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He's multilingual now [Jul. 21st, 2005|02:08 pm]
[Current Mood |lovedloved]

A long time ago I read that in a marriage there are two basic kinds of love: romantic love and practical love. Romantic love is the mushy stuff, the hearts and flowers. Practical love is the part that pays the bills and does the laundry.

All relationships need a balance of both, but every person feels the love of one or the other as the real expression of love from their partner. And tends to communicate love in the way that they most readily interpret it.

This was a problem for Ferrett and me in the first years of our marriage. He would ask, "do you love me?" and I would point to all the stuff I had done for him. To him, that stuff was just about living, not about love, so he would be hurt that I thought such mundane things had anything to do with love, and I would be hurt because he was dismissing my efforts.

Then I would say, "I don't feel loved," and he would point to the flowers he had sent and the ecard and the many times a day he said it, and I would see the bills he hadn't bothered to pay or the lawn he had not mowed or the groceries he forgot to pick up and I would feel frustrated and disrespected, because if he loved me, how could he forget those things. And he would be hurt because I didn't care about him, I only cared about the stuff of life.

Today, he and his parents were leaving for Ann Arbor around noon. About 11:30 I got an email from him:

Water softner salt purchased.
Oil changed.
New windshield wipers installed.
Groceries bought.
Love you!!

I was overwhelmed by the love washing over me from that email.

This would have been the perfect day for him to say, sorry, honey, had work to do on Star City and then had to leave with my folks. Wish I could have gotten it done for you. It would have been much easier for him, and not invalid, since there wasn't that much time this morning. But instead he got up and got everything done for me so I can have the evening off and not have to worry about it.

He's learned to speak to me in the language of love I hear best. Sure, I still like getting the occasional shmoopy email, and the surprise flowers. But getting the job done, when it's inconvenient and he's only doing it because he doesn't want me to have to worry about it, that says love to me more than all the rest of it combined.

I love you, too, sweetie. And thank you for taking good care of me.

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[User Picture]From: old_hedwig
2005-07-21 06:17 pm (UTC)
How right you are. We all, if we are gonna settle down and stay happily together forever, need to learn this. We need to learn to express love the way our spouse understands it, and we also need to realize that our spouse loves us even when they don't express it the way we naturally respond to.

As in, he doesn't "not love me" if he forgets my birthday, especially if he forgets ALL birthdays. He's a guy who loves me that forgets birthdays.

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[User Picture]From: pleepleus
2005-07-21 06:22 pm (UTC)
The "practical love" part is also my favorite part of my relationship with my husband. He fills up my gas tank for me twice a week, "just because". I lay out the change of clothes he will want when he gets home from work, "just because".

Tomorrow, he has the day off from work. During his day off of "me(him) time" he wil go to my doctors and to an MRI place for me. And, he will let me drive his car because he wants me to be comfortable. (I am dealing with a ruptured disc issue) I didn't ask him to do any of these things, but he is doing them because he loves me.

On the flip side, my ex-husband used to buy me a rose almost everyday. It was easy, they sold them in the checkout line at 7-11 where he went to buy his daily 12 pack of beer. That flower didn't mean crap to me. What would have shown me some love was him not buying the 12 pack of beer, getting drunk, and beating the crap out of me.

I am glad you and the ferrett have each other. It's good to see couples who live, love and learn together.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-07-21 06:45 pm (UTC)
Feel better - ruptured disc is no fun.

And yay for the wonderful hubby!
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[User Picture]From: blondediva
2005-07-21 06:33 pm (UTC)
This reminds me of a book I read earlier this year entitled, "The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate" , which talks about different ways people express love. The book was given to us as a wedding present and has eased some of the tension caused by miscommunication in our first year of marriage.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-07-21 06:45 pm (UTC)
I love good book recommendations! Thanks!
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[User Picture]From: raylenetaskoski
2005-07-21 06:51 pm (UTC)
Yep. Mike and I are the flip. He likes to hear that I love him through a clean house and a full underwear drawer. He'll empty the trash and mow the lawn but he won't tell me I'm beautiful.

