If you are in love and in a relationship, then you have probably heard about the Five Love Languages which strengthens communication in a romantic relationship. But what if I told you there was a sixth, equally important, love language?
“Real love – This kind of love is emotional in nature but not obsessional. It is love that unites reason and emotion. It involves an act of the will and requires discipline, and it recognizes the need for personal growth.” – Gary Chapman
“Have you heard about The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman?” our dear friend Richard asked as we soaked naked in their hot tub and talked about life with Richard and his wife. The summer night was cool; the stars glowed.
“A book with a name like that should make the author a bundle,” Vic said with a snort and a twinge of writer’s jealousy.
“But it’s an interesting idea,” Richard protested. I imagined his scowl, but it was too dark to see it. “You need to know the language of love essential to your partner. It may not be the same as yours.”
“OK. Tell us,” I said.
“Quality time. Touch. Gifts,” Richard began.
“What else?” I asked.
“Hmmm… Acts of Service and something about affirmation. Oh yeah. Words of Affirmation.”
Vic and I hooted into the night sky and poked each other in the ribs.
“Affirmation,” Vic said. “That is the top of your list.”
“And you are clearly an Acts of Service guy,” I popped back.
The Love Languages We Speak
“Love is a fabric which never fades, no matter how often it is washed in the water of adversity and grief.” – Robert Fulghum
I loved affirmation, spoken words of appreciation. I thrived on compliments about the food, the beauty of the flower gardens, or a piece I’d written. I never tired of hearing that I was beautiful. Vic appreciated the small things I did for him and told me so every day. Affirmed, recognized, and loved, I was easily persuaded to pack his suitcase for a trip even if I wasn’t going along, or cook pasta and tomato sauce for dinner when I’d prefer brown rice.
Acts of service made Vic feel loved. He sweetly requested rather than demanded help when he needed it. Packing that suitcase or a vegan lunch for work, sticking a little love note on the wax paper wrapping of his tofu sandwich, helping him choose clothes that were color-coordinated. I didn’t complain about reading his book galleys when they came in the middle of an Arizona vacation even though I wanted to go hiking—or I didn’t complain as much as Vic did.
“This is what you always wanted,” I teased after Vic became ill, when there was little to joke about. “I’m devoting my whole life to serving you.” We laughed, but we knew. He needed a motherly nurse and I was willing to do anything to keep him alive. He affirmed me with gratitude until his death.
“Love doesn’t keep a score of wrongs. Love doesn’t bring up past failures. None of us is perfect. In marriage we do not always do the right thing. We have sometimes done and said hurtful things to our spouses. We cannot erase the past. We can only confess it and agree that it was wrong. We can ask for forgiveness and try to act differently in the future.” – Gary Chapman
We liked being physically close so we agreed on the Gift of Touch. We craved small caresses, pats, and hugs. Vic awoke early and was downstairs at his desk drinking coffee by the time I finished meditating in the morning. I came into his office and stood beside his desk chair. He put his arm around my waist or patted me on the butt. I caressed his hair and rubbed his neck.