I’ve been married almost 15 years. Which is crazy to think about, because I remember my wedding day like it was yesterday. Ok, maybe not yesterday, but like, I don’t know, 2 years ago?
Not nearly FIFTEEN YEARS ago.
I remember it vividly. We were standing up on the altar, awkwardly. Instead of having our backs to the pews, we had decided to face our audience. I have no idea why. True to form, I was doing lots of dumb, embarrassing things. For starters, I couldn’t wipe the stupid grin off my face.
This was not the look of a delicate bride, beaming up at the love of her life. It was more along the lines of a toothy, cheesy smile of a 5 year old who was just handed something deliciously decadent.
Then, when it was time for my husband to place my wedding ring on my finger, I offered him my right hand. He gently pushed it away, smiled at me and grabbed my left hand, and then – THE ENTIRE audience erupted in laughter.
And of course, I turned beet red. Which made the audience laugh harder.
I remember thinking that this was how I’d forever remember this day – in a state of shock that somehow I had managed to get my incredibly awkward, totally uncool self married off.
When it was my turn to put his ring on his finger, I remember holding my breath and focusing really, really hard on not dropping it.
After we exchanged rings, we kissed chastely, and then our sweet friends read a few things and then it was time to walk out of the church.
We made it about halfway down the aisle, toward the door and that’s when it happened.
My newly-minted husband suddenly stopped. He turned to me, grabbed me by the hips, yanked me up to him and dipped me in a kiss that was so wildly passionate I totally forgot that we had an audience.
It was the absolute best part of my wedding, and 15 years later it’s the one thing I think about most. Here’s the thing: to say my husband is reserved would be an understatement. He’s quiet. His Meyers Briggs personality type claims that he’s the most introverted of the introverts. And he absolutely hates to be the center of attention.
Knowing this about him, I knew that wild display of passion, in front of hundreds of eyes boring into him, must have gone against every fiber in his body. It must have been extremely uncomfortable.
But he did it. For me.
Intuitively, he knew that it would mean the world to me. At the time we hadn’t yet read the book, The 5 Love Languages – The Secret to Love that Lasts, by Gary Chapman. Yet we knew that we often had to go outside our own comfort zones to express our love to one another.
And this very passionate, physical display of his love was the exact right way to speak my love language – physical touch.
The 5 Love Languages, By Gary Chapman
This book is pretty amazing. I’ve talked to so many people that have said that reading this has strengthened and improved their relationships. And I’m not alone, I mean check this out – over 13 THOUSAND reviews on Amazon and the book has a FIVE STAR RATING?!
That’s pretty spectacular if you ask me!
And learning about the different ways that people experience and express love doesn’t just help you with your romantic relationships, but with ALL relationships.
So What ARE The 5 Love Languages?
Glad you asked. It should be noted that while there are 5 love languages, many of us have one language that is primary, and another that is secondary. Most of us experience and express love in a combination of the love languages listed below. For example, while my main love language is physical touch, I also need ample amounts of acts of service.
Love Language #1: Words of Affirmation
If “words of affirmation” is your love language, you really love it when someone not only notices all the nice things you do, but actively recognizes it, thanks you or compliments you for them. This is my husband’s love language and I make a conscious effort to really notice all the sweet things he does for me and let him know that I appreciate it.
Since this is not my love language, it often felt cheesy and weird at first, like do I really have to say “I saw how much time and effort you put into planning this trip for us, and I really appreciate it…” but it makes him feel loved and cherished so I do it. And over the years, he’s stopped saying things like “thanks for making a great dinner tonight!” to me because I honestly find it annoying/cheesy and not loving at all. #marriage
Here’s an example: “Thank you for making me the most delicious cup of coffee in the world! You know how to make it just how I love it.”
Love Language #2: Acts of Service
If “acts of service” is your love language, you are especially touched when someone goes out of their way to put thought, effort, and a gracious desire into doing something that makes your day better. The key here is that it is gracious. It doesn’t work if they do something for you begrudgingly.
For those that speak this love language, actions speak louder than words. My husband and I both speak this love language, and it’s a secondary one for both of us. We’ve gotten into a really great groove where we honestly love to do things for the other, because it starts this viciously awesome cycle of “he did something nice for me, and it makes me feel so happy/loved, now I want to do something nice for him” and on and on.
Here’s an example: Putting away the laundry to help save you time, joyfully washing the dishes after dinner, or offering to take the kid to a birthday party so you can have a break for a few hours.
Love Language #3: Receiving Gifts
If “receiving gifts” is your love language, it means that you love and appreciate when someone gives you a thoughtful gift. It doesn’t have anything to do with being materialistic, but rather on the time and effort spent. Our six year old experiences and expresses love this way, and I gotta be honest, this was really challenging for us.
Both my husband and I tend to be very anti-consumer. We’ve never bought birthday, Christmas or anniversary gifts for each other, and generally hate walking into stores. It’s not that we’re tight with money, exactly, it’s just that we’d rather save as much of it as we can to go on life changing trips all around the world. We’ve since learned that this love language doesn’t really have to do with spending money.
Our daughter appreciates any gift we give her – whether it’s something we purchased in a store, or something totally random like a heart-shaped coffee stirrer that I got on a Southwest Airlines flight.
Here’s an example: Finding that perfect gift. Grabbing your favorite candy from the store. Picking up pretty shells at the beach for your collection.
Love Language #4: Quality Time
If “quality time” is your love language, it means you really relish having someone’s undivided attention. This is my daughter’s secondary love language. While the boy and I are perfectly happy to be on our individual laptops and other various devices, silently working on our projects while sharing in the animal comforts of sitting next to each other on the couch, this would drive my daughter absolutely nuts. She really needs undivided attention with all eyes on her to feel happy.
She doesn’t want us to sit in the same room, with her watching her favorite movie series of all time, and mommy and daddy on our laptops. Nope. She wants us to watch right along with her or it “doesn’t count.”
Here’s an example: Playing a board game. Going for a walk sans iPhone, camera, or agenda. Sitting at the table eating a meal together.
Love Language #5: Physical Touch
If “physical touch” is your love language, it means that you feel loved when you get hugs, kisses, or hold hands (and have sex. Sex is important.)
This is my love language, and I know that all the sweetly whispered words and flowers and chocolates and teddy bears in the world wouldn’t do a thing for me if my husband never wanted to hold my hand or sling his arm around me or pull me in for a bear hug.
While my husband, in true introvert fashion isn’t touchy-feely and can be super awkward and highly uncomfortable giving even the closest of our friends hugs, he is adept at speaking my language. This means holding my hand, even in public, and spending just a few extra seconds on that kiss hello.
Here’s an example: Giving shoulder rubs after a long day of work, snuggling up to watch a movie, pulling someone close for a hug for no reason.
If you want to find out what your love language is, check out this nifty quiz.
Understanding each other’s love languages has really taken our relationship to the next level. It’s helped us parent our daughter more effectively, and provided guidance in the way we interact with our closest friends and family.
Do you know what your love language is? Share in the comments!