In my last relationships post I talked about relationship goals and how the most important relationship you’ll ever have is the one with yourself. However, this doesn’t mean I want to end up in a relationship that only involves me and no one else – that would be silly and very boring. This post is about relationship expectations. Firstly, you might be thinking ‘what’s the difference’ well let’s just look at the definitions:
Goal – the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result. This is where you’d like to be. It’s your aspiration.
Expectation – a strong belief that something will happen or be the case. This is what you believe should be there, a baseline or minimum requirement.
Differing expectations make me feel like I’m swimming in an angry sea with no sight of dry land! In today’s world there are so many levels of expectations. An easy example of this is settling the bill after a meal; some women expect each and every date to be paid for by the man, other women like the man to occasional treat her and some women would shudder at the thought of a man paying for any more than their half of a bill. You see it’s all very confusing.
Five Languages of Love
A colleague of mine pointed me in the direction of ‘The Five Languages of Love’ and it explained a lot in my past and present relationships. To put it simply everyone feels and experience love differently. Author, Gary Chapman has identified love as having five different languages:
- Receiving Gifts
- Words of Affirmation
- Quality of Time
- Acts of Service
- Physical Touch
It’s OK to ‘speak’ a different language to your partner but beneficial to understand each other’s language otherwise you could run into rocky shores. For example if your partner’s language was ‘Quality of Time’ but you were never there and to make up for it you showered him/her with gifts, the relationship won’t work. They won’t feel like they are getting what they need from a partner.
As humans we are all very different, so it’s not selfish to want to talk to your partner about what you need from them. You’re investing into the relationship to understand how you can be the best partner for them and how your partner can be the best for you. There is a test you can do to find out your love language. Let’s see how I fared :
- Physical Touch – 12
- Words of Affirmation – 8
- Acts of Service – 4
- Receiving Gifts – 4
- Quality of Time – 2
I scored pretty much as I expected to. But what does this mean:
Physical Touch Apparently this makes me a very touchy feely person and I suppose sometimes I can be. I know I show my excitement, I care about others and I’m passionate. However, what’s very true, is the need for physical presence and openness in my relationship. For me, this is crucial in order to have a successful relationship. It’s really important to me to connect with a person physically, whether it be a hug, kiss, pat on the back or * blushing as she writes this* a little more.
Words of Affirmation Those three little words are important to me and so are words of encouragement. The affirmation doesn’t necessarily have to come from my partner; hearing my parents say they are proud of me builds me up and spurs me on to do and be better. I’m a very positive person and always look on the bright side so giving others encouragement comes quite naturally. However, this does mean I don’t see the other side of people’s views. When someone is negative I become quite frustrated with them, instead of listening to their thoughts and reasons.
Acts of Service & Receiving Gifts Scoring the same both I agree it’s nice to have something done for you or receive a lovely bunch of flowers but if it doesn’t come with a kiss, then it doesn’t count. I’m quite an independent person, some say too independent, which means I can provide for myself and do pretty much any task I put my mind to. However, if my partner helped me out I would feel valued and loved. The same if they treated me to a surprised meal or a heartfelt gift; I’d feel valued.
Quality of Time I scored leased in this and again I think this is right for me. Not only am I independent but I like my own company. Don’t get me wrong I like seeing my partner and doing stuff together but time apart to do the things that you’re passionate about is really important. I don’t think I would ever like to lose that.
So whether you are single, dating, taken or married we all have a love language and we all come to a relationship with differing expectations. The key is to understand and listen to your other half and find out what their expectations are. Maybe then there will be calmer waters ahead – my fingers and toes are crossed! If you take the test please share with me how you scored and your thoughts – I’d love to hear from you.