Yesterday morning several of the kids had dentist appointments which meant I got to have a fabulous conversation with our dentist‘s wife who runs the front office. Kelly is just a step ahead of me in life with most of her children beyond high school. I love hearing about her family, her marriage, what she’s reading, etc. So, I asked her, “Will you do anything special for Valentine’s?
Kelly shared that for every Valentine’s Day of their entire marriage, her husband, David, has fixed the exact same dinner – lobster tails and steak. Every year!
While I LOVE this, keeping the same menu for every Valentine’s Day is not our style. I mix it up, depending on what’s going on in our life. Anticipating Valentine’s Day, the kids reminded me that last year I truly was the Grinch Who Stole Valentine’s Day.
With Bill out of work, the kids spread between six different schools, and me running an afterschool program every afternoon, apparently I didn’t have the motivation to cut out Valentines, make cookies, prepare a gourmet dinner, light candles, or anything. So, I didn’t.
This year, however, was a bit different. With Bill in a job that is a great fit, the kids mostly home schooling, and me working part-time from my kitchen table, the idea of planning a Valentine’s Date didn’t overwhelm me.
As I thought about what I could do that would be fun, romantic, and not break the bank, Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages came to mind.
Bill and I read this book years ago, and it profoundly impacted us. We’ve applied the principles to our marriage, to our parenting, and to other relationships in our life.
Bill’s top love languages are Physical Touch and Words of Affirmation. Mine are Acts of Service and Quality Time. Receiving Gifts is pretty low on both of our lists. Clearly, we could easily miss each other. Here’s what “missing it” looks like for us:
Bill: Honey, you are the most amazing wife. I am totally blown away that God gave you to me. You are beautiful, kind, passionate, smart, and an incredible mother. Can we go to the bedroom?
Cindy: Well … tell me about your day and I’ll tell you about mine. I’ll bring some clothes to fold while we talk, and you can help out.
Cindy: Honey, I haven’t been able to get anything done around here today. With appointments, lessons, and meetings, the house is a disaster. I’m exhausted and I have a headache.
Bill: That’s okay. No big deal. Just leave it for tomorrow. I’ll get you a couple of Advil and let’s go to the bedroom.
Bill: Honey, how do you think I’m doing as a husband and a father?
Cindy: You’re doing fine, but when can I get some real time with you?
Cindy: Honey, if you really want get up close and personal, then cleaning up the kitchen is the absolute best foreplay ever.
Bill: Foreplay? I’ll get right on it.
Can you relate?
So, for Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d really try to love my husband across all five love languages. Here’s what I did:
1. Words of Affirmation
This one is probably my weakest, but I bought a card, which I NEVER do, and wrote a short specific note including the word “respect” and indicating that I was thinking about him in more than just a friendly way. On my way to the dentist appointment, I dropped the card with a small bag of truffles on the front porch of the church for him to find when he arrived at work.
2. Acts of Service
He values an orderly environment whereas I can live with a bit of chaos. Too often, our bedroom is the last area of the house to get my attention. So, I corralled the dirty clothes, vacuumed the floor, and straightened our bathroom.
I knew we’d have dinner together, but I also arranged a tour of a Boylan Bridge Brewpub complete with tastings. He likes specialty beers. While I’d rather have a glass of crisp chardonnay or smooth merlot, I enjoyed the tour, learning the science of beer-making, creating a memory, and just being with Bill. After our tour, we had a lovely leisurely dinner at Battistella’s and talked and talked and talked.
Although gift-giving is not huge for either of us and I did give him the tour, I also bought him a book that matches with his interest in U.S. history. The book itself certainly isn’t romantic, but valuing something that is interesting to him is.
5. Physical Touch
I won’t go into any detail at all on this one. Let’s just say that we had a delightful evening of hand-holding.
Intentionally thinking about these five love languages helps me to better love my husband. I might not be able to hit all five every day, but I can regularly focus on the two that really make him feel loved. And then when he’s pulling me close and telling me how wonderful I am, rather than handing him a broom, I can receive the love he’s offering, and say, “The kitchen can wait.”
Oh, and just in case you think I’ve forgotten the kids in this love fest, Friday nights are Family Nights around here. This Friday night will be our Family Night Valentine’s Celebration with cut-out hearts, chocolate, something yummy for dinner and a fabulous dessert.
How was your Valentine’s Day? Were you the Grinch Who Stole Valentine’s Day? Or did you knock his socks off? Or, was it somewhere in between for you? What do you think about Five Love Languages? I’d love to hear from you!