Speaking the Same Language


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.


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  1. Joanne says

    We had to read the Love Languages book as a part of our premarital counseling. And let me tell you how much I LOVE that crazy Dr. Laura! Sometimes she said some great things and other times she said some really WTH things! :) I wrote a post many, moons ago about this same thing because my hubby and I are very much on the same page about most things, but like you said our love languages are completely different.

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  2. Jana @ An Attitude Adjustment says

    Dr. Laura probably stole that love language thing, because I heard it before, but not in relation to her. Yeah, my hubs and I are still trying to figure out love languages, but he is more like you, spending a lot of time making food and often, too much. Then I think, “What are you trying to do to me? I can’t eat all of that!” And I agree that flowers die. So my love language is money, but it’s him handling the money so I don’t have to. That or planning a night out for us, or making a much needed appointment. All of those planning ahead things get me hot! (I’m boring.)

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  3. Mary says

    Im always asking my husband to “just be romantic”. After almost 20 years together he just doesnt get it. I tell him it doesnt mean BUY me something. For Valentines Day. I told him again. Dont buy anything just be romantic. Cook me dinner instead of me doing it. Buy my favorite ice cream and watch a movie with me. Does he do it? NO. He ignored the whole thing. Not even a card! I love flowers and he wont buy them. Simple tulips and I would be happy. Im not a rose person. Monday was my birthday. Im not sure what clicked in his head or if my teenage boys finally got it through to him. He cooked me dinner, spent the day with me shopping, and bought me a very nice charm bracelet. Ive just had to learn to bend to his ways also.

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  4. Lynn MacDonald (All Fooked Up) says

    That’s so funny because I don’t do shit for my husband and he’s given up on buying me things. I suppose the point is that eventually he will learn.

    I wanted an iPad last June for my birthday though. I said to buy it for me on June 20th or on June 21st I’d go to the Apple Store and buy it myself.

    I got an iPad for my birthday.

    And that’s how it’s done!!!

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  5. liz says

    Man, I think that’s THE best compromise around! I love food, too, though hate being the one preparing it.

    I don’t return gifts bestowed upon me, though Craig and I, in general, are not into the gifts. In fact, we’ve talked about making a point to give each other gifts for holidays now that the girls are older and notice stuff like that.

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  6. Tanya says

    I almost died when I read you listened to Dr. Bitch. She is the bane of my existence as a mother and woman. Ohh and my stupid sister worships at her feet, then turns around and judges me.

    The book is called The 5 Love Languages. It’s written by Dr Gary Chapman. I really enjoyed it. Read it in high school. Yeah there’s a lot of cheese but there’s a lot of good information too.

    I like your compromise LOL. Eat out and let him foot the bill. Perfect!

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  7. Alison says

    I’m fortunate my husband and I speak the same language when it comes to proving everlasting love. I say, hey, nice Android phone you got there! And the following week, I’m presented with said phone. Yay!

    He emails me recipes of things he’d like me to cook. I email him back and say, we’ll see. Hah!

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  8. Vinobaby says

    I feel your pain. It took me YEARS to convince my Hubby that no, I really did not want or need yet another piece of jewelry for a present. I’m a practical girl on a budget. I don’t get dressed up to run to the grocery store, and I really don’t think the check-out clerk will be impressed by my emerald and diamond necklace paired with flip flops and shorts.

    I discovered it is not his fault. My Monster-In-Law (oh, did I just actually type that?) believes that a “gift” can only be something you would never buy yourself. Yeah, makes her a joy to buy for, considering she already has filled four closets and three jewelry boxes with her toys.

    But I feel for my Hubby as well. Since I am so practical, he gets underwear and socks for Christmas when he would love video games and DVDs or other electronic toys. He is not so impressed.

    But I am POSITIVE he is going to adore what I did for him for our upcoming anniversary. Something extremely out of character (and budget) for me. And kinda out of clothes as well…

    After nearly 11 years of marriage I’ve discovered it takes a little give, a little take, and a LOT of wine sometimes…

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  9. Alexis says

    I’m 100% with you in my dislike of gifts. Especially (as you said) I generally see it as wasting OUR money on stuff I don’t WANT. Last year’s birthday gift was some ridiculously expensive silk thong thingie. I wished I could have skipped the whole put-away-to-pretend-it-will-get-worn-someday-cuz-it-won’t step and just put it directly in the garbage.

    BTW – my informal research suggests all men have the SAME love language and (surprise surprise) it’s sex!

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