Communication Through Love: Part 1
We always hear that communication is the most important factor in any relationship. It’s really in the top 3 but we’ll move on. No one goes a day without communicating with someone because it can happen in multiple ways. It can be through the phone, texting, IM, carrier pigeon, smoke signals, whatever you want it to be. Being in a long distance relationship, you find out different ways to communicate with each other. For us, in the beginning, it was the simple text and occasional phone call but we mainly hung out in person. Once we started LDR, we realized that texting wasn't enough for how our lives were structured and from that we began to develop different ways to communicate and continue our close connection to each other.
5 Love Languages
First, if you haven't taken the 5 Love Languages quiz, STOP and go take it! We’ll wait. Finish?.. Good. It’s a great quiz that lets you know your love language and it’s not just for couples but for anybody i.e. children, teens, and singles. The purpose of this quiz is to help define the best way for someone to communicate with you. If you are in a relationship, we suggest taking it and sharing the results with your partner so they know the best way to communicate with you. Knowing each other's love languages opens the floor for better communication, more intimacy, and increased vulnerability. The common mistake we all make is to try and speak our love language to our partner and if you share a love language that may work. On the other hand if you are opposites, communicating that way is appreciated or noted but not loved.
We both took the 5 Love Languages quiz before we were together but we took the quiz again a few weeks ago and our top 3 results are below:
Marcus: Quality Time, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch.
Bryanna: Quality Time, Acts of Service, and Receiving Gifts.
When we 1st started dating we talked about love languages and originally Marcus’ Top 3 languages were actually switched around. Quality Time was always first but Physical Touch was second and Acts of Service third. While we were together, Marcus was very big on holding hands, hugging, cuddling, basically anything like that . As you can see Physical Touch is not in Bryanna’s top 3, it’s actually last (she hates being touched) but she understands that physical touch was how he communicated and the best way to communicate with him. Love languages can and will change over time and since we’ve been apart for so long Marcus’ Top 3 has shifted because physical touch isn’t always possible.
Even though we are LDR, we try to speak each other’s love language but its gets a little difficult at times. The most difficult to speak is Physical Touch because it can only be spoken when we’re together, so we usually spend at least one day of our visits cuddling in the bed and watching tv. Acts of Service is a little challenging, more times than not because we don’t really do much that is the same. Act of service can be as simple as Marcus taking the trash out for Bry or walking Bry's cat (Yes, the cat goes on walks with the leash and everything). We can say we do more acts of service now that we started this blog, for example: Bryanna is terrible at coming up with Captions and Marcus knows that so him simply creating the caption or finding the pictures we post is an act of service Bryanna loves.
The two most simple to communicate of our love languages are Quality Time and Receiving Gifts. We try to spend Quality Time together by having/setting virtual date nights or talking on the phone about random things just to feel connected or even now writing our blog post has been a way for us to spend quality time to discuss our thoughts and feelings. In terms of Receiving gifts, Marcus communicates using this often and random by sending Bryanna random gifts or cards in the mail and surprising her. Bryanna loves not only to receive gifts but to give gifts. She often uses that language to try and communicate with Marcus. Don’t get him wrong, he loves and cherishes the gifts she makes or sends but overall if that was the only way she communicated with him it wouldn't be enough to grow closer.
Understanding & Learning about Each Other
Learning about someone is easy when you see them and are around them everyday. For us, we only had a few months to get to know some things about each other but it was enough to know that we wanted to continue this relationship.
When we 1st started dating, we did the typical talk on the phone and hangout out all night and those moments together helped shape the foundation of our relationship. One of our favorite moments of getting to know each other is explain below:
We were studying together in the engineering building and when we got done we decided to leave together around 11pm. We happened to have parked next to each other so Marcus walked Bry to the car and even opened the door. We started talking about something random and stood outside for a like an hour in the cold before Bry said let’s just sit in the car. (Marcus must really like Bry cause he hates the cold) Now we are sitting in the car talking and approx. every hour one of us kept saying “We need to go home, we gotta get up in the morning”. We ended up talking all night and by all night I mean until like 4am. We talked about everything from our childhood all the way to why we choose our respective major. It was definitely a defining moment in our relationship.
This moment is one of our favorite because we learned so much and the conversation went so deep as the meme says there is nothing like a late night car conversation.
In the beginning of us going LDR, we also, video chatted a lot but we don’t as much anymore unless we want to show each other something important or when we send gifts and we want to see each other open them. We personally felt that video chatting didn’t really help us feel more connected so we mostly talk via phone or text or memes.
It takes a while to discover how you and your partner will communicate and it will morph over time but as long as you both continue to work at it, it will mature. It took a long time to build our communication levels up and we are still continuing to build. For a long time and to be honest, sometimes our conversation stills becomes dry. We get stuck in a routine of “How was work? Did you sleep okay? What are you doing this weekend?” that we forget to open up and realize that we are still growing and maturing in this time apart so we need to continue to learn and understand where/how each other are growing. Sometimes when we get stuck, we will google some interesting things or relationship questions to jump start our conversation. Sometimes they help and sometimes they don't but we are at a place where we realize that the conversation doesn't need to be forced and we don't have to consistently talk every minute of the day to show how much we love each other.
The goal of being able to understand and learn each other is to reach vulnerability with your partner. Honestly, we are still working on this and as our relationship continues we will always have to work on this. Vulnerability comes from being comfortable and trusting each other. It’ll blossom as you learn each other's mannerisms, body languages, do’s, and don’ts.
How are we enjoying each other where we are?
In the beginning our level of enjoyment was based off what we knew and learn about each other, when we were together. Now that we have been apart for 3 years, we are different people and have to learn who we are now. It’s all about being aware that in the time apart the person will grow and mature possibly at a slower or faster rate than you but you have to be open and supportive to understand where they are in life. Being aware of this allows for you to enjoy the person they are becoming instead of feeling like you are getting left behind and/or dragging them behind. It’s not easy but it’s worth doing.
We enjoy the moments that remind us why we are still together, like sitting on the phone making random sounds and talking about our favorite tv shows. Bry loves to make random sounds and do random dances, that’s one of the reasons Marcus loves her. By her still having those moments it shows that we are in a place of comfort and when she’s not doing those things he knows something is wrong or bothering her.
Another way we enjoy each other where we are is by being open and encouraging each other to try new things and experiences without you. A great example of this is when Marcus started attending an open mic night. Marcus has been attending an open mic night for a few months and Bry had been nudging him to give it a try but he kept saying not yet. This past week, for his birthday, which was April 14, he signed up to do spoken word at the open mic night. He hasn’t performed in a while and was telling me that he wanted to memorize the piece. He was super nervous as expected but his performance went well. Bry continuously supported his efforts from helping him pick out a piece to performance, helping him memorize it all the way to giving him the encouragement and support to get up on stage. Bry was very open to him picking back up something that he loves.
Based off what we understand and learn about each other, we are able to enjoy each other where we are in any moment. We take each day as a new day to fall for each other all over again. Learning different ways to make each other happy, make each other laugh, teach each other new things, all with the intent of continuing to openly communication.