Back when I used to work in an office, I would occasionally listen to the Dr. Laura Show on talk radio. Don’t get me wrong, girlfriend is nuts, but it was a mildly entertaining way to kill an hour in the car. Who cared if my eyes throbbed from all the rolling?
I remember Dr. Laura once talking about “Love Languages,” the different ways couples give and receive love. Che-ea-sy, I thought, but I must have filed away the information in my head because, lately, I’ve been thinking about the notion a lot.
You might not know it based on some of the posts I write, but Jeff and I are a really well matched couple (in the ways that really matter, at least.) If soul-mates exist, he is no doubt mine. He’s the ying to my yang, the butter to my bread, the every cheesy metaphor out there. The only problem? We speak different entirely different languages.
I’m not talking about the language known as “ignore your wife and hear whatever it is you want to,” although he is well-versed in that as well. I’m talking the way he proves his everlasting love for me and vice versa.
Jeff’s language is green. He expresses his love for people by buying things, which conflicts with my hatred of having money spent on me. It’s a long-standing issue in our relationship and I spend a good deal of my time standing in return lines. Before we shared a bank account, being lavished in unwanted gifts was a mild annoyance, but once married, it just seemed ridiculous. If I want something, I’ll buy it. Flowers die, cards get thrown away and there is no secret present-buying stash of money. It’s all lost on me; I just don’t speak green.
As for me, my language is food. Food makes me happy– planning it, cooking it, eating it. I once heard that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach and it stuck. I spend hours and hours slaving over the oven and cooking meals from scratch. I try and recreate restaurant dinners he liked. I pretend I’m a cooking show contestant and challenge myself to make the best plate possible. I fuss and fix and taste and fuss some more. For him. But he doesn’t get it. He’d be just as happy with some pasta and jarred sauce or cheap Chinese food take-out over anything I cook.
So why do I do insist on making him fancy meals? Why does he still buy me things? Will we ever speak the same language?
I suppose the only solution is to eat out and have him foot the bill.
Marriage. It’s all about compromise.