So what is love insurance, anyway? If you’re giving your screen a confused side-eye, let me explain before you swipe to your Instagram feed. We’re all familiar with the concept of insurance – it’s protection for our valuables and our health in case something unplanned happens. Knocking on wood here, but cars get dented, homes get flooded, and bones get broken – and our insurance kicks in to help us get back to living life.
Why have insurance for your relationship? Hurt feelings, forgotten birthdays, disagreements with expenses, broke trust and losing your emotional connection with your significant other can cause ripples between the both of you and, if not properly handled, those ripples can create a tsunami of damage to the person who shares your heart.
Against the Grain Images
Allow me to introduce you to the lovely and brilliant Michelle Ngoc Turner of The Therapist Within located in Frisco, Texas. In her blog below, she shares valuable tips to keep you aware of the threats to your relationships and how to block their damaging grasp on your happiness. Read on to learn how to identify the common issues in relationships and how to strengthen the bond you share with your significant other.
Protect Your Happiness with Love Insurance
By Michelle Ngoc Turner, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Associate
When we buy insurance, we buy protection against the odds. In this modern world, you can purchase insurance for almost anything you own, from your house, car, laptop, or furniture to the ring for your wedding day. Yet, I’ve never been approached or advised to buy insurance for my relationship.
Well, what I just said was not entirely true. Let me take it back by saying this: I’ve been approached by many sales representatives who advised me to buy insurance to cover my marriage. It’s called life insurance. A protection, if granted, only happens if my significant other passes away.
So, how about my relationship in the present? Doesn’t it deserve to be covered and protected too? This is where the idea of love insurance came to light. To be honest with you, I did not come up with this idea. It was from my friend, Nicole, a beautiful and talented wedding planner at Sensibly Chic Weddings, during a conversation one afternoon. We were just talking about our work with couples and what we do to help them create a memorable relationship and then she asked me: “What do you think about love insurance?” That’s when the light bulb went off in my head. I remember sitting there and thinking “Yeah, that’s exactly what I do in therapy. I help my couples create protection for their love.”
When a couple expresses their concern to me whether it is worth it to spend money on premarital counseling, I usually tell them that by investing in this essential step to learn more about each other now, they are preparing for their married life ahead. In other words, they are obtaining a coverage for their future “us.”
Who is Love Insurance For?
Love insurance is not a concept that only applies to pre-married couples. If you’re dating, partnering, living together, married, or re-married, it applies to you too. Here’s why:
- Unresolved conflicts can damage your marriage in the long run.
- Lack of communication may result in dissatisfaction and disconnection.
- Difference in parenting styles, especially in blended families, can increase stress tremendously.
- Disagreement in money or financial management may result in uncertainty towards the future.
- Lack of intimacy may cause feelings of abandonment and isolation.
So, what is this love insurance and how can you purchase it?
First, you do not purchase insurance for your love. You create it.
Second, love insurance is the protection of your relationship through the creation of a lasting emotional connection between you and your partner.
How to Get Love Insurance
The best part of this type of insurance is that it’s FREE and it’s UNLIMITTED. No one can tell you how much of your marriage can be covered. No one can increase your premium just because there are flaws in your relationship. You’re totally in charge.
Here is how to create your own love insurance:
Think about the range of coverage for your relationship as an emotional piggy-bank, one that you need to fill it up by depositing the essential currencies below. The more consistent (i.e. ideally daily) you are with this process, the more layers of protection you have:
1. Speaking your partner’s love languages:
Learn to speak your partner’s love languages because how you choose to show love may not align with what your partner perceives as love. Finding out if words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and/or physical touch are your significant other’s preferred means of expression can help build a deep connection in your marriage (to learn more about these 5 love languages by Dr. Gary Chapman, click here).
2. Doing something nice for your partner without expecting anything in return:
Isn’t it nice when someone does something for you just because? Surprising your wife/husband with a foamy bath, a home-massage session, a candle-lit dinner, or even a board game night, without waiting for anything in return, can provide a deep sense of satisfaction to you as well as a sense of connection with your partner.
3. Having at least one stress-free conversation per week:
It’s very common for couples to start focusing on topics of money, parenting, in-laws, work, school as the relationship develops further. Conversations about each other’s dreams, goals, and interests become rare as you are now more occupied with the family’s daily needs. Remember how much you felt heard when you were able to share your dreams with your romantic partner at the beginning of the relationship? How satisfying was it to be able to talk about your interests without the stress of raising a family? Bring back stress-free conversations in your relationship! Make them a part of your, if not daily, then weekly routine. They are the reminder of romance in your marriage. Keep them coming.
4. Spending quality time together by limiting your screen time:
It’s not deniable that technology has become a vital part of our life. Though when it comes to maintaining the happiness of a relationship, it may not be a bridge that helps you stay connected with others, especially your partner. Sitting next to each other while doing something on your smart phones is not spending quality time together. Likewise, going to bed with your devices on is like sending your spouse the message that “giving you my full attention is not my priority.” Gottman institute suggests that the abuse of electronic devices can lead to disaffection in your marriage. It is a good practice to create a no-technology interference environment for a certain period during the day, especially your bedtime. That way, instead of focusing on your screen, you can turn towards your partner for a deeper sense of connection. At the end of the day, the most deserving person of your attention is your spouse and not a friend or acquaintance you connect through a social media platform.
5. Practicing assertiveness:
Learn to present yourself and your needs in an assertive way. Don’t disregard your emotions by sweeping things under the rug. Likewise, avoid expressing yourself in a hostile manner like yelling, screaming, or displaying passive-aggressive gestures towards your partner. These communication styles can have a costly consequence: your marriage. Practicing assertiveness can help you express yourself in a more effective way, one that clarifies your own needs while still respecting your partner’s needs. Remember, connection is protection and protection is often granted with effective communication. If you need help on how to become assertive, read my previous blogs on communication here and here.
6. Get professional help when needed. Don’t wait!
I cannot stress enough the importance of asking for professional help when you feel stuck in your relationship. Your mental wellness is as critical as your physical health. So, it really does not make sense why we would prolong seeking professional help regarding the condition of our marriage, while it only takes a common cold for many to rush to the doctor’s office. Take care of your relationship with diligence because if you don’t, no one else will.
Just like any form of insurance you have purchased in your life, there is no absolute guarantee that you and your belongings will be 100% covered with insurance. Though, the chance of you being protected and cared for against the odds is high. Likewise, love insurance does not provide a conflict-free and eternally-happy condition for your marriage. However, it does guide you on how to care for your relationship so when a rainy day comes, you will not be overwhelmed by a sense of helplessness.