Disconnecting From Distractions

Matt SuteraIn our modern world, ‘connection’ is easily formed with others through a screen. (re: YOU HAVE A NEW FRIEND REQUEST) However, when it comes to forming connection with our partners, filtering our love through a screen often is not enough. The distraction of our devices have gotten in the way of the people we love most and generate fear, anxiety, and resentment in the place where love used to reside. An obvious solution would be to reduce the distractions and develop greater awareness in our relationship to foster more meaningful –uninterrupted– connections. Can you think of the last time you gave someone your undivided attention? Unfortunately, this is only one half of the issue. Let’s say we do put our distractions down, how do we then translate our increased awareness into meaningful connections?

A helpful framework lies in the Love Languages developed in 1992 by Dr. Gary Chapman. Chapman conceptualized 5 different ‘languages’ through which individuals like to give and receive love to others in their lives as follows,
  • Receiving Gifts
  • Acts of Service
  • Words of Affirmation
  • Quality Time
  • Physical Touch
While not the only requirement for improving relationships, the Love Languages provide a simple, yet useful framework for answering the question “How can we connect?” and giving couples tools to better understanding one another’s emotional needs in their relationships. The straightforward nature of the Love Languages involves completing a 30-question survey with each question consisting of only 2 choices. At the end, the number of each Love Language is tallied and the most popular response is that individual’s primary Love Language. Do you know what your love language is? If not, take the quiz!

How might knowing one’s Love Language be useful to your relationship? The guessing game is eliminated. Date nights that have been customized to each other’s language can become more regular. Partners are able to become more attuned to one another’s needs and connection begins to occur more effectively and effortlessly, rather than as part of an elaborate plan once every few months. As previously stated, the Love Languages are not a cure-all, however, they can provide direction, hope, and certainly love.

For more information about your love language and strategies for effectively connecting with your partner join me for my Loving Effectively workshop offered September 30 from 11:00 – 12:30 at Thrive Therapy. Check our workshop schedule periodically for more events hosted at Thrive!

Matt Sutera, MA, is a Mental Health Practitioner providing therapeutic services to couples in the south metropolitan of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota. Matt’s desire is to help couples realize their potential, to improve and better their self-understanding. He brings a calm demeanor, trust, optimism, and witty sense of humor to his sessions.