Month: February 2016

5 Love Languages: Physical Touch

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***This is the sixth post in a series of 6 about the Five Love Languages in marriage. I suggest reading them in order. Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

It should not surprise you to know that physical touch is an important part of love and marriage. However, for some people, it is the most important part. A loving hand, kiss, or full body contact can fill this person’s love tank faster than any other expression of love.

Let’s get real ladies. We all know what people, even experts, say about men and sex. They say it is an actual physical need. But let me assure you that not every man’s primary love language is Physical Touch, although sex may be extremely important to him. Dr. Chapman even points out that many men mistakenly believe, right off the bat, that physical touch is their primary love language based on the importance they place on sex. However, if you were to take away the expression of love in their actual primary love language, with sex still being available to them, they would most likely withdraw.

What are the different dialects?

There are many different ways to touch someone in order to make them feel loved but here are the basic 2 in marriage.

1. Making Love

Making love is a critical part of marriage but it is even more significant for people who speak this dialect of Physical Touch. If this is your spouse’s dialect, please remember that every time you deny him that, he will feel more rejected than most. It is common, in marriage, to allow external pressures to take away from our intimacy with our partner. Perhaps you feel exhausted after a day of work, cleaning, and putting the kids to bed and sex is the last thing on your mind. Do not forget the power you have and the love you would be denying your spouse if you ignored his advances. If this is the way he feels loved, you must decide how willing you are to fill his love tank. Just as with any other love language, this one act of intimacy can be the difference between a thriving marriage and a dying one.

2. Other forms of touch

You may be surprised to realize that although making love is definitely important, your spouse actually speaks another dialect in the love language of Physical Touch. When I was dating my husband he would often ask me to rub his back. I knew he worked hard and was often sore at the end of the day so I would gladly rub his back for him. When we got married, he continued to ask for back rubs and to be frank, with time it got annoying. Sleep is critical for me, so I would sometimes turn down his request and tell him I was too tired.

Our first major fight was actually over this. I remember he was so upset and said that I had spoiled him and gotten him used to back massages and it wasn’t fair. I thought he was acting like a child. He left the house in what I considered to be a tantrum. Finally, after 6 years of marriage and reading this book, I realized how important back massages were to him. It wasn’t just because he was sore, this was a legitimate concern for him because when I denied him a back rub, he felt that I didn’t love him.

I asked him to take the love language profile and physical touch came in first, with quality time a close second. I already knew what dialect he spoke and so in the last few weeks I have made sure to take 5 minutes or so at the end of most days to offer him a back massage. In the beginning, it was kind of a joke. He would say, “Wow, I feel so loved!” You wouldn’t believe my delight when walking through the door after work one night, I saw what had once been a sink full of dirty dishes, all washed and drying. He smiled when he saw my reaction. I think we finally get it.

Of course, there are many dialects and ways to express love through Physical Touch. Some are more explicit such as love making, cuddling, and back massages. However, sometimes touch can be more implicit and casual such as running your hands through his hair, a quick kiss before he leaves, or even a hand on his shoulder as you pass by. It may take a little time to figure out what kinds of touches communicate love most effectively to your spouse. Once you find them, use them often and see how your spouse’s attitude changes.

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How do I know if this is my or my spouse’s love language?

Dr. Chapman offers a few different ways to check if this is either your or your spouse’s love language. 

1. Do either of you express love in this love language? Do you feel that your spouse is often hugging, kissing, or touching you in some way? Do you try to cuddle with your spouse every chance you get? Is it critical for you to hug or kiss your spouse before you part?

2. What are your complaints like? Does your husband ever mention how much it hurts him when you turn down his advances in bed? Do you feel offended when your husband pulls away from you when you’re trying to cuddle or hold hands? Does he complain that you are not responsive to his touches?

3. What kinds of requests do you make? Does he ask for back massages? Do you ask for a kiss when you come home? Does your spouse ever request you make love more often?

How can I express it?

So let’s say you have discovered that your spouse’s love language might be Physical Touch. How do you speak it then?

Here are a few ideas:

•     If back massages are a big deal to him, invest some time and maybe even money in learning to be a good masseuse. Then make sure you get lots of practice in. I’m sure he’ll be more than willing to be your guinea pig.

