Chris recently took the 5 Love Languages assessment for work. His results haven’t changed since he took it during our engagement, five years ago. Physical touch and quality time will probably always be my husband’s love languages. He’s so solid, so steadfast.
Me? I’ve been doing this gig ever since my parents taught it in the 90’s. I grew up using terms like “love tank” and trying to learn how to love other people in ways that felt foreign to me.
I’ve spent most of my life experiencing love through words of affirmation and physicaltouch. I’ve always felt worth when people use kind words to me and pat me on the back. I figured it’d stay that way, always and forever. I felt confident in my ability to communicate my needs, confident in knowing myself so well.
And then somehow, seemingly out of nowhere, I changed. A few years and milestones have passed since I last took the test or evaluated my life experiences. Suddenly, I don’t race to cuddle up to my man as soon as the kids go to bed, or rush into a friend’s arms for a hug after long time no see. I want my skin to myself when I get the opportunity. I don’t hawk the phone for sweet text messages from my husband, the way that I used to. Instead of thriving under praise from coworkers or blog readers, I find myself easily embarrassed by the compliments.
Don’t get me wrong. Those two love languages still speak to me in all the right places. They encourage me and remind me that I’m loved. But lately, something’s felt off. I’ve begun to place subtle emphasis on other love languages, and it’s left me frustrated. I admit that I’m in a darkish, funky season in regards to motherhood right now… but I can feel this tension pop up occasionally in my marriage. I think I owe it to my other half to be clear in what I’m feeling. So while Chris was out of town last week, I took the test again. I felt it building even before I finished, before I saw the results. The test was trying to tell me that I am different. I am different now.
The quality time score didn’t surprise me much. I’m pretty protective possessive over our schedules, and I’ve been known to follow Chris around like a puppy dog. But the next two results? And the things to which I related most before, being at the bottom of the list? Goodness.
Christopher and I have never bought each other gifts for birthdays or our anniversary. We choose instead to eat out at fun restaurants all day long. Now, I pin things like this in hopes that we’ll start exchanging gifts soon. I used to handle menial household tasks by myself, keeping details from Chris to save the hassle. My idea of an act of service was getting an occasional foot rub. Now, I find great pleasure in sharing to-do lists with him and letting him in on permission slips and childcare arrangements.
The seemingly sudden change to loving gifts boggles my mind a bit, and yet it answers a lot of questions. Since becoming a mother, owning nice things has become more important to me. I like the idea of looking down at a watch and being reminded that my husband values me, even in the midst of the craziness that is our life. I also like the idea of having things to hand down to my children someday. These sentiments feel new (and shallow) to me, so it’s taken some self-exploration to get to the point where I can admit them. As far as acts of service go, the concept has become a vital piece of our partnership. Both of us work full-time hours, although Chris has a more flexible schedule and is able to spend most days at home. It’s a constant give-and-take with us, a balance that requires us to gauge each other’s moods and quietly pick up the slack on those days.
Does this ring true for anyone else?
Have you found that your love languages morph as you grow and change?