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Discovering Your Love Style (Part 1 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
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May 3, 2022 6:00 am

Discovering Your Love Style (Part 1 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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May 3, 2022 6:00 am

Counselors Milan and Kay Yerkovich offer helpful insights on learning how you show love to others, particularly your spouse, and explain what steps you can take toward loving like God does and breaking negative patterns to create a deeper, richer marriage. (Part 1 of 2)

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Until we understood the root was attachment and we started working at the root and I took ownership of that avoider part of me and he took ownership of the pleaser and we began to individually work on our sanctification in that way. But iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another so we talked to each other about our fears, how we scared each other. Mylan and Kay Yurkovich describing how you can discover your love style and they're with us today on Focus on the Family.

Your host is Focus President and author Jim Daly and I'm John Fuller. Okay the first thing that makes you chuckle to think about what's your love style. Remember for those of us old enough you think of the love boat or something like that. But your love style is really important and you know just like so many personality traits that we possess each of us have a love style. We talked to Gary Chapman about your love language and today we want to talk about those things that are both positive and not so positive that tear your relationship apart.

And this is a really encouraging discussion I think we have ahead of us. So if you're in what's feeling like kind of a ho-hum marriage I think you'll get some good tools to really take it a little deeper and to have greater intimacy. The Yurkovich's have written extensively about this concept of love style and the book that we'll be talking about today most specifically is How We Love. Discover your love style and enhance your marriage. Mylan and Kay welcome back to Focus on the Family.

Thank you so much. Thank you we're glad to be here. Hey let's start right there you know at first I wanted to ask that question for that fairly newly married couple but I think it applies to all of us. I mean Jean and I have been married almost 30 years and this kind of information is still very relevant and helpful to us and I'm assuming even a couple married 50 years will benefit. But when you're looking at the years that have gone by it would have been so great to have this kind of discussion or to know about this information 20 years ago. You know the first 3, 4, 10 years of our marriage.

So let's talk about those styles that you've discovered and how we love. Talk about the five that you expressed to couples to help them communicate better. First the secure attachment style is a person that has a decent sense of self that they're worthy of someone doing something for them and they can go and ask for help. They tend to see relationships as a place that they want to get relief.

There's so many people in this world that don't go to relationship for relief they go to substances, addictions to make those uncomfortable feelings go away. And if we look at the person of Christ he could give to people he could receive. He could say what he needed.

He could ask for help. He was the secure attachment. He's our model as to what secure attachment looks like. And I think we don't really appreciate that only a few of us would have an experience at our homes that would cause us to look like that as adolescents and adults. Well in fact in your book you talk about how our childhood really does form these attitudes and behaviors in us and we see that.

I mean that's one of the things that we see here at Focus on the Family so often. How do we begin to arrest and understand that? Well I think the first thing we have to learn is that early experience, Kay, is what really sets us up for our future expectations.

And we either had that secure attachment or we had one that wasn't quite as secure. I don't think people really understand how important those formative years really are. We take everything in in those first two years of our life in a non-verbal way.

We don't have words yet. So we're taking in facial expressions and voice tones and they're building implicit memories which are something that we remember in a feeling state in our body. They're sort of wordless memories. We actually remember them for our entire lives but they're remembered in a state of feelings in response to other people.

And so in the first two years of life those are the implicit memories that they're with us for the rest of our lives. And I was talking to a young man this week and he just had a new baby and he couldn't tolerate her crying. I mean he literally went through the roof and we begin to talk and he says I don't understand my response. Well as we begin to look at his own history, when he was two he had a baby brother born that never stopped crying for two years. He was so difficult and I said can you imagine the feeling that you're having in your body is almost like something you would feel as a two-year-old when you just wanted to hold your ears and scream and he started weeping.

And he said I never thought of that but he said my mom told me that I used to go hide in the closet. So these are the power of these early memories and we don't always know how they impact us later in life. So the secure connector is where we're going to head but these broken love styles come out of things that we often don't even remember and so they're so normal to us that we don't even know we're doing it. Kay let me press you a little bit because folks that are listening are thinking psychology and scripture and you know does that really count? I mean I'm a two-year-old at that point the Lord can work all that out. Talk about that blend from the outset here because so often you know we in the Christian community can be critical of science but really what the Christian belief system does is prove what scientists are discovering. I mean we have an understanding as Christians about what scientists are looking at because we believe in the Creator. We believe there's order in the universe and those kinds of things but talk about that junction for the skeptic right now that's hearing us going this is psychobabble.

