Front Porch Stories: What’s Your Love Language?
By KATHY BOHANNON, Special to The Weekly
It took me a while, but in my 60th year or so I may have figured something out. That lightbulb went off and it’s sure saved me a bit of head scratching.
It’s this: our definition of what we expect from someone we love doesn’t mean they should, or will, live up to it.
Raising children may be the exception. Most of us provide very clear lines and boundaries that are rules for the kids to follow. Preteen and teens will often step over those lines, but we rule-setters have an eye on the situation and an ear to the ground. I was a helicopter mom and would like to think I was tuned in to the circumstances long before they had a chance to think they “got away” with whatever it was.
With that exception out of the way let’s take marriage, for example. A bride and groom look lovingly into one another’s eyes as they speak their vows. Then we fast forward to a bit of dissension among the ranks.
She may start thinking he doesn’t love her while he is thinking about car repair, fishing, hunting or a movie he is eager to enjoy. His demonstration of love for her might be fixing the part of the car to keep her safe on the road or bringing home some fresh caught trout. These things may be a huge give on his behalf.
Maybe he isn’t acting within the parameters of her definition of love. She may not even realize she has set parameters of expectation.
Her definition may be vastly different. She may expect him to pick a good movie to watch together. She may even go to the lengths of suggesting a few while he is thinking it would be fun to watch the Die Hard series. He may cook a meal but not think of her preference for organic, or low carb, or whatever the latest “skinny” recipes call for. He’s showing her love just by cooking. He might leave a mess, but the Die Hard series is waiting. She sees a plate heaped with French fries and a piece of trout and a messy kitchen left behind while Die Hard is cueing up in the living room.
He cooked, he chose a movie. Her car is repaired and that fresh caught trout sure was good. He’s all about the movie now and would she mind making some popcorn?
She shoots daggers from her eyes, but he is looking for the remote. She might slam the cabinets and rattle the dirty dishes while he turns up the volume. She may feel unloved, misunderstood, ignored and taken advantage of. He might just be showing his love by doing the things he has done for her.
I’m speaking from the woman’s standpoint because, well, I’m a woman. And it took me a long time to realize the man I married 46 years ago adores me, in his own way.
He is retired and I’m still freelance writing. He takes out the trash, loads the dishwasher, does laundry, cooks and if I ask, he will whip up a dinner of vegetables. We’ve grown a lot and I love how he expresses love for me now. I’m glad I waited.
We gave our marriage to God on our wedding day. He has been our guide and our shelter in our storms. Check out 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 for more.
Kathy Bohannon is a freelance writer, Christian humorist and inspirational speaker. Kathy lives with her husband of 46 years, with two dogs and a messy kitchen.