I’m assuming that most of us have read The Five Love Languages— the ever-so-popular book by pastor and love guru, Gary Chapman. For those that haven’t, the book can be vaguely summarized as this: There are five love “languages”:
1. Words of Affirmation
2. Acts of Service
4. Quality Time
5. Physical Touch
The premise is that each of us has a dominant love language for how we show and receive love. For example, my love language is “Acts of Service,” so while I dearly appreciate my husband telling me how beautiful I am (Words of Affirmation), I’d much rather he take out the trash (Acts of Service)!
Anyway, my post isn’t to completely bash this idea. Maybe just give a different perspective.
In the short span of our marriage, Curt and I have argued about flowers, but maybe not for the reason one would initially think. It seems as though most women complain about their significant others not buying them flowers often enough; however, my issue was the opposite. My husband was buying me flowers…too often. Just hear me out!
Our relationship started with flowers. Curt got me an orchid for our first date. He wanted to get me something that would last since I would be away on a weeklong trip. I would be able to enjoy them even after I got back. So the flower was not only beautiful, but practical…perfect!
As we continued to date, Curt continued to present me with the most beautiful and thoughtful gifts. On one occasion, he bought me a gold necklace with an elephant pendant because I had briefly mentioned in conversation how much I loved that animal. I would often find sweet notes and presents in my car that would brighten my day before coming home from work.
Big Birthday flowers, June 2015
Well, in the past few months, I began to express to Curt that while I really appreciated the spontaneous floral bouquets, I would rather he spend the money on something else. Something more…practical. I used the excuse of the love languages; that my love language wasn’t gifts, so basically he shouldn’t waste his time or money.
As these discussions built up, so did both of our emotions. Recently, Curt bought me a beautiful bouquet of red roses. I expressed that while they were beautiful, it felt like he wasn’t listening to me and my love language. A pretty big argument ensued because he felt like I was restricting who he was and how he expressed love. He said that from the beginning of our relationship, he’s always bought me gifts. He’s always showered me with gifts, so why was it a problem now? I tried to reason with him explaining that in the beginning of relationships, during the courting phase, those kinds of things are expected. But as things progress and mature, we change too.
His response? Absolutely not. “I should never stop doing those things for you. That’s why I think so many people end up unhappy together because we stop doing the things we initially did in the beginning.” I felt like he could have dropped the proverbial mic at that point and left me in the dust. Alright my black Dr. Phil, you’ve got a point.
While I think there is definitely merit to Mr. Chapman’s five love languages and striving to “speak” our partner’s language, love doesn’t always come in a language that you want it to all the time. I tried to justify and ultimately control how Curt expressed his love to me.
In the thrills and excitement of a new relationship, we are so willing to accept love in any form. Some people (actually most) refuse to see the flaws in the other person. We are much more forgiving in the beginning of relationships. And as time passes and we get more comfortable with each other, that empathy and compassion seems to fade away. We become pickier. We are quicker to express our dissatisfaction with the other person. We fight about flowers.
At the end of the day, receiving genuine love from the bottom of someone’s heart is what is most important…regardless of the “language” it’s spoken in. Lookie what we found at the bookstore last week.
Told you they were popular!