My husband and I first met when we were 10 and 11 years old, in the 6th grade. We began dating our freshman year of high school. I was so excited, but nervous at the same time. I was finally dating my crush, but I didn’t want my father to find out I had broken the cardinal rule: NO BOYFRIENDS BEFORE THE AGE OF 18.
During our earlier years of dating, we experienced immature breakups, but also learned that we had so much in common. We shared the same humor, thoughts on relationships (for the most part), had similar upbringings, and found out that our childhood was spent very closely around one another; before we even had a clue the other existed. Our sisters share the same birthday, our cousins used to play with each other as children, we lived a few houses a part, my uncle was best friends with his father when they were younger, and the list goes on. I just knew that one day we would marry, and all would be well.
As time went on, we grew both older and closer. We’ve been married for 5 years now, and have two beautiful girls. Our families are intertwined, and we know each other’s thoughts and actions before they happen. However; for years we had no idea of what each other’s love language was. He never gave knowing our love language a thought, and I had no idea what mine was to even tell him.
I was first introduced to what the five love languages were about two years ago while at church. I felt like all of them were my love language. Acts of Service, Quality Time, Physical Touch, Words of Affirmation, and The Giving of Gifts. That’s all me; so I thought. Then last year I bought “The 5 Love Languages” book written by Gary Chapman and was able to gain some clarity. I brought it up to James every time I read a chapter, and he would still shoot the idea down. He didn’t see the big deal, or the hype.
I took baby steps to figure out what his love language was. I would ask him questions like, “Would you like it if I gave you more gifts?” “Do you like it when I do special things for you? Like pack your lunch, etc.?” Then finally I hit the jackpot. “What type of things would you like us to do together?” His response, “I don’t care what we do, as long as we’re doing it together. I don’t care if we are riding in the car to get food, I just love spending time with you.” I asked more questions, and then explained to him that his love language was quality time. He didn’t find the other things I would do for him as special (although he appreciated them) because they weren’t his primary love language. Unfortunately, I still had no idea what my love language was .
When we discovered my love language, it came with a lot of emotions. James came home from the road, and my emotions were building up. I was feeling unappreciated and misunderstood. The icing on the cake was when he began to wash the clothes I had left over on the floor in a real aggressive manner. I said, “It’s okay Love, I’ve got it. I’m just cleaning up the kitchen first, and then I’ll finish the clothes.” He said, “Tiana, these clothes have been sitting here since the last time I came home, if I don’t wash them they’ll still be here.” Whew Lord, I lost it. But I didn’t say anything… I shut down. Cursed him out and punched him in the face internally about 5 times. First of all, I had been washing the clothes and packing them at the same time, while homeschooling our 7-year-old, taking care of our brand new toddler AND trying to grow my brand. I had a method. It was getting done. For those of you who know me, you know I like to do things a certain way. It’s slightly anal mixed with a little OCD. Secondly, the moment he had something to say about what I was doing around the house, it was negative. I was hurt and extremely irritated.
He began to probe with questions because he sensed my mood had change. My response was , “Nothing’s wrong. I’m okay.” Then I began to bawl my eyes out. I couldn’t stop crying. I was trying to cook and clean, I felt incompetent, emotional and just… like after trying all day, every day, my efforts weren’t enough. James hates it when I cry. So he was getting agitated because he couldn’t figure out how to fix the problem. I finally opened up and had my breakthrough. “I feel like you never say anything or compliment me when things are looking good, or going well. The moment things aren’t in order, you’re quick to respond with negativity.” He apologized and explained that he didn’t mean to come off that way. He really just wanted to help, but it came off in the wrong way. After all was said and done, I said ” I’m pretty sure my love language is words of affirmation.” His response, “Hell yeah it is! There’s no question about that.”
I finally found my love language! It opened up a whole new realm of communication for us. James spends more time at work than he does at home. Our relationship is more virtual than in person, so his words mean so much to me. Honestly, mom guilt is real and I spend a lot of time thinking about what I didn’t do versus what I did do. It feels amazing to hear him say, “Love, you are an amazing mother. You’re doing so well with homeschooling Taniya.” It may seem simple to others, but it means the world to me.
If you’re married, heck, if you’re single… FIND. YOUR. LOVE. LANGUAGE! It feels good when you know what you NEED from your spouse and they are able to deliver it. I spent a lot of time doing acts of service for James, and that’s not what he needed. He required my time, my undivided attention. He spent a lot of time trying to give me physical touch (go figure lol), but unfortunately too much touching really irritates me.
FIND. YOUR. LOVE. LANGUAGE!
It’s so worth it!