February has arrived, and I probably don’t need to remind you that Valentine’s Day is just a few days away. While I could go on and on about how wonderful a romantic get-away to a tropical destination in the middle of winter would be, the fact of the matter is that if you’re just now thinking about going somewhere, you’ve nearly run out of time to get your trip booked. (Call me today!)
As a travel consultant I work with all sorts of clients—from newly engaged folks to couples celebrating major milestone anniversaries. Each couple brings something unique to the table, and it’s my job to figure out what will be pleasing to both individuals and then incorporate as much as possible into the trip I’m helping to arrange. Concerning, however, is when I’m working with a couple and each person is coming from a totally different perspective. For example, the honeymoon couple in which the bride-to-be envisions a romantic couples retreat while her husband-to-be is only concerned about getting in a golf game every morning, or the wife who so desperately wants a break from the home routine for a few days but her husband doesn’t want to take off vacation days because he’d get too far behind in his work. Rolling of the eyes, crossed arms, compressed lips, and looking at your partner as if he or she has sprouted a second head do not make for a comfortable consultation session. I should know! It’s in these types of situations that I often find myself wearing a different hat. Instead of Certified Travel Industry Executive, I become Jennifer Walker, Travel Therapist. It’s the Travel Therapist hat I’m wearing as I write this month’s newsletter.
I’ve been married over 25 years (to the same guy!) As with any married couple, it’s not all been fun and games. Marriage requires a lot of hard work and discipline! Each relationship faces its share of challenges along the way but one activity that Rick and I have found to have been a tremendous benefit for us, and one that we highly recommend to other couples, is the study of Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages. In his book, Mr. Chapman discusses how each person has their own personal love tank. Think of it like a gasoline tank on a car. When the tank is full, the relationship will travel a long way. When the tank is empty, the vehicle stops and discontent may occur. Knowing what “fills up” your partner’s love tank, and how to effectively communicate those words or actions in the language he/she understands and that fills up his/her love tank, is critical in successful relationships. While the book offers a much more detailed discussion, here’s a quick run down of the five love languages:
- Words of Affirmation — Words that build up, words of appreciation, words that are kind, letting him/her know how and why they are appreciated by you. The focus is on what is being said.
- Quality Time – Giving someone your undivided attention. A genuine wish to understand your partner’s thoughts, feelings, opinions, desires. The focus is on what is being heard.
- Receiving Gifts – Gifts are a visual expression of love—someone thought about giving you a gift, sought it out, and gave it to you. Visual symbols of love are more important to some people than others. The cost of the gift rarely matters. Oftentimes, the gift of self, or the gift of your presence, is better than a physical gift could ever be.
- Acts of Service – Seeking to please your partner by serving him/her, expressing love by doing things for him/her. If done with a positive spirit, acts of service are expressions of love.
- Physical Touch – Holding hands, kissing, hugging, and sexual intercourse are all ways of expressing love through physical touch.
Do you know your partner’s primary love language? Do you know your own? I would encourage anyone in a relationship to study a copy of The Five Love Languages book. The book also makes a great gift for a newly engaged couple and is nice to have around the house for a refresher review every now and then for longer-term couples.
Now back to wearing the Travel Consultant hat…If you and your partner need to fill up your “love tanks,” giving yourselves the gift of a trip is a great way to do it! By getting away from the daily routine, you’ll be able to focus on one another without the usual distractions. Try speaking your partner’s love language for a few days and see just how amazing your relationship can be. I highly recommend it!
If you would appreciate help planning a romantic getaway, give me a call at (309) 256-2984, send me an email, or Contact me through this website. I’ll get back to you within 24 hours.
Until next time, best wishes and safe travels.