•     Make it a point to initiate intimacy with your spouse the next time. For someone whose love language is physical touch and love making is their primary dialect, this will speak love louder than ever to him!

•     Try making a conscious effort to touch your spouse more frequently. Making your kisses more available, your hugs more heartfelt, and random love touches more significant.

•     Try asking your spouse how he wants to be touched. If he’s open to talking about it, this will put you on the fast track to finding what works and what doesn’t.

No response?

So what if you feel like your spouse isn’t really responding to your loving touches? The most likely answer is that it isn’t his primary love language. If this is the case, check out the other posts about the other 4 love languages.

If you’re sure it is his primary love language but he still isn’t responding, there may be more going on. If you have struggled in your marriage for a while, it is possible he is interpreting your touch as manipulation. He may believe the marriage is over and it’s too late. Either of these options doesn’t have to mean the end of your marriage. Stay consistent in expressing love in the language that means the most to him, without expectation of receiving anything in return. Do this for an extended period of time, Dr. Chapman suggests at least six months. It is hard to maintain a cold heart when a person is loving you, in the way you understand and appreciate, without conditions. 

Experiment!

If you’re still on the fence about whether or not Physical Touch is your husband’s primary love language, try an experiment. For an entire week (or more if needed), try some of the above mentioned ideas for ways to express love to your spouse through touch. Do at least one every single day. Do it with the desire to make him feel your love, without expecting anything in return. Make a note on your phone to write down your observations. If there is a drastic shift in his attitude, you’ve probably found a winner. If not, check out the other posts about the other 4 love languages to see if there is one better fitted to your spouse.

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Is Physical Touch your love language? Or your spouse’s? I want to hear about it! How do you feel loved? How do you express love through touch?

Signature Yellow2

 

 

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6 Favorite Personal Development Books

6 Fave Books SquareI’m kind of a self-improvement junkie. In fact, my family makes fun of me sometimes because there’s always the latest book I’ve read or listened to and I want to share it with everybody. I’ve decided to share a few of my favorites with you in light of my post about lifelong learning. Reading and listening to books that teach me something is one of my favorite ways to learn.

***I have included Amazon affiliate links for each book. That means, that if you choose to purchase a book through one of my links, at no extra cost to you, I will receive a small commission.

The Willpower Instinct1. The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal (audio version) (kindle version)

You will understand willpower on an entirely new level after reading this book. It also has some actionable steps to help strengthen your own willpower. A definite must-read when you feel like you never seem to have enough self-discipline to accomplish your goals. Willpower is just a muscle and the more you use it, the stronger it gets. You can learn how to “urge surf” and overcome things you never thought possible.

The Automatic Millionaire2. The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach (audio version) (kindle version)

I first read this book as a required text for a family finances class I took in college. It is pure genius! It’s so nice to live in a time when there are so many resources to managing your finances and saving for retirement. Long gone are the days of money stashes in the mattress. You can be smart about saving and make it automatic so you don’t even know it’s happening. This book also explains the basics on finances and investing in a way that even I could understand.

Getting Things Done3. Getting Things Done by David Allen (audio version) (kindle version)

This book teaches you how to get everything out of your head and into a system you can trust so that you don’t forget things and you have a clear head at all times. I have a constant list going in my head of things I need to do, would like to do, and stuff I can’t forget. It’s nice to see that someone has come up with a system to organize all of that. It takes a little time to set up the system and a commitment to keep up with it but it can literally change your life!

Duct Tape Parenting4. Duct Tape Parenting by Vicki Hoefle (audio version) (kindle version)

In college I studied a lot about child psychology and developmental and educational theories. I didn’t find this book until later but it is based on Rudolf Dreikurs’ and Alfred Adler’s idea of natural consequences and intrinsic motivation. It is the theory that most resonates with me and teaches that we can help children motivate themselves without punishment or reward but through natural consequences. It’s an amazing read and really helps you question your parenting tactics but offers excellent steps in changing the way you parent. Try it as an experiment and I’m willing to bet you’ll be convinced.

