Over turkey break I read this book. It's really a worthwhile read. Oddly enough, this is a book Andy had and shared with me. Not your typical man-book, but this man is full of surprises and is actually one who cares about communication and how to make a relationship better. I tend to be the "I don't want to talk about it" one in our relationship, while he's much more open and likes to get things out on the table. I think he feels if we aren't talking about something, there is a barrier and that's not healthy in a relationship. I agree, but I still suck at the communication part.
Anyway... this book made me realize something imperative to all relationships, whether it be significant other, children, parents, friends, work relationships - anyone. We don't all process or show our needs the same way.
Gary Chapman actually has a website dedicated to this idea. I urge you to check it out. Might even be able to do the quiz on there. I'm the queen of quizzes. I love the quizzes in magazines and online that tell you what kind of lover you are, if you are romantic, if you are an under-cover freak, etc. I LOVE quizzes. I know they aren't based on anything scientific and are just mutterings of another bored person, but I still think they are fun lol.
So... what are the love languages you ask? (Just pretend you asked dang it!)
- Words of Affirmation: Receiving words of adoration, comforting words, ego-stroking words, words of praise and kind words. Is it really important to you that your s/o (significant other) write you love letters or poems, give words of praise to your strengths, and compliment you in front of your friends and family? Does it mean the world to you to overhear your s/o telling someone else how great you are?
- Quality Time: The central aspect of quality time is togetherness; not proximity but focused attention. Quality time doesn't only include the minivacations or weekend getaways couples sometimes take to renew their relationship. Is it important to you that you receive eye contact when you are trying to talk to your s/o? Or that they are not multitasking when you are speaking to them and concentrating only on the conversation you are having, without them interrupting? What about them recapping the conversation, showing you that they fully understood your feelings. For instance if they were to say, "It sounds to me like you are feeling ______ about this situation." Is it important to you that your s/o and you have a devoted time each day to talk about the daily goings-on in your life? Do you feel more secure in your relationship when you do quality activities together? Are lunch dates, picnics at the beach or strolls at the park important to you?
- Receiving Gifts: Do you feel more loved when you receive gifts? Not only material things but the gift of your s/o's time and attention as well? Is it important to you that your s/o leave a box of chocolates for you or bring you home a rose for no apparent reason? What about a book they thought you might enjoy or a handmade gift, a painting or family picture collage? What about a Hallmark card professing their undying love for you out of the blue? Of course, we would all be excited at the thought of a new car, but what about new miniblinds for the livingroom that you set your eye on or an electric drill b/c the old one isn't quite functioning right anymore? Or even the gift of their time and presence spent at a community event they said they weren't going to attend with you?
- Acts of Service: These are simple and yet to some are so very important. Is it important to you that your s/o help with daily duties at the house? Making the bed in the morning, fixing coffee for you even though they don't like it? Packing a lunch for you to take to work? What about helping out with cleaning up the kids' bedroom while you are fixing supper so you don't have to do it later? Fixing supper for you? Cleaning up the kitchen after supper? Washing the car or taking the car to get the oil changed instead of waiting on you to do it? What about before you are expecting company and they help get the house tidied up? Do things like this mean the world to you?
- Physical Touch: Is it meaningful to you to have your s/o reach for your hand while you are in the car together? Or sitting on the couch watching the tube? Or walking around the department store? What about during times of crisis, do you feel like the situation would be much better if they held you? What about foot massages and back rubs? Do you feel most secure and loved when there is mind-numbing foreplay before sex? What about during supper at the table and your s/o plays footsies with you? Or when lying in bed, is it important that your s/o drape a leg over yours or have a hand on your back? Fiddling with your hair or caressing your neck? What about hugs and kisses every time they leave the house and again when they come back in? Or even when you are out in public, is it important to you that your s/o put their arm around you or shower you with kisses and pats on the butt?
I know all of these things are important in relationships, but put each of these five in order of importance to you. It's interesting also to see how your s/o puts their list in order. Your first love language may not be the same as your s/o! And even if you are single, it helps determine what you expect and how to address what a potential s/o expects!
Apparently we all have a "Love Tank" and when our needs aren't being met, our love tank isn't full. Sucks to be running on fumes man, it really sucks. The point is, what works for me may not work for Andy. For instance, if you are more of a Physical Touch person, but your s/o is Words of Affirmation... rubbing his shoulders isn't going to fill his Love Tank like telling him he's the bombdigity will. If you are the type who likes to Receive Gifts... when he tells you he loves you, it isn't going to do the trick.
I'm selfish. I have a hard time processing the needs of others any different than I would process mine. I have to actually step back from the issue and left-brain think it through before I know which way to go. It's not a natural thing for me. When folks are down, more specifically, when Andy's Love Tank isn't full (and you definitely know when your man's Love Tank isn't full) I tend to think of what I would want in that situation. Ba ha! Wrong answer! This book focuses on us giving them what they need in that situation, and how to effectively communicate what we need.
And to top this wonderful "ta-da" type moment book... there is a quiz! Yippee! You fill out your answers, and your s/o fills out the same quiz. Then you have this revelation of knowing for all these years (or months in our case) that you've been trying to fill their tank with what you would fill your own tank. It's like putting unleaded in a diesel engine. Just doesn't work.
Ok I'm done rambling about this. I just kind of had one of those step back moments last night when I realized my poor Andy is feeling neglected. I've noticed for the last couple of days his mood was different, but it didn't hit me until last night... that man is living on a half-empty tank. Shame on me because my tank is full!
If you are reading this Andy (because yesterday I finally gave him the link to my blog lol)... I love you very much and this weekend I'm gonna fill your tank baby! I'm gonna fill it up real good! *wink wink*