I understand if you aren’t in the habit of taking relationship advice from a person who’s been married three times… maybe I’d be better at writing an entry about “what not to do”, but recent events reminded me of a pretty good book I read years ago. I think it’s worth reading, and it did change the way I looked at my relationship. The concept is that each of us expresses love primarily in one (or maybe two) ways:
- Words Of Affirmation
- Quality Time
- Receiving Gifts
- Acts Of Service
- Physical Touch
And, if someone expresses love to you in a language that’s different than your primary love language, you might not recognize it for what it is. You might go about feeling unwanted and unloved, when in fact, the other person has been trying to show you love all along. Thus, it behooves you to learn your partner’s love language, both so you can recognize when they are expressing love to you, and so you can return the favor by expressing love in a way they will recognize. (It would also behoove your partner to do the same, but hey, we all know that we can only control our own behaviors, right?)
My primary love language is quality time. Secondary, probably receiving gifts (that’s become less and less important to me as I’ve gotten older, I suspect less so in time as I’ve gotten more and more self-sufficient – nowadays, if I want something, I buy it for myself!)
My husband’s is acts of service. He expresses his love for me by fixing things, building things, and keeping the outside of our home nice. I once asked him how he knows I love him, and he told me because I put his medicine out for him every week.
Lately, things have just been going on. Nothing bad, but we haven’t been spending a lot of time together (remember, that’s my love language) and I’ve been feeling a little… well, neglected! (He of course, doesn’t notice anything wrong, because that’s not his love language.) I suggested to him over the weekend that we go for a bicycle ride. He didn’t want to. I slunk away, feeling rejected. Then I thought, well, he didn’t recognize my request as an attempt to reach out in love, because… it’s not his language. So, later that afternoon, I suggested that he teach me how to cut grass. (Yes, it’s true, I have somehow lived to be 40 years old and never learned how to use a riding lawn mower.)
He looked at me like I had two heads, but once he comprehended that he heard me right, he was right on it! He had to hurry up and get the lawnmower going, before I changed my mind! We spent about half an hour with him coaching me, and then he went back to the garage and worked on his current “project” (the one that’s taking all his time away from me) while I cut a big portion of our back and side yard (we have about 4-5 acres of grass total that he cuts, so it took a little bit of time).
He didn’t complain (much) about the results, he took pictures to prove it happened, I got some attention, and (I think) he felt loved.
What’s your love language?