The One Thing5. The One Thing by Gary Keller (audio version) (kindle version)

This is a book that is talked about a lot among entrepreneurs. However, I think it is applicable to all people in whatever their endeavors are. As a mother, I find the “focusing question” invaluable in prioritizing my life and making sure I’m doing what matters most. It helps to cut through the clutter and focus on the one thing that is going to make the biggest difference. It also busts some longtime myths about productivity and achieving the life of your dreams.

5 LL Book6. The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman (audio version) (kindle version)

You all know this is one of my favorites because I’m talking about it all month long! We live in such a disposable society. Our phones only last two years (if that), our computers don’t last much longer, our plates are disposable, our leftovers go to waste, and when something doesn’t work right, we can just take it back to the store for a refund. Even marriage has become disposable. I truly believe that if people would try this experiment before calling it quits, we would see an enormous decrease in the divorce rate. No more would we hear, “We just don’t love each other anymore” or “He doesn’t make me happy.”

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Have I convinced you to read any of these? What are some of your favorites?

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Never Stop Learning

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**If you choose to sign up for audible through my link, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

During my first year of college, while walking toward the bus after classes, I met a surprising woman. She had to have been well into her 80’s or possibly her 90’s. She was classically dressed in a black skirt, white button down shirt, and orthopedic shoes. Her white hair was pulled up in a sleek bun and behind her she wheeled what looked like a heavy backpack. When I first saw her, I thought she was lost. Then, I thought maybe she was a professor. I never guessed she would be a student.

I ran up to her and asked if I could help her with her bag. She was grateful and we walked together toward the science building. I learned that she was a student at this university and she was taking graduate classes in nutrition and food science. This intrigued me. She was quick to admit she was auditing the classes. Her reasons were that she wasn’t after a degree and didn’t want to take up space in a graduate program that could be occupied by younger students looking for a career. She said she was interested in learning about food science and that it was always something that fascinated her. I was absolutely floored. Here I was, a 19-year-old psychology major who was considering changing her major because a graduate degree seemed way too far off to be realistic. Yet here stood a woman, older than my grandma, who was eagerly studying in a graduate program that she would never get a diploma for.

My interaction with this woman impacted my life and completely changed the way I view education. Although I am an advocate of formal education, I majored in it, I am an even bigger advocate of organic learning. For a lot of people, the best kind of learning happens when we aren’t doing it for a grade.

Maybe you think you’re done with school and so your “real learning” has stopped. Maybe you feel like with little kids there is no way you have time to learn. Or maybe you really can’t think of anything you want to learn and so you just keep plugging away at your day-to-day life. Let me assure you that “real learning” happens outside of a classroom, you do have time to learn even with little kids, and there is something you want to learn you just need to make it a priority.

Time learn 2How do I find time to learn?

We cannot make a goal to learn about something without redirecting a chunk of our time to doing it. The extra time does not come out of thin air, we must take it from something we are already doing.

Before you complain that you just don’t have the time, take an honest look at your life. Is every minute of your life really spent doing supremely important things? How many minutes a day do you spend mindlessly scrolling through your Facebook feed? Or pinning random things on Pinterest that you never make the time to try? Do you mindlessly watch episode after episode of New Girl on Netflix at night to “unwind”? While it’s totally fine to take a break occasionally from focus-draining tasks and do something mindless for a few minutes, we have a tendency of letting that train run free and losing a lot of precious time in the name of taking “breaks.”

I guarantee that if you make the use of your time intentional, you will find pockets of time that could be spent strengthening your brain and learning something new. You just have to be conscious about how you actually spend your time and not how you tell yourself you spend it.

What to learn 2What Should I Learn?

There are any number of things we can learn that will improve our life in some way. Here are a list of questions to get you started.

What will help me improve my life right now if I knew more about it?

Maybe you’ve noticed that some moms seem to have it together and make dinner every night when you feel like it is an impossible task. If you knew a little more about cooking or meal planning and prep, could it make that easier for you? What if you looked into make ahead freezer meals? Or maybe your struggle is saving money. You just can’t seem to figure out how to get your head above water. If you knew of different options and strategies out there to help people save money, could you possibly benefit from that?

What have I always been interested in?

