He Just Doesn't Get You? Here's Why.
My fiance' and I were in the bookstore a few weeks ago and as we were browsing we walked past a book called "The 5 Love Languages - The Secret to Love That Lasts". I nonchalantly picked it up and waved it in the air at him (he had moved on past the "self-help/relationship" books as if he didn't want to stop there or something. Weird.) and called down the aisle "hey, I hear this is a really helpful book!"
He looked up briefly and said "Mmm."
Mmm? This was hardly the acknowledgement that I was looking for.
Not one to back down from a challenge I persisted -- "Yeah. It's about how everyone expresses love differently and it's important to know how your partner expresses love so that you can, you know, speak their language or something." A light went off in my head - this could be like premarital counseling - but much cheaper.
Silence. He continued to browse other books with a thoughtful look on his face.
I wasn't giving up. I made my point by doing that thing where I go completely silent and just stare at him and wait for him to acknowledge me. It worked.
He met my eyes with resignation. "Cool. Well, let's get it. We need to go to premarital counseling anyway, don't we?"
I smiled. "Yes! It's like a warm-up."
Then he did something I wasn't expecting - he picked up two copies. I looked at him with a confused expression and he just shrugged and said "Let's get two of them so we can read it at the same time."
Pleased as punch, I carried our books up to the front and we checked out. That night we sat on the couch and opened our books. We read the first chapter - making fun of it a bit to make ourselves feel better that we were reading a self-help book. OK, we made fun of it a lot.
We read the second chapter and poked a little more fun at it, but then something crazy happened - we got into an incredibly meaningful discussion about how we interact and love each other - including the ways that we feel we were hardwired by our parents to express love.
By the third chapter we had gone from making fun of the book to declaring that we were going to buy a copy for every married and engaged couple that we know. The book made so much sense - and it almost seemed like our relationship would be instantly improved by incorporating a few of the ideas in the book. Let me take this moment to say that we both feel that we already have a wonderful relationship - it is healthy, respectful, and we are very much in love. But we both know how quickly tides can turn and we acknowledged early on that we loved each other, but that relationships take work. This book was a great step in our direction of continuing our education on how to love each other.
Basically, the book says this - there are 5 love languages. Everyone speaks a primary love language, and most have secondary languages as well. The fact is that the language of love that we speak may be different than that of our partner, often causing a disconnect. I'll give you an example in a moment, but here are the 5 love languages:
- Words of Affirmation
- Quality Time
- Acts of Service
- Physical Touch
My primary love language is quality time. This means that it is important to me that my fiance' spend time with me, giving me his undivided attention. I enjoy sitting down together with our phones and all other devices off, and talking about everything and anything. It does not count if he is watching SportsCenter or playing a game on his iPad while we do it.
Watching a movie together also does not count for me unless after the movie is over we spend some time discussing our thoughts about it - I want his undivided attention.
Ironically, the love language that means the least to my fiance' is quality time. Meaning that as long as he is in the room with me and we are both breathing - he thinks we're good. As a matter of fact, he couldn't understand why I was always saying that I wanted some "time" with him when we both work from home and almost literally see each other 24/7. Reading the chapter on quality time was completely eye opening for him - and validating for me. Since we have read this, he makes frequent efforts to turn everything off and focus on me, and I feel like we've just started dating again - it's wonderful.
My fiance's primary love language is acts of service. It means a lot to him that I make him his cup of coffee in the morning, make sure he takes his vitamins, help him make his doctors appointments and just generally try to make his life easier by being thoughtful and supportive. Acts of service is not a love language that I speak easily and isn't one that means a ton to me personally - cleaning the house for me or fixing my computer are things I'm thankful for, but they aren't as meaningful to me as quality time. However to my fiance', these things make him feel loved. So I'm learning. (But really, 6:30 am to make coffee? That's brutal!)
We have both noticed a change in our relationship over the past few weeks and plan to keep practicing the things we've learned. I feel like I have a much deeper understanding of who he is as a person and also as my partner and I know that he feels the same way.
Curious to know what your love language is? You can take the quiz and find out. I'm dying to know your language and your thoughts on this - would you ever read a book like this?
Would your partner?