Well we may not like science until we need a heart bypass and then you know and then we go sign me up because it really hurts right now. But really all this is is observing how the mind should be developed we don't think of parents as brain shapers but they're truly shaping the brain of the child and the early experiences God invented this. This is about God's invention of attachment. The human being has the longest attachment period of all the mammals on the planet and God created this extensive period of time where a child would be looked at with this lit up mom. And the child would respond back and so there's a strong sense of togetherness that is built very early on not just in our left brain which is our cognitive reasoning but in the right brain of feeling states it feels comfortable to be next to you or it feels uncomfortable to be next to you.

So really all science has done is they've observed God's creation of attachment and they have made studies to say what has gone really well and when it doesn't go so well what are the ramifications in a person's mind. And then that leads us to many things of course in the whole department of sin and brokenness but one of the things that leads us to are these broken or wounded attachment styles. Now we've talked about that secure attachment let's talk about the others that are coming out of the pain in fact vacillator is another one talk about vacillator. Well a vacillator is a person who came from a home where perhaps they had intermittent connection with their parents. Intermittent connection meaning I see you I give you attention and then all of a sudden I've pulled away from you and I've gone dark.

I've gone dark because I'm inattentive I'm preoccupied myself as a parent I am busy I am have my own issues of where I cannot see you because I'm preoccupied with something else. So the child never knows or I have an addiction or I'm fighting with the spouse and so I then the child feels alone. Then the parent reengages with them at a time unpredictable to the child and the child feels this ambivalence from the parent. An ambivalence of I don't know when I'm going to be connected with but they tend to value connection at a very high value and that becomes their primary desire is to have intense connection that never goes away. So when they grow up and enter into relationship they enter into relationship with a very high expectation and hope of a connection that will never feel as though it's going away or will stop or will cease or will be intermittent and so they have an intense desire for perpetual connection. When their spouse averts their gaze turns their back is busy they get very agitated on the inside then they get angry at the spouse for somehow abandoning them.

Now they don't use the word abandon they just say I don't like how I'm feeling right now and you made me feel that way and so they get angry they're the protesters that say why did you do that why did you make me feel this way. So they are the love hate hot cold in out on off spouses bright dark in a moments kind of like the weather here in Colorado Springs. Maybe on a sunny day in the summer where it's a beautiful day then all of a sudden the clouds come over and it's dark and this would be the vacillator imprint. It's also in the literature called the ambivalent or preoccupied because I'm in and out on and off and I am preoccupied because I'm always thinking about what's Jim thinking of me right now does he appreciate me does he value me does he want to be with me does he not want to be with me. He gave John a bigger hug than he gave me so maybe like John better and so this preoccupation of relation and their hyper vigilant always watching.

Okay so that's the vacillator. Kay you write in the book your own personal story of being the avoider. So as an expert in that category what is avoider? Well I lived for 15 years with this love style not really realizing that my family didn't really bond on any emotional level when I was growing up. My parents love me. We had nice dinners at my house but we never had any personal conversations and if I had a feeling if I was sad my dad said you better stop crying or I'm going to give you something to cry about famous famous line or go to your room until you have your happy face and my mom just got highly anxious. So there was this underlying message of feelings are something we don't do feelings are something that we dismiss feelings are something we don't move into we are always trying to fix them and move away from them and so I got very good at first of all just not showing my feelings and over time not even really knowing what they were. So if you ask an avoider how they are they really only have one answer fine yeah and I can't say that wasn't true I sort of existed in this like very midline kind of a level where I was never very happy and I was never very sad so steady steady and a lot of people marry avoiders because we're very predictable and we're very steady. And what people don't realize until usually they marry us is that we don't really have any range of emotion we really can't connect on any emotional level. I don't have memories of comfort from my childhood where a parent really noticed I was not doing well and and sought out to kind of understand what's deep in my heart.

And so I couldn't describe what was deep in my heart I had no words for internal experiences and it was just a place that I never developed and I didn't realize until the 15 year mark that. When you wanted closeness Mylan I really didn't know what you were talking about this was just a foreign concept to me and a lot of people think their avoider spouses are holding out on them. You know what I want you just won't give it to me and honestly avoiders don't even know what they feel they don't know how to comfort you.

They don't know how to have empathy. What was it like being married to me. I'm glad you asked that question.

I'll be brave and ask that. Well it was hard to feel like I could capture you or that I could pull you into a place that I could feel as though there was something substantive and meaningful. I appreciate the point Kaye made because a lot of times we person who's married to an avoider would believe that they are just holding out but truly Kaye did not have the words to be able to describe how she felt. She's no longer an avoider by the way and I am happy to announce that. She's a recovered avoider.