What is that one thing you were always interested in but never pursued because of other things that came up in life? In the past, were you able to carry on long, deep conversations about philosophy? Does human anatomy absolutely fascinate you? Or forensic science? Or maybe you’re drawn to studying other cultures or languages. There is no limit to what you can learn if it piques your interest.

What are my hobbies?

Or if you’re a busy mom, what were your hobbies? I know for a long time after I started having kids I gave up on my hobbies because I felt like I didn’t have time anymore. I finally realized that having a hobby is paramount, no matter how much or how little time you have. Did you used to enjoy photography? Or making paper crafts? Or maybe you’ve always wanted to learn to crochet but other things always got in the way. It’s possible to make a little time each week to focus on a hobby.

What do my loved ones need help with?

Is there something someone in your family needs help with right now? Do you have a depressed teenager that you don’t know what to do with? Or a defiant toddler who seems to rule your house? Maybe your husband is trying to start his own business but could benefit from a little help from you. There are ways to learn about all these topics if we make the time for it.

Books2How can I learn?

Now that you know what you want to learn, here is a list of some different ways you can go about it.

Books

Let us never forget the classic, tried and true way of learning, books. There are so many incredible books out there, old and new. There are different ways of reading books. There are physical books, ebooks, and audiobooks. There are abridged versions, nonabridged versions, cliffnotes, and summaries of books. You can buy books, rent books, trade books, or borrow books. You may even already have a book you intended to read but never got around to it. 

One of my favorite things to do while cleaning is listen to books. Since routine cleaning is such a mindless task to me, I can thoroughly enjoy a new book while I do it and it passes the time so much faster. Instead of dreading the task of cleaning the bathroom, I can look forward to it because I get to listen to this awesome book. I usually listen to free books from my local library with an app called overdrive on my phone. Ask your local library if they offer audiobooks and they can probably get you set up. If not, audible has most any book you can think of in audio version. You can try audible for free for a month with two free audiobooks. If you have Amazon Prime, you can get 3 free months of audible, with a free book each month.

Courses

Check your local college for community courses to see if one strikes your fancy. You might also be able to audit real college classes if you’re not interested in earning credits. Or you could try sites such as Udemy or Coursera to find online courses on your topic of interest. Many of them are free.

Podcasts

If you’ve never listened to a podcast then you are missing out! The best way to describe them would be sort of like a radio show I guess, only on demand. So you can search for certain topics or browse different categories. Sometimes I like to even google “best podcasts for…” whatever topic I’m interested in. You can download certain episodes and subscribe to your favorite podcasts. There’s a lot to be learned on the podcast platform.

Clubs or Groups

If you are lucky enough to have clubs or groups in your area dedicated to what you’re interested in, you should definitely consider joining. For instance, say you are interested in learning more about homeschooling your children. If you know of someone in your community who homeschools, get with that person to ask if there are others and if they meet regularly. See if they would mind if you popped in to learn a little more. Or maybe you’re interested in making some homemade decor for your house. Do you know anybody who is particularly good at that? Maybe you could invite this person to start a craft club with you and ask your friends if they would be interested in doing a craft night once a month to make something for their home. The possibilities are endless! The fun about this is that you get to learn with other people. So girls night out just got educational 🙂

Conferences

Check out local conferences or events where experts come to speak or give classes for a day. These are sometimes an investment but may well be worth it to you. You can also make this one a little more social by inviting your spouse or a good friend to attend with you.

There is so much in life that we can learn and benefit from yet we sometimes get stuck in this rut where we know what we know and that’s all we care about or have energy for. Get rid of your mindset that learning takes place at school and become a lifelong learner where learning takes place in every location and situation. Be an example to your children that learning is important, fun, and should be a lifelong endeavor.

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Tell me, what are you going to start with? How do you plan on learning about it? Have you tried any of these ideas or do you have others?

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5 Love Languages: Acts of Service

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***This is the fifth post in a series of 6 about the Five Love Languages in marriage. I suggest reading them in order. Part 1, 2, 3, 4

A common way of showing you care about someone is by serving them. When we hear about a friend who just had a baby, we often run to the rescue by bringing dinner, offering to do the laundry, or making a run to the store. This is not only important in friendship but can be critical in our marriage if our spouse speaks the love language Acts of Service.

