MODULE 1: MONEY TALK
Activity 8: Does Love Equal Money: Love Accounts
OBJECTIVE: Understand how different people have different ways of giving and receiving love and how expectations can impact relationships and the money purse strings.
TIME: 35 minutes
MATERIALS: Love Accounts Tables
NOTE TO TRAINER: This is a very informative and powerful activity that can be done with one or both partners.
TALKING POINTS: It is often clear that people both give and receive love in different ways. For example, your partner may show love by waking up early to make you breakfast. However, you feel loved when you are taken to a restaurant. You may buy your partner a gift, but he would feel more loved if you would make more time for him. Taking account of how each partner or family member in a relationship expresses and accepts love is important. This is especially important since expressions of love often require spending money. This activity will help you understand your current love account patterns and help you think of less costly ways you and your partner can share your love.
Ask the class to spend five minutes filling out the "Love Thing" column in the Love Accounts table on the handout.
Ask the class: Was it easy or hard to come up with items for this list? What does that mean to you?
Ask the class to review the list and circle the items where your primary motivation was to show love. For example, if you listed "I cooked a certain meal for my partner," circle the item only if you wouldn't have cooked the same way for yourself.
Ask the class to put a $ next to each item which required spending money. Put the $ only if the item required spending additional money to express love. For example, if you spent money on ingredients for dinner, you would have eaten dinner anyway - unless you bought expensive steak - so, you would not circle this item.
Now ask the class to fill out the "Love Thing" column on the When Do I Feel Loved chart. This time they list ten things their partner has done in the last month that conveyed love most powerfully to them. Let the class know that if it is tough to think of ten things that your partner did, that's pretty normal. The point is to learn to pay attention to your relationship.
Present the Six Love Accounts to the class:
While the number of loving things you do for your partner matters, it's not the only thing that matters. There are six ways that partners often express love to their partner:
Action..."I feel loved when you do something for me."
Next to each item in the two tables, ask participants to mark in the "Love Account" column which of the six Love Accounts categories the item best falls into. (While some may fit in more than one, try to minimize multiple categories.)
Introduce the Love Accounts Heart
Everyone needs a balance of all six of these different ways of showing and experiencing love, and different people need different amounts. What's also important is that you learn to show love in different ways, according to what means the most to your partner. For example, Amanda's husband loves her deeply, and he shows her his love by spending time with her. However, a picture of Amanda's heart (drawn below) illustrates that she feels mostly empty even though her husband spends a good chunk of time with her.
Below, Paul's heart shows that he experiences love primarily through physical touch and receiving gifts. He needs some acts of kindness from his wife, a few "You're handsome" statements, a little talking, and a bit of time; but those are all small potatoes compared to physical touch and receiving gifts.
When we look into Jackie's heart, we see that talk and being affirmed (being told how special and wonderful she is) is more important to her than receiving gifts, having her husband do things for her, spending time together, or physical touch, though all of those are important. The absence of any one type of love would leave a gaping hole in Jackie's heart, yet her husband would be a wise man to affirm her often and spend time talking with her.
Now that students have the idea, it's their turn. (For participants: if your partner is doing this activity too, please complete this on your own first, then compare. It will be more fun that way!)
Based on their categorization, ask participants to answer the following questions:
Now, ask participants to share lists with their partner.
HANDOUT: Love Accounts
List ten things you have done in the last month to convey love to your partner:
How Do I Feel Loved?
List below ten things your partner has done in the last month that conveyed love most powerfully to you. This is not about things you appreciate or know are good for you and your family.
HANDOUT: Love Accounts Heart
HEART # 1:
Divide up the heart to show what kinds of love affect you most.
HEART # 2:
Divide up the heart to show the ways your partner loves you. In other words, what does he or she do?
HEART # 3:
Divide up the heart to show what you think affects your partner most.
HEART # 4:
Divide up the heart to show the ways you show love to your partner. In other words, what do you do?
Adapted, with permission, from PREP Education Products, Inc. and You Paid How Much For That?! Copyright PREP Educational Products 2002. Based on Gary Chapman's categories in The Five Love Languages.