The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman is a bestselling Christian book which invites readers to understand which type of expression of love their spouse or partner best responds to, and to learn a bit about their own expectations in the process. Briefly, the five love languages are kind words, spending quality time, thoughtful gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. You can even take a free assessment online to learn where you fit.
But let’s face it, some of us guys are far better at finding out what pushes our spouse’s buttons in the opposite direction. It’s not so extreme as looking for “five hate languages,” but we’re really good at not expressing love or even like in certain situations:
- Ignoring or not hearing — Probably a good one-third of all the things my wife says to me in any given day at best have to be repeated a second time and at worst don’t register with me at all. It’s not that her concerns are not important to me, it’s just that whatever I’m doing at the time is more important.
- Questionable motives — This is when you do something really nice, but it turns out you’re doing it for some deeper reason. Once this mixed motivation surfaces, while transparency can be a good thing, it completely undoes any ‘points’ you think you’re scoring.
- Not sharing the experience — My wife has invested herself over the years in a number of hobbies and interests that she has invited me to participate in, but for various reasons the subjects or activities have never grabbed me. Later, I will wish I had done together what she did apart.
- Being helpless — Often we get into patterns where we feign ineptness or defer to the other person’s expertise, when in fact, we could have pushed the load halfway ourselves. Or something like that. Don’t make me explain this one, okay?
- Telling the other person what they like — A sort of opposite to #3, this one involves imposing your personal tastes and interests on someone who hasn’t demonstrated the least affection for that subject. “But honey, you’ll love the Indy 500! Powerful cars going around and around and around all day long!”
With help from Mrs. W., we came up with these fairly quickly on Sunday night. What did we leave out?