
[00:27:01] I can't wait. I can't wait till I get some crayons and decorate the heck out of the inside of this box with you. And we laugh. But I'm grateful that I can express that. Here's my need, this love language to feel this love through words of affirmation. So back to this. Gary Chapman says, What do you complain about the most often when you say to your spouse, I don't think that you'd ever touch me if I didn't initiate it, then revealing the physical touch is your love language. If your spouse goes on a business trip and you say, you know, bring me anything, then what? Gift giving. Right, then that's probably one of your main love languages. If you hear this statement or if you express this statement, we don't ever spend time together that indicates that the love language of quality time is important to you, but your complaints often reveal kind of those innermost desires. And happiness is a nice thing here. So we have difficulty remembering what you complain about. Most often I suggest you ask your spouse because chances are that they will know what do you request of your spouse most often if you're saying, well, give me a back rub or if you're then you're asking for physical touch.
[00:27:58] Right. Do you think we get a weekend away this month? That one's quality time. Would it be possible for you to mow the grass this afternoon expresses a desire for acts of service. And he goes on to say, your answer your own answer to these three questions will likely reveal your primary love language. Let me go through for the sake of time. Here are a couple more of these. Gary Chapman, one of the frequent ask questions is, does your love language change as you get older? He tends to think that your love language, for the most part stays the same. And I see that over the years as well. The hard part is what I kind of mentioned earlier. I do feel like people over time of this love language isn't met, doesn't even know that they're they're part of this I don't want to say game or whether they're in The Matrix or whatever you want to call it. If they don't know the significance of you giving a gift, are you seeking these words of affirmation? Or you wanting this physical touch? Then over time, as those needs aren't met, it's pretty natural for us to start to stuff those feelings away. So does our love language change as we get older? Chapman says no. And then in my experience, what does or can happen is those love languages change, but the change is them kind of being stuffed down.
[00:29:03] So we don't want to let that happen. Does the Five Love Languages Work concept work with children? Absolutely. I know that each one of my kids, I think they express love differently. I feel like they receive love differently. And then he goes on to talk about. That those love languages stay the same for the most part, when your children become teenagers as well. And this is a big one. What if the primary love language of your spouse is difficult for you? That's a great question, because a lot of people talk about if I didn't grow up in a touching family, that touchy feely family, then how do I become that person? And now number one. I think that's one that needs to be talked through. There's a plug for marriage therapy. I'm not going to lie, but I think being able to just communicate through that, if that's not your if that's not easy for you, if your spouse's love language is physical touch, there's a lot there's a lot there that we need to talk about. As a matter of fact, I've got a podcast episode coming up that I am taking copious notes on because it's one of these soapbox moments. I want to talk about you. If you go back to Episode twenty five, I talk about the nurtured heart approach for parenting. Episode twenty six, I talk about F.T. emotionally focused therapy for couples. There's another one I'm going to get to pretty quickly here. And it's talking about our relationship with physical touch, our relationship with sex. It's with objectification of women and men. And I think that one's going to be a pretty big deal.
[00:30:19] Physical touch could be a tough one. If that's not your go to and your spouse says, look, why don't you initiate sex more or why don't you reach out and hold my hand more? I know that there can be a lot underneath that we can at times. I've worked with enough spouses who feel like once I open that Pandora's box of, then I feel like I'm going. That's all I'm good for. Is this as a physical object. So we're going to talk about that in a future episode. But but what we can bring just bringing this awareness around these love languages, this concept, the good news is that they can all be learned. And even though we may have grown up only speaking one or two of these languages, they all can be learned. But they're going to need to be learned at a pace over time and in a safe way. So just having that awareness that, hey, physical touches might go to, maybe we can start with holding hands more. It doesn't have to mean that now. Every time I come in the door, got to do this giant bear hug or a koala bear.
[00:31:09] I was in an airport once where a friend was coming back from a long trip, long absence, and another friend jumped up and did the quick. I never heard the phrase koala bear, but jumped up in the arms and legs around the body and looked like they were hanging on like a koala bear. So that's where my mind went with that one. So if you're not a words of affirmation person, you discover that your spouse's love language is words of affirmation, honest to goodness. And this is a part where I say, hey, we got to do the work. Sometimes if you have to write statements down that your spouse wants to hear, then that's what we're gonna do.
[00:31:38] Over time, it becomes more of a learned behavior. And when you see your spouse respond, well, then that feels good. If you have to have that speech, that or text that I need that you're the man speech tonight. I need that box under the overpass speech. That's OK to say that's OK to be vulnerable. Once you're both on the same page, you understand the significance there. He did one of the questions was, are some of the love languages found more among women than others with men? And I do. I like this. Gary Chapman said, I've never done the research to discover the love languages are their gender slanted. He said it may be true that more men have physical touch and words of affirmation is their love language and more women have quality time and gifts. But he said, I don't know if that's true. In my experience, my practice and now are the hundreds and hundreds of couples I've worked with. That's the way I see it typically play out doesn't mean that it's bad if it's not that way, but where a lot of guys, it's physical touch and words of affirmation and a lot of the women I work with are quality time, maybe not even as much gifts, but for me, it's active service. I often find that gifts is a little bit further down the list. But if you are a gift, if that is important to you, that is OK. And I love hearing the stories around where that comes from.
[00:32:38] I think that's the rest of it more. How is the wife of the five love languages been so successful? I think that one's pretty key because it can be a fundamental connection for a couple that they haven't talked about before and it can help them feel like, wow, I see. I was when my spouse would say these things and compliment me, I always felt like they were just doing it because they felt they had to. But when you look at it from a that's him expressing love to me. And when I say you're saying that or no, I don't look pretty or whatever, that oftentimes we're rejecting their their attempt at showing us love through words of affirmation. So I think that's why the concept of the five love languages is a wonderful thing to explore. So I'm going to wrap things up right now, but I highly recommend the book, The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. And he's done a few different variations of it, I think five love languages for teens and children. I think there might even be one that has to do with businesses. And again, this is all about awareness, right? That's something I talk about on a lot of the podcast. Being more open, being more self aware and aware of the feelings of others helps us understand how we can interact better with people. So I am I am grateful for the time that you spent with me today going over the five love languages.
[00:33:48] I highly recommend you get in the book and there are some online quizzes that are amazing. If you're not sure what they are, take one of these quizzes. If you come up with my love, languages are none of the above, then what we talked about a little earlier might be worth exploring. Why are those love languages harder for you to tap into? Were they there? If you're going to be honest with yourself? Were they there at some point, but then they were shut down by their spouse? If they are, go find help. Don't just think, OK, I got to stuff these feelings for the rest of my life. That is not a productive thought as a. Therapist to somebody who's passionate about this, you can repair your marriage. Absolutely. You can go find a therapist that's confident and comfortable with couples therapy and then get in there and find a safe environment to be able to express yourself and not have those things that you're going to talk about be shut down, be fixed or judged and get some awareness around there and then get some homework to do that will help you understand how you express love, how to feel love, how to be able to share your emotions and how to discover what's going on with your partner and why they maybe react the way they do.
[00:34:49] Ok. Hey, I hope you enjoyed this bonus episode that you're all ready to go with your love languages. You've taken the quiz. You've talked about it with your spouse. You're ready for a more magnetic marriage, more connected conversations. If so, don't forget to head over to Tony Overbay Dotcom and sign up right now to be one of the first ones to know about how to have a more magnetic marriage, to have more connected conversations. And I will now play us off with the wonderful, the talented, Aurora Florence with its wonderful.