She's now that secure attachment. That's the goal for everybody is to not stay in these wounded states it's to move out of that and I would have to say that your distance from me was something that maybe we can talk about a little bit later but it was the very thing that triggered my childhood her distancing. So that was a part of the chase. I mean that was your wound. Yeah that was my wound. Let me ask you about that because it's intriguing to me and in part I'm always asking are these mechanisms that God provides us for a period of time to cope with our environment.

And I don't know because we talk about them in positive and negative context but for me I would probably lean like you Kaye toward the avoider because of my childhood. I mean it's total chaos. I read your book it was very hard.

Would you say that would be a classic? Yes. So I mean one of Jean's things would be that you know I struggle being emotionally attached to her in certain ways.

Right. And I'm mindful of that but the difficulty in that is I'm always saying well Lord those circumstances that I was in was that a protection mechanism that you've given me? I think all these are protective mechanisms and they work and my family it was way more comfortable not to show my feelings. It was way more comfortable the few times I did cry I went to my room I went on a walk I always moved away from people when I was sad or when a feeling would be too much to handle and keep down. And of course I did that in my marriage for the first 15 years he never saw me cry. So yes as a child they're very protective but they become so automatic we don't even know what's animating us as an adult. And so I had to learn to develop a vocabulary for feelings.

I had to learn to go back and repair the places where I just didn't develop. And one of the huge things for me as an avoider was to learn to take a feeling word list and to refer to it often so that I could start to have a more of a knowledge about what do I feel because feelings linked to needs. You got to fill that in for me.

Okay if you go to our website and you go to freebies there's a list a document there called soul words and it's also in our book it's just a list of words that are feelings that describe what's inside a person. Do you have some examples? Oh my goodness sad jealous betrayed. Humiliated abandoned.

Ashamed. So these things I mean literally have a list and you'll say to Mylan I'm feeling this and point to it? Well for now I can identify because but for two years I had that list in my journal I had it in my Bible I had it in my car I had it in my purse and I purposed to look at it and say okay if I was feeling a feeling right now what might it be? And at first I was sort of guessing but then I begin to learn to read my body because avoiders turn off their body which is part of how we know what we're feeling our body is usually the first signal that we're feeling something we get angry we get a tight tense shoulders or we're sad and we start to feel an anxious stomach.

So I begin to pay attention to my body and at about the two-year mark I actually started to realize hey I actually know what I feel right now and I could put words to it so this is a very important growth goal. We ask our audiences all the time does God have emotions from Genesis to Revelation do we see God you know with his emotions and everybody goes yeah and I go lots of them yeah well what are they jealous I'm envy I have anger I have hurt I have sadness I have grief I have joy. God has all these feelings I have love and he he knows how to name them he knows why he has them and he knows what he wants to do with them and we're made in the image and likeness of God aren't we? So for us to have access to our emotional selves this is called emotional intelligence or God's highly emotionally intelligent this isn't psychobabble we're just copying God. Okay we've talked about that secure connector type and that's the goal that's where you want to get to we're going to talk more about how you do that we've mentioned the the vacillator the avoider let's talk about the pleaser.

And what we're doing here for you is identifying perhaps through the description of these what you might be but there is that online survey you could take and just go to our website and you'll be able to do that we'll link to the Yurkovich's survey that you can do so talk about the pleaser. Well you're right a moment ago I like how you put it these are stress management coping mechanisms for us as children what serves us best to survive what we're going through at the time. For me I had an angry parent an explosive parent and so I found that to be quiet to be a good boy to try to do nice things around the house to stay in and maybe clean or straighten things up to really emotionally care take the parent.

What happened to me was is I would stay in for the purpose of trying to figure out are things improving are they getting better are they getting worse what can I do. And so why did good kids come upon the scene they're trying to be good to manage what's happening around them to make somebody happier so that's your point exactly. Jim when you talk about how we cope and it serves us well so that's what I did as a child as a result of that. Pleasers walk into adulthood and they don't have a strong sense of self they're very tuned into other but if you ask them where do you want to go for lunch they'll say well wherever you want to go for lunch you know they don't have a strong sense of opinion. Secondly they have very weak boundaries if you need somebody to do something at the last minute ask a pleaser and they'll get it done for you you know even if it's midnight. They don't have a strong sense of the ability to say no that's boundaries and then they won't get angry why because anger is a separating emotion. If I get angry at you that means we're going to have some distance and separation so pleasers unlike Kay who could tolerate separateness pleasers need closeness in order to feel okay.

And I'm okay if you think I'm okay so I'm very other dependent on you to make me feel okay if you're smiling then I can smile inside. So that's what I grew up with so it took a lot of work for me to get to a place where I could learn to be strong and autonomous by myself without your approval or yours or or even Kay's. Aren't you going to ask me like how it was to be married to a pleaser?