Stereotypes are a big part of this love language. Most women have experience in this area of serving their spouse because our society still has a tendency to follow these stereotypes. Maybe your husband expects you to take care of all the housework and the children because that’s what his mother did and he feels like it is your womanly duty. Or maybe it truly makes him feel loved when he comes home to a clean house and dinner on the table.

It is important to note, if this is your husband’s love language, your attitude about performing such tasks will make a huge difference on the way these acts of service will be received. Nobody wants to feel like a doormat and serve their spouse out of fear or pure obligation. Likewise, nobody wants to receive service when the giver is doing it begrudgingly. If we do it out of love, we keep our own dignity intact while filling our spouse’s love tank. Remember, love does not make demands, only requests.

What are the different dialects?

Here a few ideas of what may be different dialects for the love language Acts of Service.

1. Chores

Service can come in many forms but a common one is household chores. That means doing the dishes and the laundry, cleaning the bathrooms and the floors, making the beds and dusting the furniture. It comes in the form of preparing meals, bathing and caring for the children, running errands, yard work, and taking care of pets. In effect, anything that needs to be done around the house could be considered a chore. If you can make it a priority to help your spouse with some of that, it will show him you care.

2. Caring for

What about when your husband is sick? I’m willing to bet we are all too familiar with how grown, burly men magically turn into little children when they are sick. Although it may irk you to take care of your husband and meet his requests (not demands mind you) when he is obviously exaggerating how sick he is, it may well be the difference between an empty and a full love tank. If his love language is acts of service, he will be even more appreciative of your waiting on him when he is sick or having a rough day.

3. Help with the To Do List

Does your spouse ask you for favors or help with certain things? Maybe it’s to make him a doctors appointment or order him something online. Maybe he could use your help studying or being his soundboard for his big work project. We all know how it feels to be overwhelmed and part of marriage is being able to rely on your spouse for support. If this is his love language, you will see how much it means to him that you’re willing to help him out.

Service 2 squareHow do I know if this is my or my spouse’s love language?

Dr. Chapman offers a few different ways to check if this is either your or your spouse’s love language. 

1. Do either of you express love in this love language? Does your spouse sometimes help you with the chores around the house or taking care of the kids? Do you make it a priority to keep your house clean in an attempt to please your spouse? Does he ever volunteer to make dinner when you’ve had a rough day?

2. What are your complaints like? Does he seem extremely disappointed when he comes home and you’re watching TV while the house is a wreck? Do you tell him you’re tired of doing everything and hate that he never offers to help? Is it common for your husband to tell you he feels like you don’t care about him because you never have time to help him?

3. What kinds of requests do you make? Does he ask for favors a lot of the time? Do you ask for his help when you’re in the midst of cleaning up and it’s bath time for the kids? Does it seem extremely important to him to come home to a clean house?

How can I express it?

So let’s say you have discovered that your spouse’s love language might be Acts of Service. How do you speak it then?

Here are a few ideas:

•     Make it a priority to keep your house clean and dinner on the table. Don’t let this make you feel degraded. Instead, imagine that with each dish you wash, you’re depositing drops of love in your husband’s love tank.

•     If he seems to be having a rough day, offer to do more than the norm to serve him. Bring him a cup of hot cocoa or offer to put in his favorite movie. He will feel pampered and blessed to be your husband.

•     Try asking him if there’s anything he needs help with today? If there is anything you can do to lighten his load?

No Response?

So what if you feel like your spouse isn’t really responding to your acts of service? The most likely answer is that it isn’t his primary love language. If this is the case, check out the previous posts on the 5 love languages and stay tuned for the last one next week.

If you’re sure it is his primary love language but he still isn’t responding, there may be more going on. If you have struggled in your marriage for a while, it is possible he is interpreting your service as manipulation. He may believe the marriage is over and it’s too late. Either of these options doesn’t have to mean the end of your marriage. Stay consistent in expressing love in the language that means the most to him, without expectation of receiving anything in return. Do this for an extended period of time, Dr. Chapman suggests at least six months. It is hard to maintain a cold heart when a person is loving you, in the way you understand and appreciate, without conditions. 

