A Couples’ Symbiotic Relationship
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I recently read a powerful book that had a tremendous impact on the way I view how couples relate to each other. The Five Love Languages, by Dr. Gary Chapman, carefully illustrates how we express and receive love based on how we ourselves process it. There are five clear languages that couples can identify how they need love expressed to them and, conversely, if they are receiving love in ways that do not match their particular language type then the relationship will might suffer. I address this book because it indirectly shows us how loving our partner isn’t a mutually exclusive event. On the contrary, loving your partner is often a symbiotic relationship.
To highlight an example from Dr. Chapman’s book, I will share my experience. I learned that one of my most significant languages of love was Quality Time although I believed before reading the book that I was most comfortable hearing Words of Affirmation from my loved one in order to feel loved. I thought I needed to hear how much I was adored in order to really KNOW that he loved me. After reading the book, I realized that those words would have just provided me some instant gratification that would have lasted temporarily and not been a product of a long lasting love. The Quality Time together is what I really needed and wanted from my partner to feel loved and adored.
My husband was convinced that it was that Physical Touch that he needed to feel loved, but after reading the book and understanding more about giving and receiving love he realized that he thrived best on the Words of Affirmation. He responds best, knowing and hearing on a regular basis that all he does to provide for us as a family is appreciated, and because of his devotion to us we feel very loved by him. The words of affirmation help him feel loved by all of us.
There are four other languages that are just as powerful and can help a couple learn to love each other in the most healthy beneficial way possible. Love one another in a mutually beneficial way. The symbiotic relationship I spoke about earlier is the connection between partners and how they relate to each other in such a way that each partner is getting and receiving their optimum love dose. Each partner needs and craves the reward of loving their partner in the way that that they need to be loved. I know that the love between my husband and I is now much more enriching because we both enjoy loving each other in a way that strengthens our relationship.
A clown fish that lives in a sea anemone is a perfect example of a symbiotic relationship. Each species lives and thrives because of the other. The clown fish needs the protection and housing that a sea anemone provides, while the sea anemone needs the clown fish to eat the otherwise deadly invertebrates that inhabit the sea anemone. Oddly, the fecal matter of the clown fish is the perfect combination of nutrients needed by the sea anemone. Without one or the other, neither would thrive.
Like the sea anemone and the clown fish, most couples thrive on relating to each other in a mutually beneficial way. There are some cases where the dysfunction between partners enables both partners to react, rather than relate. Couples that relate in healthy ways want and need their partner to thrive on the love that they give, much like the need we have to feel loved the way we need to feel loved. I have often said to my husband I love the way you love me. And subsequently, he gets tremendous satisfaction knowing that his wife feels loved and adored. A symbiotic relationship that is mutually beneficial and healthy.