On this Thankful Thursday, I am reminded of our lively dinner conversation last night. We threw a little Fourth of July gathering with some close friends – and there were definitely fireworks at dinner and we hadn’t even lit a fuse yet. The fireworks started when a certain subject ensued.
It was all prompted by me seeking just a little more affirmation from Winters. Something I evidently do often. I was quite overjoyed by the progress I had made cleaning out The Cottage. I was seeking a little more praise, the key word being “praise.” I had worked day and night to sort out The Cottage, what I like to call our creative center, or what Winters likes to call The Doll House. It has many names, but the last thing I want it to be is a storage shed.
I was seeking more “praise” as I said, and that’s when the fireworks started. Winters pointed out he already told me once it looked great and that should suffice. I immediately thought,”What planet are you on!” The funny thing was my dear girlfriend agreed with Winters, but her husband agreed with me. He too liked to hear ”well done” more than once.
Well, that started the “fireworks” at the dinner table, which led to the discussion of the book The Five Love Languages.
Many years ago, one of my dear friends recommended I read that book, written by Gary Chapman. She was certain it would bless my marriage. When someone I know and respect recommends a book, I always go out and get it.
I read it and I loved it!. In a nut shell, the author says we have five basic ways in which we communicate our love to our spouses. Those are: Words of Affirmation; Quality Time; Receiving Gifts; Acts of Service; and Physical Touch.
Now I thought the book was good I started recommending it to everyone. Our pastor finally said he would have to read it because I had recommended it to so many couples he was counseling.
Chapman wrote that often the way you were loved plays a role in how you will show love to others. Since we tend to express love in these certain ways, a problem emerges. For example, if you speak or show a different love language than your spouse, well, you might as well be speaking Chinese. Chinese is good if you both speak Chinese but if you don’t then your up a creek without a paddle or as Chapman says, your ”love tank ” is just plain empty and you are all out of love. So working to speak the same love language is key, at least Chapman and I would agree. I’m not so sure Winters would agree.
Last night, I was clearly up a creek without a paddle. No more praise from Winters, oops, fawning I mean. That’s what Winters says I need. That’s right fawning!
So much for romantic. Call it fawning, call it praise, call it words of encouragement. I soooooo love them!! That is certainly my number one love language and I love to hear words of affirmation spoken and evidently over and over and over again. I grew up in a home full of affirmation and it certainly blessed me and encouraged me. Of all the things I miss most about my parents that is certainly one of my main losses.
Long story short, everyone I recommended the book to loved it! Everyone thought it was life changing in their marriages. That is all but one. You guessed it. All but John Winters. Winters took issue with, well, let’s just say the book as a whole. He was and remains convinced that there are not five languages, but ten or maybe more. At least when it comes to me, The Dress.
I have yet to figure out all the additional love languages that I supposedly need. I do, however, know two he would have added for himself – Financial Wisdom ( where I majorly struggle) and the other is ”the whole less is more” love language (where I too struggle). Life is sometimes a struggle.
Here is the way I see it. We may not always speak the same language that our loved ones desire, but we love them anyway. It is kind of like dancing. We may not dance every dance well, but we can still dance and have a great time doing it. And we may not like to shag, but if our spouse likes to shag then we can shag, can’t we?
I know Winters’ main love language is Acts of Service, so I try to speak it by keeping the house clean, coffee ready in the morning and sandwiches for lunch if he wants them. He has a touching explanation of why he loves me making his sandwiches, something like “I know you are so busy and I appreciate you making time to do something for me.” It is sweet and if that makes his life better, well I can speak that love language. Since I can stop everything and make coffee I am certain Winters can fawn. He is actually very good at it when he is not giving me grief about it! I think he loves just teasing me…
As for me, no offence to Chapman, but I would have added another love language as well. Mine would be Praying for Your Spouse; which might be part of Acts of Service. “Hedging our spouse in” as I like to call it, is one of the greatest acts whether your spouse ever recognizes it or not. I can think of nothing more beautiful in my life than that of praying for Winters and the SONS and others I love. Maybe that is just a good old act of love.
On this Thankful Thursday I must smile after such a wonderful July 4th celebration and remember what speaks to another’s heart isn’t what always speaks to ours. Tell me you love me a thousand times and a thousand times more and I am probably good to go – at least for a while. But I do love when Winters takes up the trash. And in Winters’ words, as he is pulling that big old trash can up the hill, “I know this isn’t your love language but here I go anyway.” I have learned to greatly appreciate Acts of Service, especially when it comes to the trash!
And for Winters, well, he is learning to speak “fawning.” Whether these are our natural love languages or not. It doesn’t much matter. Most of all I care that we just keep on dancing and I hope you will too!
Be blessed and encouraged abundantly on this Thankful Thursday!