Speaking different Love Languages.

Via Carmelene Siani
on Mar 25, 2015
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Carmelene

He started talked about us getting married, three weeks after we met.

He wasn’t shy about it either. It was what he wanted and he was sure I was the woman he wanted it with.

I, however, wasn’t all that sure. After all, he had used the “M” word without using the “L” word. In other “words”—he hadn’t told me he loved me.

In fact, he hadn’t even mentioned love. It was more like for him love was a given.

For me though, it wasn’t a given. It was a necessity.

Was I going to consider marrying a man whose former wife had died only 10 days before we met and who was, barely a month later, talking about getting married again—to me!

Maybe I needed a little more information about how he was feeling.

Maybe I needed to know that he actually loved “me,” not just the idea of marriage or the idea of not being alone. After all, he’d been quite happily married almost all of his life and it was understandable that he would want to live out the rest of his life married as well.

It was probably too foreign for him to say such words to me, after having said them to another woman for 48 years, and to say them so soon after he was no longer able to say them to her anymore.

I said, “Give me six months. I need to know how you feel about me. I need to know if you love me.”

Given the fact that he and I have been married for two plus years now, it is obvious that I became convinced that he loved me. But it wasn’t because he ever said it. In fact, his not ever saying it, except when I asked him, (which as every woman knows, doesn’t count), became a bit of an issue for me.

“Honey,” I said, I need to talk to you about something.”

And we went out to the patio and he sat in his favorite chair and I sat in mine and I proceeded to give him all my reasons for needing to hear him say the I love you words—on a regular basis—like when he actually “felt” love, not when I asked him.

I laid out all my arguments.

The “I’m a woman, I’m verbal” argument.
The “I’m Venus, you’re Mars,” argument.
The “Nobody ever told me they loved me when I was little” argument.

You know, all the arguments.

Poor guy. He actually and literally looked bewildered. And he is an intelligent man. He really didn’t know what I was talking about.

I had another conversation with him and gave him even more arguments and this time he alluded as to how he’d never heard it put quite that way before and, yes he would try and, yes he loved me and then, I felt something happen inside me.

It was almost like a quickening.

“What if he’s telling me the truth,” I said to myself. “What if I accept what he says when he says ‘But I do tell you I love you. I do tell you. All the time.’”

What if I stop “yes, butting….” him and stop insisting and stop arguing and what if I accept what he says as the truth.

And that was when I realized that he was right. He did tell me he loved me. All the time. More times in fact, and in more ways than I had ever noticed.

He is the kind of man who comes into the kitchen, pulls my hair up and kisses me on the back of my neck when I am cooking. The kind of man who calls me when he is leaving from work to ask if I need anything from the store before he comes home. The kind of man who takes my hand when we cross the street as if I have never crossed the street on my own before in my life, who reaches over and squeezes my thigh for no reason whatsoever when we are in the car together, puts his arm around me in a bar, remembers how I like my coffee, and what part of Italy I think has the best wine.

He remembers my birthday, our wedding anniversary, the date we met and the date he asked me to marry him.
But above all, he is the kind of man who listens to me.

When I say, “Honey, I need to talk to you,” he stops what he is doing and goes out to the patio to his favorite chair and sits down and listens to me.

He respects what I have to say and says so with his attention and his earnestness. Could I really ask for anything more?

I remember a dharma talk I once heard on the subject of “Not This But That” and how the mind/ego will always, always, tell us that what we have is not as good as what we don’t have.

By golly, that’s exactly what I was doing with my husband.

I was saying, “Yes, but I need you to say you love me with words.”

When he was saying it all the time. He was, in fact, screaming it, with his tenderness, with his caring, with his attention, his random kisses and his respect.

And all the while, I was saying, “I don’t want what I’m getting, I want what I’m not getting” he just kept loving me.

What might have happened, had I continued on the tack I was taking? I shudder to think.

One possibility is that eventually my constant discounting of what I already had in abundance while clambering for what I didn’t have, my constant nagging to have it exactly my way and to have him say exactly the words I wanted him to say, could have ended in us both feeling entirely dissatisfied.

Me, for not getting what I wanted and him for feeling like he was already giving me everything he could in the only way he knew how.

Today, I wouldn’t give up my husband’s eloquent ways of telling me he loves me for anything.

Because I learned to read his language and stopped insisting that he speak mine, I feel even more love coming from him than I might have otherwise.

Now, when he reaches across the console in the car and squeezes my thigh, or puts his arm around me in the movies, I say, “I love you too, honey.”

And we smile at each other, knowing that we are both using different ways to speak the same language.

~

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Author: Carmelene Siani

Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock

Image: courtesy of the author

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About Carmelene Siani

Carmelene is a 75-year-old freelance writer who has been published at Elephant Journal, Better after 50, Huffington Post, The Reader, and Broad Magazine among others. Her stories are personal narratives on grief, family, food, and late-life love. Her aim is to help others see the ways that life is constantly opening to reveal its own lessons. She lives by the dictum of Muriel Rukeyser that “the universe is made of stories, not atoms.” Follow her on Facebook, on her blog and at Twitter.

Comments

2 Responses to “Speaking different Love Languages.”

  1. kakyuu says:

    i mean, so do you speak to him in his love language? does your specific love language get used at all? like, i get these articles but it always seems like the woman writing it goes, "and then i did things his way instead and life was great!"

    am i really supposed to have no wants, no love language of my own? if hearing "I love you" is important to someone, why is that inferior to physical actions?

    just genuinely curious since these type of articles always bring up thougts like this.

  2. Carmelene Siani says:

    I Completely understand where you are coming from Kakyuu, as I struggled with this myself. And I agree with you saying that you read articles in which the woman ends up saying, "and then I did things his way instead and life was great…" May I suggest however, that that is not what I am saying that I did at all — I didn't do things "his way…" I expanded myself by extinguishing my "need" to have him say things a certain way. In otherwords, this was not about his way or my way. It was about my realizing that my "need" was just a habit – one that I had fed over my lifetime – and that if I stuck to my habit I was making myself unhappy. By giving up my habit/need I was no longer held captive to it. Remember my buddhist teacher explaining that the ego will always tell us, "not this – but that." I have discovered that the ego disguises itself in perceived needs. I don't NEED to have my husband say he loves me. I really just WANT him to. And if he doesn't then my contentment is held captive by him. What happened as a result of my letting go of my need is that he ADDED the words "I love you" to his lexicon. It was like magic, when he felt I understood his way of speaking to me – he was able to expand himself as well. I hope this makes sense to you – You raise an EXCELLENT point – Excellent! And it was definitely one that I struggled with. In the end however, I wanted to use the opportunity to change and grow myself – rather than to try to ask him to change. It was my decision. This is my third marriage. The first two ended well – so I've had lots of practice! PLEASE feel free to respond. You can e-mail me if you like. [email protected]. This is a vitally important subject as trying to be happy with what we have instead of being unhappy with what we don't have can virtually apply to everything in life. In coloquial terms, it's called, "the grass is always greener…." Thank you for your extremely thoughtful question and comments and for the kindness with which you put forth your ideas. xoxoxox Carmelene