Potential love bombs
WORD WAR III: If your partner shows and receives love mainly through positive words (Words of Affirmation), the worst thing you could do is be critical, condescending or use your words to inflict hurt, says Peck.
“Because words are so important to some individuals, words of negativity hit them more than any other type. Words can be used to help and build up or to destroy a relationship.”
If your partner fans like a frilled lizard when you say the least critical thing, avoid getting into a war of words altogether. Excuse yourself from the situation until tempers tame. It’s likely the opposite — positive words — will calm the savage situation when you come back to it.
INACTIVE SERVICE: If washing your spouse’s car and taking care of the trash gets him or her all moony-eyed (Acts of Service types), then going out of your way to do nothing for your spouse will hurt worse and cut deeper than it might someone else.
“If this is your language and your partner doesn’t do anything to help you out around the house, you believe the person doesn’t love you.”
Take out the trash and avoid trash-talking until the storm calms.
TOUCH ME NOTS: “For Physical Touch types, people who respond mainly to touch, don’t withhold touch from them just because you are angry,” warns Peck. “It can have lasting repercussions on your relationship. When you are not mad anymore and over it, they may still remember when you refused to touch them.”
Although it may not be your style, be respectful of your partner’s love language. A reassuring squeeze will let your partner know you may not be in the immediate mood to cuddle, but you still believe you can both work through the situation together.
GIVERS AND TAKERS: Gift-motivated lovers aren’t necessarily greedy gold-diggers, relates Peck, whose own daughter prefers gifts as her mode of both giving and receiving love.
“It could be something out of a Cracker Jack box. It’s not about the gift, it’s that you took the time to think about the person.”
The weapon of mass destruction to a gifter? Being an otherwise lavish partner who gives little reminders of love one minute, then withholding gifts out of anger the next. To avoid a standoff where neither party benefits, talk through the situation and be thinking about that make-up gift.
TIME OUTS: Peck’s own language (Quality Time) allows her to interpret love mostly through the time someone chooses to spend with her.
“When my husband is not spending time with me, whether out of anger or oversight, he has to know that hurts me more than it would somebody else.”
Be angry when occasion calls, but avoid isolating a partner whose main conveyance of love is time spent together. It may encourage the person to hold a grudge from the unfair tactic.