The 5 Love Languages Get Put to the Test
Stephanie and her husband have a “pretty good” marriage, as she describes it, but like most, she knew there was room for improvement. So they decided to tap into Gary Chapman’s famous advice and put his “Five Love Languages” to the test over seven days. They started with Chapman’s instruction to engage in careful observation of your partner and yourself. “You need to ask ‘What’s most important to me?’ and ‘What does my spouse seem to request most often in the relationship?’” Chapman says. This extends to listening to your partner’s criticisms — are they frustrated that you don’t spend enough time together? Their love language might be quality time. Next, they took Dr. Chapman’s test to determine their primary languages. Turns out they share the primary love language of quality time. While the other four — words of affirmation, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch — are important to them, quality time is the one that speaks loudest as their expression of love. Once they knew their primary love language, it was time for the real challenge: with work, kids, and all the other duties life carries, how could they fit more quality time together into their days? Chapman isn’t one to accept excuses. “If we understand the importance of keeping the love alive in a relationship, then we need to make time to do it,” he says. So Stephanie and her husband made time for a farmers market date, followed the next night by hiring a babysitter so they could go out for a glass of wine. Soon, they realized quality time didn’t need to be a ritzy date. One night after their kids went to bed, they simply turned off the TV and talked. “Being able to focus on each other brought back feelings and emotions that hadn’t surfaced since the early days of our relationship, before children. We opened up to each other in a way we hadn’t done in years,” Stephanie said. Chapman acknowledges that the Five Love Languages won’t solve every issue in a marriage. He sees it more as a tool to “help you enhance the relationship, and particularly the emotional part.” For at least one couple, the tool seems to be serving its purpose for strengthening relationships.
GAMING WITH YOUR KIDS
WHY YOU SHOULD PICK UP THAT CONTROLLER
Video games are present in an increasing number of American households. The Entertainment Software Association found that in 2018, 70 percent of parents reported that games were a positive activity in their children’s lives, and 67 percent even play alongside their child at least once a week. Some of you may already be regularly gaming with your kids, but for the rest of you, here are some things to keep in mind. WHY GAMING TOGETHER MATTERS Studies from the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard, and UC Berkeley have shown that video games can have many positive effects on a child, from encouraging critical thinking and social skills to imparting the value of perseverance. Beyond these life skills, video games can also be a way for you to better connect with your child. As game designer and New York Times bestselling author Jane McGonigal, Ph.D., writes, “Games make it easy to build stronger social bonds with our friends and family. Studies show that we like and trust someone better after we play a game with them — even if they beat us.” FIND THE RIGHT GAME Finding the right game to play with your child can be a challenge. Regardless of what platform your child plays on, there’s a nearly inexhaustible list of games to choose from, and some are more child-friendly than others. At the very least, research the Entertainment Software Rating Board’s (ESRB) rating of a game to make sure its content is age-appropriate. When choosing a game, it’s a good idea to keep your child’s interests in mind. Do they enjoy creating things? Games like Minecraft, Super Mario Maker, and Scribblenauts Remix can act as a great sandbox for you and your child’s imaginations to run wild. Does your child love to solve puzzles? Snail Bob 2, Snipperclips, and Portal 2 will have you and your child thinking outside the box for hours. Want to engage in a little friendly competition? Mario Kart, FIFA, and Bam Fu are all excellent choices. GOING BEYOND SCREEN TIME Whether you pick up a controller yourself or just watch your children play games, the most supportive thing you can do as a parent is reinforce the skills they are learning. Understanding that the same creativity and determination that gets them to the end of a level can be applied in the real world is be a powerful thing for a child’s development.
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