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.


  1. 21

    christi says

    My hubby and I just had a conversation about my upcoming birthday. Since marrying almost 2 years ago and combining accounts, we now can’t figure out how to buy gifts. It all comes from the same pot of money. Kinda takes all the fun and romance out of it.

  2. 22

    Alison At BrocanteHome says

    Oh I so hear ya. It’s a wonder me and mine aren’t in permanent fisticuffs over the stupid things he will insist on doing and all the great, wonderful gloriously sensible things I will NEVER give up…

    We rub along just fine. Thanks for reminding me their are others fighting the good fight daily…

  3. 24

    Nicole@MTDLBlog says

    Fabulous solution! My husband and I joke about who’s “treating” when we’re out for dinner – as if we’re still dating. He always “buys” of course because he’s a gentleman and chivalry isn’t completely dead in our marriage. On date night, he’ll even open the car door. :-)

  4. 25

    Seran says

    I enjoyed the book the 5 love languages. It was interesting because within minutes of reading a ‘language’ you know where it fits. Another awesome book for a wOman to read is captivating. If you’re of Christian faith( broad term ) you may get more out of it. But I love the post, it’s cute that you two are well suited and make the best of your relationship!

  5. 26

    Marta says

    I’m totally like your husband and buy things to show my love. Specifically for my kids, mostly because he doesn’t want/need anything and the kids always want something =). My husband shows love with time, just being around and being helpful. I wish I was more like him! (So does my bank account!)

  6. 27

    Lotus Blu Mama says

    A good friend recommended that book to me, which I immediately ran out and bought. It’s sitting in my bookshelf, the original receipt sticking out from page 80, collecting dust. Sigh.

    I appreciate flowers and gifts, but only if they fit in the household budget (ok, even if they don’t, I do accept them graciously.) But like most wives, I have to practically hit my hubby over the head with the exact item, location, color, web link, size and price point of what I want to ensure he gets the right thing.

    A woman’s work is never done.

  7. 28

    Mommy 2.0 says

    Too funny! The problem with my husband and me is that we are both bilingual in spending and food! As a result, we are both fat and poor. Oh well, that’s love!

  8. 29

    Jesika says

    I’m a foodie as well. But, one of the things that works SO WELL in our relationship is that I love to be cooked FOR, he is the one that likes to pretend he’s on a cooking show and has been challenged to make the best restaurant reproduction. It behooves my foodie soul to sit back, drink wine, munch on cheese and fruit while my love cooks me a fine meal. Heaven.


  9. 31

    Julie {Angry Julie Monday} says

    SAME problem here. Although I’m not a foodie…I’m a weird decorator. I like pretty things but I constantly search for the perfect thing, so I never spend money. Husband bleeds money, bleeds it…. The only thing we fight about is his spending. I recently told him that he needs to do the Dave Ramsey envelope thing or something.

  10. 32

    tesa de castro says

    my husband and i are totally different. different like north to south and such. what i love about us, we agree on food. he cooks and i cook also but we have learned to respect each others way of how things are done in the kitchen.

    he doesn’t lavish me with gifts but he surely lavish me with attention and care like he fetches me from work. go shopping with me. watch movie together and when i don’t feel well, he takes care of me…

  11. 33

    Kristie says

    I never read those kinds of books. In fact if the only kind of books I read usually have a half naked, drop dead sexy man on the cover.

  12. 34

    Jennifer says

    Our disconnect is that David is really affectionate and touchy, feely and I am NOT. Tell me you love me, give me a kiss and then get out of my way. I’ve got stuff to do. But he likes to cuddle. Blech. Other than that we’ve pretty much got each other figured out. 20+ years will do that for you.

    • 35

      Scary Mommy says

      Jeff is that way, too. If it were up to me, I’d draw a line down the middle of the bed and never allow him on my side.

  13. 36

    A Mommy in the City says

    I have the same problem with my husband. I would love for him to be more romantic but he just isn’t. I try to show him that I love him by doing things for him around the house and cooking him meals, he just says thanks. I love him more than anything and we are perfect for each other but I wish that we could find each others “love language.”

  14. 37

    The Irish Guy says

    My wife and I are the mirror image of you and your husband. I enjoy spending money on myself while she refuses to cook for me, even going to the point where she make sure that food I enjoy and would cook for myself is not in the house.

    Our love language is sign language I suppose and we often communicate via finger. ;)

  15. 40

    Jessica says

    We all have different things that make us happy.

    Sounds like an excellent compromise to me to eat out and let him pay.

  16. 41

    Lindsey says

    This reminded me of the 5 Love Languages book. My love language was acts of service while exhubby’s was physical touch. My physical touch score was 0 and his acts of service score was 0. I guess that’s why it didn’t work. lol

    • 42

      Holly O says

      I took that same test and got the same answer- now every time my husband empties the dishwasher or puts the clothes away after I have finished the laundry….he sings: There you go: An act of Serrrr-viccccce. It is horrible. Due to that simple fact: I quit touching him!!!

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