It’s a rainy Sunday morning. I’m sitting cross-legged on my couch, the fancy one I won’t let anyone eat or drink around. I’m breaking my rule and have a few last drops of coffee shallowing out my cup on the table next to me. My feet are feeling a little numb because I don’t want to detangle just yet. My laptop has set small lines on my thighs. I woke up in the dark because I couldn’t sleep and have waited quietly for the yellow to come through, but all I’m seeing this morning include dull whites and greens because the rain has got some work to do.
I got to working yesterday as well. After a conversation that spun about spouses to fictional characters to stories, I found myself staring at something I’d read five or six years ago when my friend was trying to figure some things out about her life: websites on love languages. If you’re like me and could use some brushing up, here’s some quick info on it: Gary Chapman wrote a book in 1995 that has been on bestseller lists for some time. In it he describes the five ways humans experience and express love. It’s broken down and clarified into these expressions: physical touch, acts of service, gifts, words of affirmation, and quality time.
I had dropped off the kids to enjoy freedom with their grandparents for the night. Kal was working, so I treated myself to a pedicure. While I waited to get seated, I took two online tests to figure out which love language I spoke. Don’t we all want to know more about ourselves by clicking on a few questions?
I don’t know how truly accurate they are, but this one and this one were of the first to pop up on my search, and I was anxious to figure out what love language I was without having to read the book (reading will have to resume after the school year lets me up for air). I did both tests and figured out that generally, one of these is my primary and one of these is my secondary love language.
I was not surprised to find out that words of affirmation was a big one for me. Of course that makes sense. I was disappointed, though, to figure out the one about my loving gifts. It makes sense though. I think I show love in this way and maybe my friends could attest to that. Looking back on it, I could never understand how Kal would get uncomfortable receiving gifts or how he’s not the gift-for-the-occasion person that I certainly am. I guess if I look back deeply enough, I get it–not the materialistic side (ah!), but the side of having someone think of you and just do something concrete with some forethought.
Before 8 pm when we were surrounded by date-night plates of sashimi, I read questions aloud to Kal as he drove us to the restaurant. I clicked his answers to some interesting questions. With the advantage of knowing him for 14 years, I read questions like, “After a long and tough week, what do you want most from your partner?” or “When you’re in an emotional place, you want your partner to…” After two tests, we figured out his love language.
Having a partner for over a decade gives you the advantage of knowing them up close and personal. It doesn’t mean variables won’t change you or that people won’t disappoint you, but there are basic things you just kind of know. It’s validating to know that I probably could guess at his language but didn’t know exactly how to break it down or how my way of expressing was different from his way.
I asked him to guess mine, and instantly he said words of affirmation. When I told him about the gift one, he laughed and said, “yeah, I can see that.” All of this online quizzing brought us to some open and new conversation. That type of talk is truly refreshing in marriages when life operations consume most of our conversational energy. We got this small glimpse of how things can be reframed and adjusted like a painting that you move from one wall to another. You notice something you haven’t seen before even though it’s been in front of you for years.
As we walked into the restaurant, I told him that I’d most definitely hug him more and be enthusiastic about cooking dinners, something that because it usually falls on me feels like a chore those nights I just want to not think about taking out the chicken. In turn, I kidded, he may want to praise me, get me a small gift, and then maybe load up the dishwasher.
Take the quirky quizzes yourself and see where they take you. It’s a perfect Sunday morning thing to do, and it can teach you something about how you express and receive love in any type of relationship.