Apparently I’m late to the gate on relationship terminology, but I recently heard someone refer to their “love language” as the reason they had to end a budding romantic partnership. Seems they didn’t speak the same love language. It’s a thing. Huh.
This love language theory was published in 1992 by author/pastor Gary Chapman, in which he depicts five ways people express love: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch.
So I did some research (read: Googled it, because the Internet is where all the true facts are hidden) and I discovered something about my 29-year relationship with my Carpenter: our love language is a foreign dialect.
It doesn’t matter what language we’re speaking, really. He has selective hearing and, when tuned in, can only handle short sentences of brief explanations with few adjectives and even fewer emotions.
If the Carpenter has a love language it includes phrases like, “I bought the good steaks. On sale.” If I want to turn that man on, that’s my sentence.
Or my personal favourite, when he knows I’m fretting about something and he offers to listen (selectively, of course) and I say, “It’s okay, I don’t want to talk about it.” His face after that statement resembles that of a Labrador when you take their leash off at the lake. The Carpenter bolts to the garage before I can utter another word, just in case.
Words of affirmation? Um. I can affirm that I’m not nearly as mushy with romantic, lovey-dovey words as you think I am. If I speak in loving kindness affirmations the Carpenter looks at me sideways as if to ask, “what do you want and what is it going to cost me?”
It’s not so much a trust issue as it is a learned behaviour. What? I have a pattern. So, basically, if I utter a compliment, I’m up to no good or I broke something. Fair. Totally fair.
Quality time? As if. We are basically roommates on different sleep schedules. Sometimes I sit on the tailgate of his truck while he works in the garage and I pepper him with mundane questions until he appears flustered, and realizes that was my intention all along. Then I leave. Takes me about five minutes. Quality time is open to interpretation. So is humour.
I excel at gift giving. I spontaneously buy him licorice Allsorts. Candy is love. He loves candy.
Acts of service? Don’t. I know what you’re thinking. My service is doing his banking. He has no clue what his account balance is, but thanks to me, there is one. Also, on movie nights, he gets his own bowl of potato chips. We don’t share. That’s my love language.
If physical touch is me rolling his dead weight over to his own side of the bed when I try to get in it, hours after he’s gone to sleep (I did say we are roommates, right?), then I am good. This is a family newspaper and that’s as much as I’m going to share about physical touch, because, gross.
I believe the Carpenter and I have ticked all the love language boxes, creating our own dialect without the need for interpreters.
And hey, we’re still speaking to each other, so that’s a win.