Learn Your Love Language

A stencil painted on Valentines day depicting ...

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I had the best, eye-opening discussion with my therapist about learning your personal love language.

I believe that everyone has a way of expressing love, and feeling love, that is completely unique. When a couple feels and shares love in the same language, they feel wonderfully connected. When one or both partners speak a different language, one or both can feel terribly alone.

My husband is terrible at gift giving and receiving. He either does not remember the occasion at all, or gets something completely impersonal. My husband is not wordy. He does not share my love of words and poetry and literature.

But this does not mean he does not love and appreciate me. I understand this now, more than I ever have. When I woke up from my so-called life a year or so ago, I realized so many things were making me unhappy. I realized my husband had stopped even attempting to get me gifts – nothing for birthdays, christmas, anniversary, or valentines. I realized I had stopped too. We never discussed it, it just happened.

I used to write him a poem and draw a picture, make a CD of our special songs, write him a sweet story, frame a special moment, or get a gift from some special memory we shared. But I noticed those gifts would lay on the table where he got them, untouched, uncherished, unused.

Last year, I drew a cute valentine card for him, and when the car needed repairs, he used the card I made to write notes as he spoke to the parts guy on the phone. He didn’t even understand why that was hurtful. All of my gifts through the years were not in his love language, and he didn’t know he was saying “whatever, I don’t care about you” in my love language. It was getting lost in translation. He remembers fixing my car, going out in freezing ice storms in our driveway, after working all day at work to fix my car. That was how he said he loved me.

For him, working hard, being a provider, is how he shows his love. On payday, he presents his paystub to me and waits for the attaboys. He needs me to be grateful to him for his hard work and long hours to feel loved by me.

There is so much more to this story, as I go back through our 18 years together, that I now understand, but can’t put all in one post. But I am grateful to have this lead, this way to his heart that I thought was gone. We can learn each other’s love language, I am sure of it. For the first time in years, I don’t feel so completely alone, and have something I can work towards to have a more loving marriage. This is huge!

12 thoughts on “Learn Your Love Language

  1. A wonderful post. You made me think of my son, again. Colt is autistic and no matter how much I want to cuddle and kiss and love him nearly to death on a daily basis, I always need to remember to stop, step back, and speak to him in a language he appreciates and understands. Rather than forcing my preferred way of expressing love on him (and getting shoved away!) I need to approach him as he does me….with an open heart and mind.

    Happy Valentines Day. 🙂

    • Wow, yes, what a great addition, a totally different type of love language. My daughter is not autistic, but has never liked cuddling and will push us away sometimes. I have wondered if my depression made her that way, or if she would be anyway, but that’s a different story. But my boys can’t get enough hugs and seem to want to be touched all the time. We have to try to balance our needs with a spouse, but with a kid we have to tip the scales in the kid’s direction I think. Thanks for sharing your point of view, and hope you had a nice Valentine’s Day too.

  2. This is a lesson I wish I had learned while I was still married. We definitely spoke different love languages. I especially loved what you said about how his writing on a hand-made card was heartbreaking to you, and yet meant nothing to him. That was a perfect illustration to make the point. One thing I did learn about love language (while I was still married) is that we often give another person the type of gift we most wish to receive … how wonderful would it be if he were to suddenly to surprise you with a carefully penned poem or a lovingly constructed hand-made card? But realistically, since he doesn’t even speak that language, that is like waiting for a cat to become a dog, and then wondering why it is still a cat. We never did manage to get that whole gift-giving thing in sync, although there were a few times we managed to surprise ourselves and get it right. I love it that you accept that you are speaking different love languages, and that you acknowledge that this is NOT a reflection of how much you fail to share love, but rather, is actually a solid foundation of love on which your marriage is built. What a huge discovery! Thanks for sharing this.

    • You understand exactly. I can’t expect this simple, non-romantic man to suddenly write me a love letter or poem, though my heart does want that. You are correct, I give him the gifts I wanted. Now I will try to give him gifts that make sense to him, and understand what he has given me. Maybe if I can learn this language I won’t feel so slighted or neglected or get hurt so easily and unintentionally. My heart is skeptical, but willing to try. He is a man of few words, even grunts his responses at times, so this isn’t going to be easy – but I like challenges!

      • You’re not married to my ex-husband, are you?

        LOL … my husband would sometimes grunt an answer, or barely move his eyebrows. He was definitely a man of few words, but then again, I had so many words that maybe that was part of what he liked about our relationship … I did most of the talking, and he did most of the listening.

        Even though your heart is skeptical, I’m glad to hear you say that you are willing to give it a try. While you are at it, don’t forget to leave room to be surprised by the outcome. Sometimes we go into it expecting one thing to happen, only to have a sort of happy accident and something else shows up instead.

        For instance, I once worked very hard a getting my husband to send some compliments my way. In order to drive the point home, I would compliment everything about him I could find. His world was filled with complimentary words that brightened his day. One day I overhead him talking to his brother, and he said something along the lines of “I’m glad she’s finally started recognizing that I can be kind of wonderful, because now it makes it easier for me to LIKE her again”. I was surprised by what I heard, but knowing that he liked me again was one of the best compliments I ever received. Hang in there!

  3. Love the love language…and when you realize what the actions mean rather than expecting the words, you may find that actions speak louder than words LOL
    Not being the romantic type, but understanding and appreciating how heartfelt some of my husbands gestures are, I am appreciative of our differences more than I can say. My Hubby brings out the best in me, awakening a responsibility for his tender heart and always ensuring I am mindful of his feelings. He doesn’t do it on purpose nor does he expect it. And I am fully aware of how he has changed over the years by creating moments that fulfill his needs for romantic gestures that meet my expectations. For example, he is a “linger over a candlelight dinner, bouquet of roses gifting for no reason, whisper sweet nothings in my ear” type of guy. To me, those things are blatant seduction type gestures, empty and meaningless in the long run. Over the years, he realized that when he cooks and cleans up after the meal, brings bouquet of flowers that are bright & colourful that I like and that are always different, and speaking the truth from the heart are far more seductive and much less irritating for me. As for me, I have arranged candlelit dinners for him to enjoy, sent him bouquets of roses at work and I speak from my heart with honesty and let him read my musings.
    Besides, I need to see what I’m eating, roses smell way too strong and make me gag and I don’t whisper: shouting from the rooftops is more my style.
    He knows I am fiercely loyal, protective of those I love and share my loved ones pain so deeply that it hurts me.
    Bottom line. I wouldn’t want him to be anything he is not. And he still finds me funny.
    I am happy you are finally looking at your husband in the light. It is far more meaningful when my husband spends his birthday, -40 degree weather trying to thaw out the oil pan of my car which froze because I forgot to take it in for an oil change. After all, you wouldn’t catch me doing that for anyone LMAO

    • LOL, seems you are the opposite couple to us then. Our relationship has been so much better since I wrote this post and now realize all the ways he does reach out to me, just never noticed before. I think he also thinks many of the typical romantic gestures are cliche and not real. I get that now.

  4. Pingback: Expectations and Disappointment | Roots to Blossom

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