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. Nina says

    Loved this post, Jill. I still remember one of your earliest posts when you were giving away a pair of earrings from Jeff. Or did I make that up? There was definitely something about a pair of earrings. I’m with you on flowers and all that. It’s a waste of OUR money!

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    • Scary Mommy says

      About a year after I started blogging, I switched to WordPress and in the process, lost all of my subscribers. It was awful. Around the same time, Jeff got me these diamond earrings (at half off! what a deal!) that I didn’t even like. Of course, they couldn’t be returned. I sobbed and sobbed, nobody’s ever going to find me! I may as well give up! And, he suggested I give them away. It worked and totally brought people back. So, I guess that purchase was kind of worth it.

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  2. Crystal says

    That’s funny, I used to do that. Now I only cook up the special food when it’s what I want and I’ve got the time. Homemade bread was totally lost on him most days.

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  3. StephanieinSuburbia says

    Ha! I was watching Real Housewives of Atlanta (don’t judge me) and this subject came up. Phaedra, little miss society wife, basically said that she totally thinks love comes from material things people give her. And her husband? Time, he says he gives with time. Probably b/c the only money comes from her.

    I’m like this with my husband. I love to buy things when I see them and they really speak to me, and that makes him uncomfortable. I also love to get little surprises, too, though. But LITTLE! I love the necklace he bought me, don’t get me wrong, but the best presents? He bought me orange soda and chocolate bars every Friday during my pregnancy. The other day I was whining how I was underappreciated, he came home with flowers and did the dishes. I’m not sure what that means re: my love language. Maybe I just like having stuff done for me :)

    Great post!

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  4. vanillasugarblog says

    well i’ll happily take that jewelry off your hands.
    i love to be spoiled–rotten of course. and i’m not afraid to say it.
    can we afford it, no. but a girl can dream.
    and of course all the fancy food i make/experiment with, my hubby hates and prefers a pizza (not my pizza either). ain’t love grand?

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  5. Amanda says

    I read the children’s version of the Love Languages book. Cheesey? Yes. True? Yes. My husband and I speak different love languages too, but that’s ok. I know that, and know that sometimes things just get lost in translation. As long as I keep that perspective, it keeps me from those moments where I want to rip his head off (and probably vice versa).

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  6. julie gasparro says

    wow! this is so my husband and i as well! same! i so totally relate! Love, love your posts! you’re an amazing writer! i laugh every day! xoxo :o)

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