Relationships need constant work. If not tended to, you may find yourself in the position of needing to rekindle love. Do you know how to rebuild a relationship after it’s crumbled?
We’ll cover the basics of why love falls apart, how to rekindle love, and how to rebuild a relationship, from Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages.
Rekindle Love: Loving through the Hard Times
Learning to speak each other’s love languages (from The 5 Love Languages) can have staggeringly positive effects on any relationship, even those on the brink of death.
Most relationships end because of negative patterns. Past hurts or resentments cloud our ability to love or feel loved.
- Negative cycles or patterns in arguments preclude any chance for progress. Phrases such as “You always do ____” or “You never ____” place people in boxes with no way out.
- A long committed relationship may be failing because each person forgot how to love the other in a way that made them feel good.
- Relationships also end when partners stop trying to make the other feel loved.
Whatever the issues or patterns are, immediately learning and communicating through each other’s love languages can go a long way. This is how to rebuild a relationship and rekindle love in the process.
Love is a process. Even if you make the choice to speak your partner’s love language, they may not respond positively right away. The choice is yours to continue loving them and filling their tanks. As their tanks begin to fill, you may see improvement and progress. You may rekindle love. If not, at least you know you did everything you could to love them well.
Rekindle Love Example: Ann and Glenn’s 10-Year Marriage
After 10 years of criticism, mistreatment, and indifference from her husband, Glenn, Ann felt emotionally depleted and like her husband was her enemy. She thought she hated him, but she wasn’t ready to give up. She wanted to rekindle love.
Ann learned about love tanks and the love languages. She understood that she couldn’t go back and erase the past years of pain. But she wanted to know how to rebuild a relationship. She decided to try to learn to love Glenn again and make the choice to meet his emotional needs. Glenn, who always resisted therapy or the idea that he needed to work on anything, might or might not respond, but Ann would know she had made her choice at the end.
Ann’s biggest issue was the loss of time together. When they first fell in love, she and Glenn spent hours together talking or enjoying each other. But throughout their marriage, she began to feel like everything else in Glenn’s life was more important than spending time with her.
Glenn had a different attitude when they used to be more physically intimate. He also felt like Ann nagged him all the time. To understand what Glenn really needed, Ann asked him what she could do to be a better wife to him. She took the information he provided and used it to create a plan of action. She started looking for positive things in his life for which to provide words of affirmation. She also started initiating more intimate touches. She started to rekindle love.
Afterward, Ann asked for feedback on how she was doing in being a better wife. Then, a week after receiving the feedback, she made specific requests of something he could do for her. Through this process, she was letting him know what her primary love language was.
She followed this pattern of feedback and requests once a month for six months. At first, Glenn reacted cooly. But soon, he began providing more positive feedback and responded positively to her requests. Ann’s feelings began to improve as each request was addressed. They were able to learn what the other needs to feel loved and how to make the choice to communicate that love effectively. This is an example of how to rebuild a relationship and rekindle love.
———End of Preview———
Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best summary of "The 5 Love Languages" at Shortform. Learn the book's critical concepts in 20 minutes or less.
Here's what you'll find in our full The 5 Love Languages summary:
- How to figure out what your love language is, and what your partner's is
- Why arguments happen in relationships, and how to stop them
- How to speak the right love language, even if it's not yours