For those that read my post “Pioneer Women & Valentines” this is a bit of the backstory and, er, ummm, an explanation to explain a bit more about myself and my marriage.
Recently, my amazing younger sister (by 15 months), a dear college friend, and I took a girls day. We drove to the nearest true city an hour away and honestly had ZERO pressing plans for the day. Each of us had one different place to run an optional errand, but other than those 15 minutes of chores, our day was wide open. Do you have any idea how bizarre that feels to not have a purpose or a list of to-do’s for a trip to town?
We met halfway there and carpooled – hmm that term makes me sound like a fuddy duddy – let’s say ROADTRIPPED the rest of the way together. Man, have our conversation topics changed a bit since college! We got on the topic of how our hubbies felt about not having a purpose for driving all the way to S-town. It morphed into the Bible Study that PTad and her hubs are doing at their church. The 5 Love Languages. Have you heard of it? She encouraged us through our giggles to take the quiz with our husbands and compare results. More laughing ensued. The day was refreshing and awesome. PTad is one of those rare friends distance and life doesn’t rip apart. She has the joyful spirit that conversation when separated by weeks or sometimes even a month or two is smoothly picked right back up.
Back to the 5 Love Languages — I took advantage of 15 minutes at work a few weeks ago to take the quiz. I was surprised by my results. After I took the quiz, I requested Jon do it too. Also, surprising results.
The quiz has 5 different “love languages” that exist when interacting with your significant other. Words of Affirmation uses words to affirm or support another. Acts of Service are actions that seem to speak louder than words to support another. Receiving Gifts is pretty self explanatory: feeling loved by receiving items. Quality Time is giving undivided attention to your significant other. Physical Touch is receiving or giving an appropriate touch at the right time.
So my spouse thought, as did I, that physical touch would score off the charts for him. WRONG. There is more to touching than just intimacy. Hugs, hand holding, a hand on his shoulder are a few examples. As he took the quiz, he made sure to clarify that there wouldn’t be any extra hugs regardless of the quiz results. (I come from a very huggy family. We touch. We hug when we meet. We give kisses on the cheek when we leave a family function. Him, not so much. It has been a teachable thing in our marriage.)
I was a bit astonished when he said both options were ridiculous on one of the questions. Option 1 was something about going to the grocery store for your sig other. Option 2 was getting a pat on the back or something similar. Why would going to the store to help really be important? “For real!” was my reply. The glowing option for me would be going to the store. That would be huge! It would be like coming home to have the laundry (my arch nemesis) folded and put away. Acts of Service was something mid-range for me, but lower for him.
My lowest score – a 1 on a scale of 1-12 – was in Receiving Gifts. Other than for a few holidays, I consider physical items to just be stuff. If I want or need something, I will request it. As my husband knows, I don’t do that very often. Otherwise, I’m fine. A card or handwritten scrawl on a sticky note is good enough for me. Just verbal words of “I Love You” or “I know the kids stress you out, but I know you are doing the best you can” are an instant uplift. You guessed it – Words of Affirmation are a mid-range score for me.
What we both scored our highest on was Quality Time. We crave that time together. Just a dinner out without kids is important to us. Even an activity with kids is important for our family functionality. Taking that time to be a family, be a couple, be a person is imperative.
Marriage is a constantly evolving journey with natural highs and lows. Our journey pre-marriage was 5 awesome spontaneous college-filled years. Our voyage pre-children, post wedding was 5 more years of joy, travel, socializing, and whim. Traveling through life with two children has been a new chapter of learning by doing, loving, and adapting. We give thanks for our blessings and trials.
You can find more about the 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman here: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/