Have you heard about the book, “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman? At first it sounded corny, but the more I read, the more I found it intriguing. I saw how my husband Randy and I share most love languages… but are still working on one… and don’t share another at all. Here they are…
Touch – According to Chapman, different people have varying needs for physical contact. I admit I’m an affectionate person…to an embarrassing degree.
The other day I saw someone I hadn’t seen in a year. While she held out her hand in a warm handshake, I went in for a full-on hug. (Yes, it was awkward). I have to remind myself almost daily not everyone’s a body squeezer. That includes my neighbor, the mailman, and the barista at the coffee shop. Forget it if I’ve had a few drinks.
Thank God, Randy’s also a hugger. In fact, I love his embraces. He’s big and engulfs me and makes me feel warm and safe. We try and schedule several hugs a day and I’m glad it’s a love language we share.
Service – I was lucky. Randy was always a good provider over the decades. Because of him, I never had to worry about putting food on our table. Not once.
But now that he’s retired, this love language has had to go through revisions. I understood his disorientation, going from running a company to helping with household chores, but to his credit, he’s a quick study. Randy learned that nothing makes me feel more valued than his help – folding laundry, breaking down the Amazon boxes in the entry hall, or (swoon) loading the dishwasher.
And as for my end of the bargain? I like to think I keep his life running smoothly – paying bills, cleaning, food shopping, multi-tasking twelve things at once, and generally keeping the trains running on time. Service is a love language most women understand well.
Togetherness – Thank God, we share the same language for this too, but its not what many people think about spending time together. Randy’s retired and home a lot, but during the day he hangs out in his office — catching up on cable news, working on his computer, or practicing his bass guitar. I’m fine with that. In fact, I like the independence.
Many nights Randy goes out to play gigs with various bands and I stay home. I don’t mind that either. I see how our version of togetherness would be tricky for spouses who need lots of face time and sharing the evening couch, but that’s not us.
Then again, when we go out to dinner and catch up, it’s wonderful. It’s a treat to share a bottle of wine, solve the world’s problems, and talk about all the things couples talk about who have been together forty years. After all this time, I still need and adore this love language with my husband.
Words – This is where we’ve both had to learn to be better. In a long marriage, it’s easy to assume your spouse has heard enough tender bon mots. After all, we’re still a couple. Doesn’t that say it all?
But as I’ve learned the hard way, that’s not always true. And as we get older, we may need the sweet nothings more than ever. “You look handsome today” or “That’s a pretty dress,” goes far. In fact, a well-timed word of love or appreciation can defuse a fight that’s on the razor’s edge of turning from a brush fire into a four-alarmer.
As we get older, I’ve learned words may be the most important love language of all.
Gifts – This is where Randy and I have each had to carry translation guides. He’s a master gift giver and loves every second of the process – the shopping (especially this), the presentation, the opening of the box, and the ooh’s and aah’s. Some of my most treasured possessions are pieces of jewelry my husband has given me through the years.
But this love language is where I fall short. I’m not big on shopping. Malls feel like prison camps. I buy everything online with the enthusiasm of a four-year old at the dentist. I’m not a creative gift giver because my heart’s not into “the hunt.”
So, I’ve learned to give experiences to Randy – concerts, shows, and even fun, unexpected restaurants. In my own humble way, I’ve learned to speak this love language.
Who knows? Maybe love languages change with time. What counts a lot when we’re young doesn’t seem as important when we’re older. Maybe if a couple is super fluent in one language — extra bonus points if you are — that’s what matters.
Whether it all sounds corny, or not, love languages are important after all.
Do you and your spouse speak the same love languages? Comments are always welcome and if you liked, please share.
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