So when i'm working, I get a maid. Makes him happy and I don't have to do it. :D

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[User Picture]From: on_reserve
2005-07-21 07:13 pm (UTC)
I just might have to print this out as Getting Crap Done for Me/Us When You Have the Time is my preferred expression of love. I think because it what it says to me is, "Here, I know you have a lot of stress in your life and even though I am also busy I will help you get some stuff off of your to-do list beacuse I love you so much that reducing a little of your stress is worth more than watching tv."
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-07-21 07:26 pm (UTC)
Yeah, but it's also important to learn to speak the other person's language as well. Otherwise they feel like all of life is drudgery and you don't care about them. I did not toot my horn about learning to show Ferrett in the way he needs to be shown, but that is also a big part of our current happiness.
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[User Picture]From: cosmicbandit
2005-07-21 07:37 pm (UTC)
Awww. That is very sweet and nice to hear about too. :)
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From: ex_leopardp
2005-07-21 08:08 pm (UTC)
I was going to make a joke about The Ferrett being a "cunning linguist", but well...just decided to not go there:-D

Honestly, that's the kind of love talk I can handle. I don't want flowery sonnets, or tons of flowers or the same "I love you" mantra repeated ad nauseum.
It's the consideration...the caring.

That shows the love to me.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-07-21 10:47 pm (UTC)
Agreed. I am the happy, being able to just stay in and do nothing for an evening.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-07-21 10:26 pm (UTC)
Believe me, we did not come by it easily. But it does help.
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[User Picture]From: lothie
2005-07-21 10:10 pm (UTC)
*happy tears*
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[User Picture]From: dweezel
2005-07-22 12:12 am (UTC)
I am very happy that you guys have managed to come together as well as you have. You fought where I would have bailed. And mine bailed when I wanted to fight. I admire you as a great role model for life. May the Godess grant you all you wish.

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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-07-22 01:40 am (UTC)
You really understand, better than most, how close we came to picking up the poker chips and calling it a night. I can't point to any one thing that made the difference. I do feel blessed. Thanks.
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[User Picture]From: mentalwasteland
2005-07-22 12:34 am (UTC)
This is very well said. Sometimes, it seems to me that all relationship issues come down to communication: paying attention to and sharing each others thoughts, feelings, and dreams.
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[User Picture]From: ladycathead
2005-07-22 02:52 am (UTC)
I admit nothing fires me up romantically like the sight of my husband doing the dishes. ESPECIALLY when no reminding or nagging has been involved. And vacuuming? Well, that's just sexy! >;D
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[User Picture]From: dancing_gator
2005-07-22 04:29 am (UTC)
That is wonderful! I think lack of practical love was definitely part of the downfall (and a slew of other things) of my marriage. You summed it up perfectly.
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[User Picture]From: galateadia
2005-07-22 05:04 am (UTC)
that is exactly the way James and I are too.
he needs romantic mush/sex from me, and i need practical, do stuff to help me out things from him.
and yeah, in the six year we've been together it's sometimes put a big strain on us trying to figure that stuff out. but i'm pretty sure he's finally figured it out. things are so much better when you speak each others language at least most of the time. :)
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[User Picture]From: rachel_renee
2005-07-22 04:27 pm (UTC)


My husband and I are different. I am a "Touch" person. I like to be held. The closeness is how I feel loved. My husband likes it when I "Do" things for him. Like make him his favorite dinner or make sure that the house is cleaned when he gets home from work. This has been rather difficult for me, because I dispise housework. I do it because I know it has to be done more than any other reason, and my distaste for it sometimes translates (for him) into my not caring about him. He knows that I love him, but there are times when he doesn't feel it, because I feel this way. It is still a struggle for me to find the motivation to do laundry and scrub the kitchen floor (and with 3 kids I do mean SCRUB!), but I try to keep in mind that it will make him happier when he comes home. He tries very hard to see that my needs are met (and I can be rather needy due to some things that happened before we were married), so I have to make a concentrated effort to make sure that he feels loved.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-07-22 05:03 pm (UTC)

Re: Struggles

It's not always easy to speak the other person's language, but it's worth it for the rewards.
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