Andy and my daughter, Mary, talk about “love languages” all the time. I don’t have a clue what that means. But I do know different people say, “I love you” in entirely different ways. Sometimes, it’s not what we want or need, but it’s what they have to give.
When Alex and I first started dating Jack and Mary were three and four. They adored him but he didn’t know how to act around kids. He’d never been near children and I suspect was never actually a child himself. I think he went from infant to surly 13 year old and skipped all the fun stuff in between.
Jack and Mary wanted to hold his hand when we walked. He was painfully awkard. They said,”I love you,” to him and he’d say something like,”yeah, goodnight,” and pat them on the back. At 32 the only contact Alex was comfortable with was letting them sit on his back while he did push-ups in front of me.
But there was something there; we all sensed it. He seemed lost, awkward and dark…but we knew there was something there.
Alex and I had been dating four or five months but we weren’t living together when our first August blurred into September. I was panicked because it was time for back to school shopping and I was so broke. I had a small magazine, “The Springs,” and was paying myself just enough to pay for rent and food. I took a second job working as a waitress at Rocky’s Corner, but it still wasn’t enough to pay for back to school supplies, tuition and clothes for the kids.
Then Alex did something unimaginable. He pawned his 9mm pistol for $105 dollars so I could take care of my children. He didn’t know how to hug them but he knew how to help. It was his love language.
A few weeks ago Mary called to brag on Andy. They’d gone to a party and stayed too late. When they got home Andy tucked Mary into bed and the next morning got up at two am to handle their paper route alone. Then, despite being sleepless and I suspect hungover, they came to visit and Andy played in the creek with 12 year old Sandor. That’s an entire love language conversation.
And in return Mary does the most remarkable things for Andy. She spends weeks shopping for his birthday and finds gifts so remarkable thoughtful and perfect…so Andy will be happy.
When it comes to being a boyfriend my oldest son, Jack, is a rock star. Every Christmas and birthday he’s blows it out of the water. It’s hard to compete. But his girlfriend Kristin recently out did him. He returned from a two month trip to France and Morocco and found Kristen had not only taken his old truck to be serviced. She had the blown out air bags and seat belts replaced. Now that’s a love language.
So, when we are wondering if he’s a good boyfriend, when we’re asking ourselves “does she really care”. Make sure you translate their love language. Maybe it’s not the same as yours but that doesn’t make it any less beautiful or heartfelt.
PS Here’s a random idea. Somebody find me a publisher or agent. Thanks.