Experiment!

If you’re still on the fence about whether or not Acts of Service is your husband’s primary love language, try an experiment. For an entire week (or more if needed), try some of the above mentioned ideas for ways to express love to your spouse through service. Do at least one every single day. Do it with the desire to make him feel your love, without expecting anything in return. Make a note on your phone to write down your observations. If there is a drastic shift in his attitude, you’ve probably found a winner. If not, check out the other posts in this series and stay tuned for the last one next week to see if there is one better fitted to your spouse.

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Is Acts of Service your love language? Or your spouse’s? I want to hear about it! How do you feel loved? How do you express love through service?

Signature Yellow2

8 Beauty Products to Speed Up Your Routine

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**You may notice some of these links come from the blog maskcara.com. I just want to clarify that everything I know about makeup I learned from her and I love her products. I am not affiliated in any way but highly recommend her for makeup tips, advice, and amazing products. There are also Amazon affiliate links for some of these products. That means, if you choose to purchase a product through one of my Amazon links, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a small commission. Ok…on to the good stuff…

I feel like people are finally realizing that not everybody has an hour to get ready everyday and products that speed up that process are hot right now. There are more than ever before. Here a few that are my go-tos currently.

hac pack1. IIID Foundation

This is the holy grail of contouring for busy people. If you think highlighting and contouring will take too much time, watch this video and see if it doesn’t convince you. It’s so easy, you don’t need anything underneath it and it makes your face look like you have the perfect lighting following you around all day. I seriously love this stuff and the fact that the palette includes foundation, blush, and illuminator means you don’t need much else in your makeup kit. You can use the cream blush on your lips for a little color and the contour color on your eyes if you want. It’s so quick! If you feel intimidated, check out this post.

Hac brush2. 30 Second HAC Brush

This brush is on my list to purchase next time I refill my IIID foundation. It is dual-sided with one side short and dense for your contour color and the other side more like a foundation brush for your highlight color. With such a large surface area on each side, your foundation would have to go on super quick!

bb cream3. Loreal BB Cream

If you aren’t interested at all in highlighting and contouring, a BB Cream might be your answer. You put it on like you would moisturizer and it evens out your skin tone and gives you a little color. It’s the quickest all-over face option. You can get them with SPF which is super important to your skin health. I sometimes use this one under the IIID Foundation if I feel like I need a little more coverage.

maybelline mascara4. Define-a-Lash Mascara

Using just a touch of mascara really makes my eyes pop and makes me look awake and alert. Even without any other eye makeup, this one makes the biggest difference. I like this one because it doesn’t smudge and it makes my lashes look super long and separated, without making them spidery. Not only that, but it’s a steal at less than $6.

brow duo5. Anasastia Brow Duo

Most of us underestimate how important our brows are. I suggest getting them professionally shaped and then working to maintain that shape by tweezing on a regular basis. Then you can quickly fill them in where they need it. Here is a great post about eyebrows. I have found that using a brow shadow is the quickest way to fill in my brows on a regular day.

makeup organizer6. Clear Makeup Organizer

To make painting your face even easier, get something to organize your products and tools that is super easy to navigate. Since this one is clear, I can always see where everything is and it makes it so simple to grab what I need and get on with life. It sure beats digging through a makeup bag.

round brush7. Ceramic Round Brush

I used to dread using a ceramic round brush because my hair would always get stuck in the crack between the barrel and the handle and it was excruciating to pull it out! I decided to invest a little more in my brushes and found this jewel. My hair never gets caught and it gives my roots crazy volume. Not only that, it does it all in under 6 minutes for me!

batiste8. Batiste Dry Shampoo

I have super thin hair and so a good dry shampoo is imperative for me. This stuff is super cheap and I love the way it covers up my thin spots. I have a cowlick in the back of my head and my hair always parts there. I used to use the brown bumble and bumble dry shampoo to help camouflage it but at almost $40 a pop and only a handful of places in the state to buy it, it wasn’t realistic. This is the perfect dupe and you can buy it almost anywhere.

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What products do you use that make your beauty routine quicker? Do you use any of these? Do you like them?

Signature Yellow2