I wasn't going to ask that question. What was it like to be married to an unrecovered pleaser who had no idea he was? You were so nice and I kept feeling like why does it bug me so much?

It was nauseatingly nice wasn't it? No as I look back now you used to ask me all the time how are you how are you and of course I only want to answer fine but I could say now that I understand it it never felt like it was really about me. It felt like it was more for you like if there was one right answer I'm great I'm fine you're amazing you're the most wonderful husband I could ever have. So it's a disingenuous question it was really not about you it was really about me wasn't it?

How are you? Oh that's interesting you picked that up. So I think the other thing that was frustrating is you know the lack of boundaries you know you you could be very overbooked trying to help everyone and you know be nice to everybody and sometimes that took away some time that we might have had at the home. And I've completely grown out of that haven't I?

Yeah you have in fact. He's winking. Kind of the interesting things about these love styles is they're they're kind of we could also think of them as a stress response. So avoiders flee you know you have your fight fight freeze. Pleasers get very they freeze if you're mad at them or there's conflict they get you know rattled and they also just fight. So we have these stress responses that sort of go with certain reactions that are very predictable. Right and the last one I think it's the last one is chaotic. Describe chaotic that seems to be the worst possible state I'm not sure that they're measured here.

That would look more destructive than the others but talk about the chaotic controller victim mentality. Well Jim just a little while ago you said my childhood was so chaotic right and what was when we stop and say what was that like and having read your book. It's a home where there's unpredictability where a person doesn't know they're safe where the parent is supposed to be providing security and safety. The parent is simultaneously dangerous, abusive, neglectful, harmful or so addicted or at a such a mentally unhealthy place that they're perhaps at a level or lower than the child. So what does the child do the child doesn't know what is predictable there's if you will another synonym for chaotic is disorganized so there's this disorganized attachment not just a disorganized world but a disorganized attachment experience. As one researcher coined it it's called fright without solutions. The child is in a frightened state without any solution to that and the child is left in this unsettled state and so they often then find themselves moving into one of two modes.

A highly controlling mode where they can predict their world which has high levels of rigidity to it because if I have a rigid controlled world then I'm not left unsettled anymore because I know it's going to happen around me every day. It just means that you better do what I say so that you're not doing something different that rattles me or they might end up more of a victim type. Yeah the victim is just somebody who learned to tolerate the intolerable. This is the more compliant child in this home that just learns if they stay under the radar if they hide under the bed that that's their way of coping.

The trouble is they they have very little sense of self or boundaries and it's very hard for them to stand up and and say no to someone who's controlling or abusive themselves because they've already learned to tolerate the intolerable that's normal. Such great insights from Mylan and Kay Yurkovich today on Focus on the Family and we're going to pause right there and bring the balance of the conversation to you tomorrow. Mylan and Kay have so much more good stuff to share on this topic of love styles.

Each of those the avoider the pleaser the vacillator the controller and the victim all resonate with us in one way or another and by discovering your love style and how it shapes your behavior beliefs and expectations you're going to be able to strengthen your marriage and make it thrive. And let me remind you that Focus on the Family is here for you. We know there are ups and downs in marriage that's just the way life is and when those harder times come we can help. Yeah we have a team of caring Christian counselors who can listen to your situation they'll pray with you they'll offer some resources and help you get on the right path to healing. We also have our Hope Restored program for relationships that are in real trouble. This is a four-day marriage intensive that offers hope and healing for you and your spouse and people who have attended say it is life-changing.

How about that for a testimony? In our survey work done two years after those who attend 80% of those couples are still together and doing better. If you're in a place of brokenness in your marriage get in touch with us the Lord does amazing things in those intensives. And we also have Mylon and Kay's book on the love styles we talked about today it's titled How We Love and you can get that directly from Focus on the Family. In fact when you make a monthly pledge to the ministry of Focus of any amount we'll send you a copy as our way of saying thank you for partnering in ministry together.

And if you can't commit a monthly amount we understand we'll send that to you for a one-time gift as well. Donate as you can, learn more about Hope Restored, schedule a time to talk with one of our counselors and request your copy of the book How We Love. Our number is 800 the letter A and the word family 800-232-6459.

We'll stop by the episode notes for all the details. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family. We'll be back tomorrow with more from the Yurkovich's as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ. Focus on the Family can help. Download our resource 15 questions to ask if you have a child with special needs. It's our gift to you at slash special needs ebook.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-23 20:31:34 / 2023-04-23 20:42:06 / 11

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