Gary Chapman, author of The Five Love Languages, outlines five different ways in which we express and experience love that he calls "love languages." Emotionally, we all need to receive love, but – as Chapman explains – our personal love language and that of our loved one may be drastically different. No matter how hard we try to express love in our own language, if our loved one only understands his or her own love language, we will have difficulty understanding how to love each other.
Do opposites really attract or do you find that your partner is almost a mirror image of yourself? When we think we've finally found the 'one' yet we considers them an opposite, this perhaps means they have opposing strengths. For example, when Jane and John first meet they realize they both have similar interest and values, yet very different strengths. Jane knows how to cook, clean and fix things around the house. She is very handy because she grew up with 2 older brothers. John on the other hand has never cooked a meal in his life and he likes to spend time in the garage tinkering with cars in his spare time. During the day he works as a Financial planner and Jane works as a Veterinarian. Although they have totally opposite strengths, they fit perfectly together because Jane is good in ways that John is not, and vice versa. This is what is meant by opposites attract. Men and women are designed by nature to have very different strengths and while in a relationship that becomes a shared resources. A common problem that I see couples jumping to in their relationship is the act of judgement. Jane has little patience for how John cleans the bathroom and they fight over how little he wants to 'help around the house'. John feels as though he is taking care of the financial aspect so they can just hire a housekeeper, but this makes Jane upset because she likes to DIY. They both view their contributions as beyond what the other is doing or capable of doing. This balance is a number one barrier for relationships and usually arises within the first year or two of living together. Communication is extremely important and both parties need to establish expectations in advance. For this particular couple they wrote out a list of their combined responsibility. This helped for Jane to notice that John actually does do a lot but it is never when she is present so she does not take note of it as often. Good advice for couples is to always check-in monthly do see how things are going. It is ok to ask "how am I doing as your husband/wife this month?" When communication is breaking down over chores you must come up with a way that outlines an equal divide, that both parties are ok with.