Have you ever heard about the languages of love? if you have not (and you are in a – or interested into being in a – relationship) you should really look into it.
The first time I heard about this was after I was already on my way to getting divorced. Gwen and I are actually great friends now, and we were back then as well. When it came to love we did not communicate. I never actually looked into the book or took the assessment back then. From the casual conversation we had she and I both assumed that I would receive love from “acts of service”… then recently I actually took the test. Come to find out that while that is how most of my life I have received love, its actually not my dominant language of love. Mine sits very high on “words of affirmation.”
My life has changed quite a bit during the last couple of years. Losing my grandfather was a huge blow to my family and it opened up a lot of questions to me about the future. Having lunch with a close friend this week made me come to the conclusion that we become who we are thanks to people that tell us we can accomplish things. We have to believe it, but it helps to have someone encourage it. Someone telling you that you can’t do it can also have a very powerful effect. I was lucky enough to meet both of my grandfathers but now both of them are not with us anymore. I had been preparing myself to face the death of my uncle who is still terminally ill and I had not considered my Grandfather actually dying. Losing people that believe in you can make you feel very alone.
Since I was very young I tried to convince myself that I did not really need anyone. It was a defense mechanism that I built to protect myself. While I do have a very independent and self reliant personality, this could not be further from the truth, we all need other people. I started to realize how much I need a partner in crime that supports me not just in words but in action. My sister put it simply to me recently, because of the way we grew up (in kind of a very dysfunctional household) we really did not learn anything about healthy relationships when it came to marriage.
Languages of love aside, I have my own classification of attraction. Intelligence, personality and physical. Without being too crass about the whole thing, while in my past serious relationships I thought there had to be a dominant one. My first relationship was all about personality. We were and still are very good friends, however we were intellectually incompatible for many reasons and while the physical was never an issue we both have agreed that the fireworks with others have been way better.
The rest of the relationships I had were very physical in nature. Not one night stand kind of situations, but just something were attraction was the main driver and personality and intellectual attraction had nothing to do with it.
Maybe that was always my mistake, that I thought that one of those three facets being exceptional would make up for the other two being just ok. I always thought it was unrealistic or perhaps I had never met someone that could engage me on all levels at once. Looking at my parents, I think they also did not look at the whole picture and ignored the fact that their personalities were complete opposites. You could not find two more polar opposites if you looked. My sister and I lived it our whole life with tons of emotional scaring to show for it.
Opposites attract is what people say, but there is something to be said about how people give and receive love. If you don’t speak the same love language and are not willing to learn and use it, love will eventually extinguish. I have always tried to nurture love in my relationships, thing is that when there is love there should not be a lot of trying it should just be allowed to grow. Relationships DO take lots of work, the key is that the work should not feel like work, it should be something that you do gladly for the other person, something you do for love. My friend looked at me with a knowing smile across the table when I told him about how effortless everything felt now.
By choice I have gone through most of the things in my life alone. I have opened up little by little to more of my friends. It still not easy to do and with everything that went on with my uncle I know I felt alone. Thing is though, I don’t feel alone anymore. Since Heather and I started talking I have had something I did not expect, someone that wanted to listen to what I had to say. Someone to encourage and advice me, as well as let me know that I can do better when I let my emotions take a hold of me. I cannot begin to describe what it feels like to have the person by your side… I guess it is why I now understand things like “when you know, you know.”
The fireworks went from being bought in a roadside tent to full on 4th of July fireworks display over lake Michigan. The inside jokes we already have keep us laughing constantly, its hard to even type this without chuckling. We might not be in the same professional field but we are both darn good at what we do. Our languages of love match almost like mirror images of each other. We use phrases like “meant to be” and they don’t seem cheesy. I never thought I would find someone that actually encouraged my “want to be happy every day” attitude. We have different approaches at many things but end up at the same conclusions, respect, family and the value of strong bonds. To say I’m pretty freaking happy does not begin to cover it, so I quote something she said to me this week. “I’m so glad we are solid.”