Like, really did. What would happen in our marriage?
Well, he showed me what would happen because for some unknown reason in December, or was it late November?, my husband of nearly seven years decided to LAVISH me with verbal affirmation.
I mean, it was hilarious. It was over the top. It was insane. It was . . . amazing.
To this second of this very day I’m not entirely certain what inspired him. He thinks it was when we had our home blessed by our wonderful priest with a particular prayer: the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart. He felt like the graces we received from that kicked him into constant personalized affirmation land.
I figured it was a way to battle against the winter blues that inevitably accompany long cold dark days away from us at the office, peppered with periodic trips out to our family Lodge in Wisconsin. But I digress.
Here’s what happened when my husband totally met my love language needs (and who knew my need for verbal affirmation was really so inordinately deep?):
1) We laughed. A lot.
They say laughter is the best medicine. It’s not as though I was ill, or our relationship was in a rough dark place (as it has been, haven’t all of ours?). Everything was just fine. Not splendid, but certainly not abysmal. But we laughed and laughed of his daily babblings about what a wonderful wife I was, and an award-winning mother, and a chef beyond compare (lies, lies, lies) made us both feel lighter. Happier. Funnier.
2) I started to believe it.
When he went on and on about how I took care of him and the kids and the house and managed to do my little side projects (oh! so! beautifully!), I started to believe it. Instead of feeling like a resident of frump-town, population me, I felt powerful, beautiful, and capable. In shedding my victim-status of mom-overrun-by-tantrumming-children-who-turns-to-her-phone-for-comfort, I felt like I could handle these long sunless days. I could because he thought I did. And he somehow thought I did it all masterfully.
3) My view on my life changed.
This sounds really extreme (like some reality tv show) but after weeks of hearing sincere thoughtful comments about how blessed he was, and how blessed we were, and how wonderful our life was, and how we could handle the ugly long days with grace and kindness, I did. I mean, I actually saw my days the way he described them. I viewed our little no-neck monster blessings as glowing fight sticks of gracious gifts. Instead of rant texting him about my trying afternoon where I accomplished nothing but driving kids around and warming up pasta sauce in a jar for dinner over very al denteeeed noodles, I was grateful.
My view really changed.
4) Our intimate life went deeper.
Not that we weren’t happily maritally embracing. We were. But my love language being constantly met & even at-capacity made me feel inseparably close to him all the time. Translating to more actual physical closeness. You get the idea.
5) When it tapered off, I wasn’t disappointed. I was grateful.
No one person can sustain the amount of verbal affirmation I craved for years on end, not even a long-distance runner like my husband who has great mental stamina. After the holidays and our swirling days of guests & gusto & gifts, it slowed down. We both were in hosting mode, and less in a focused-on-each-other mode, as if often the case when you are lucky enough to have lots of family with you.
But as I looked back and suddenly realized that the constant affirming of me had slowed, I wasn’t annoyed or craving to have those silly goofy high levels of it again. I was grateful. In part because now I knew I actually did have a maximum capacity for it and sometimes he tipped over that with his one, last compliment of the night. But also because I realized what power we have in each other’s lives. And what it would mean for him if I met and exceeded his love language needs.
That’s been part of my new resolution for this year. To meet his love language needs as much as I can, and to really soak up his attention and love for me when he’s showing it. We’re not lucky in love; we’re working in love. I hope you can try this experiment of saturating your love in his or her love language! It is never, ever too late to try.
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