Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Love Languages

When Josh and I first started dating there were a lot of things that were new to me. I don't believe I had ever been in a relationship quite like this one before. We were honest with each other, we didn't play a lot of games (like "come and find me", "hard to get", "what are you really feeling" kinds of games), and for the first time in my life I was actually dating someone. We didn't pretend it was anything other than it was, which was a brand new concept to me; and it was something I REALLY loved.

When we first went out, he was dating another girl from EFY, and I knew that. After the first time hanging out, I knew I was whooped, but I didn't know if he thought of me as just a friend. Then after he kissed me I made him promise me he would never ever EVER lie to me and I promised him the same thing. I was so worried that he was just flirting with me out of obligation because he didn't want to hurt my feelings and I thought he still really liked Amber (the other girl).

That night defined our relationship. That's how it's been ever since. I truly believe that he doesn't lie to me. I believe him when he says he loves me, and I believe him when he says he's frustrated with me. :) That concept was brand new to me. That you could tell a person who you cared about that you didn't like the way they were acting, or that they had hurt your feelings and that you could move past that. You could ask for the things you wanted, and get them and still enjoy them.

Since that time, we've gone to a lot of seminars, lectures, classes about communication, emotions, relationships, all that stuff and we've learned a lot of things. Now we are so good at all of those things that I forget that there was a time I didn't understand it. I sometimes forget that we are lucky to understand and be good at communication. A lot of people don't get it. I thought that emotional maturity came with general maturity because it did for me.

Over the weekend we had our marriage enrichment renewal night, and there were some older couples who came and I realized that like it was for me, this stuff is a foreign concept to them. They've been married for years, they live with their spouses, who they love; and they never learned how to have that kind of really open honest relationship. Just like it was a brand new thing for me, it's a brand new thing for them much later in the their lives.

After General Conference, my manager/boss lady decided that in her family, they needed to start a "good book". Each week, every family member has to notice 1 nice thing that every other family member did for them. She has teenagers, so there's contention in her house on a regular basis and she's trying to solve it. So, they started the "good book". All week she's been looking for the something in each of her kids and her husband to put in their "good book" and she's noticed some things, but yesterday she said she was really nervous because she hadn't found anything for her husband yet. Last night was the night, so I asked her about it this morning and she said it went surprisingly well. They each seemed to have a hard time with 1 family member but were all able to find 1 nice thing about everyone.

I asked what she finally came up with for her husband and she said that when it was her turn for him she said "I really wanted to find something other than house stuff that you've done (they've been remodeling their house for the past 6 years and it's always in various states of completion, a REAL source of stress for her) but I couldn't find anything else that you've done for me. So, I appreciate that you worked on patching the walls in the laundry room."

The real interesting part was that then she told me she was frustrated with what he said. She's a work-a-holic and runs all day every day and never has time to sit down. They just returned from a 2 week vacation to Hawaii where they just spent time together - they didn't work, they didn't run kids places, they didn't go to church meetings, they were just together so he got used to that. Since she got back, she's been doing a million things a minute and hasn't really had time for him. His thing that he noticed for the week about her was that she spent time with him. When she told me that, she was absolutely amazed that of all the things she'd done for him all week long, the only thing he could think of noticing was that she spent time with him? Which she hadn't even done? She was frustrated and I think she felt unappreciated because she's been working so hard on so many things and he didn't even mention them.

I told her that on Sunday we had our RS/Priesthood lesson on strengthening marriage and Josh and I were talking about the people in our ward and their love languages. We could tell by the comments made what love language everyone was, so we talked about other couples and laughed a little because the wife said in RS that she shows love to her husband by doing the laundry, then the husband said in Priesthood that he shows love to his wife by putting his arm around her in church. Classic misunderstanding because she's probably frustrated and doesn't feel loved because he didn't take out the trash, and he's probably frustrated and not feeling loved because she didn't hold his hand on the way into church. And the funny thing neither of them know! They go through the entire lives not understanding that they are both trying to show love in their language and not understanding what the other is doing in their language.

The trick then becomes learning a new language, it takes time, and effort, and selflessness; but it's SOO worth it! Josh and I are constantly reminding each other what our love languages are and it seriously helps to be reminded, to know that we're just different and we're both trying to learn the other's language.

So, after telling my boss about love languages, I asked if she'd read Gary Chapman's book. She said she hadn't even heard of it, which surprised me. I take all of these cool things I learn about for granted and assume that it's old news to everyone else because it is to me. I quickly explained the concept, and she just sat there, kindof surprised. I told her I thought it was really interesting that of all the things she'd worked her butt off to do all week long, the thing her husband noticed was probably a 5 minute moment that she spent with him. And of all the time he tried to spend with her, the only thing she noticed was when he fixed the wall in the laundry room. She went back upstairs kindof in awe.

I had told her one of the examples from our ward, and how frustrating it was to the wife to be working her butt off and have it go seemingly unnoticed by her husband who keeps asking for me and can't seem to see how hard she's working for him!!! And how frustrating it was for the husband whose wife couldn't find the time for a quick kiss goodbye!

Mostly, the conversation opened my eyes to how thankful I am to know what I know. To be blessed with a husband who teaches me these things and who is constantly trying to better our relationship. Today I realized that some people who know a lot of things and are very successful, sometimes just haven't learned some basic relationship concepts that would make them 100 times happier.

1 comment:

  1. Speaking of the 5 languages of love, I still have your book. But, you probably remembered that. :)


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