Heart BEATS: "How We Speak The Language of Love"

Teresa

I adore my wife, Teresa.

That's the simple explanation of how I feel about her and a term I reserve for only her. To adore is "to regard with deep, often rapturous love," and that's certainly what I feel for her after 33 years of marriage.

We met in Moscow, Idaho. Teresa and I knew each other from our fraternity and sorority days, but never had any communication beyond a few "hellos." I was in my sophomore year of veterinary school at Washington State University (I got into vet school as a junior in college), and Teresa had already graduated from the University of Idaho and was staying an extra semester, working at a men's clothing store.

We had our first date around St. Patrick's Day 1978 and got married December 27 of the same year. I was known for being pretty wild (I was social chairman of our fraternity) and had been "in lust" many times but never "in love." In fact, I had been thinking that perhaps love and marriage weren't in the cards for me. But then I went into that clothing store, Myklebusts, asked her out, and the instant alchemy of lovesickness began.

Teresa and have always teased each other and laughed with each other, and we have only had two minor arguments in more than three decades. With each other, we're loving, loyal, light-hearted, communicate well, pamper each other, catch each other doing things right, and go to war for each other if necessary. Just last night we opened up one of the time capsules we keep (we have them every year, starting in 1985, when our daughter Mikkel was born) and looked at cards, notes, letters and photos that Teresa and I had shared, and looked at daughter Mikkel's life in the first grade (we have her drawings, report cards, script from the school play, her bio, the bill of sale for her Wirehaired Fox Terrier, Scooter, and a photo of them together on day one), and it was comforting to know that we've been using the same love language for all these years.

Mikkel ended her first marriage last year, and she is now entering into a new relationship. A friend from church gave her the book The Five Love Languages, and Mikkel really likes it. We went around the table the other day and asked each other which of the five love languages we thought we were good at giving, and which ones we received that made us feel the most loved.

For Teresa, it was giving and getting affirmations and gifts. For Mikkel, is was giving service and affirmation and getting affirmation and quality time. For me, it was being of service and physical touch and getting acts of service. Now that we know what each other loves to receive, we're going to pull out the stops to deliver it. I'm going to spend more quality time with Mikkel, and she's going to be much better about her acts of service to me. I love to pamper Teresa, affirm her, give her thoughtful gifts, be of service and provide physical touch, but need to really commit to giving her quality time (which you can shorten to a single word: "listen").

"The 5 Love Languages"

  1. Words of Affirmation
  2. Quality Time
  3. Receiving Gifts
  4. Acts of Service
  5. Physical Touch

Which of the 5 love languages are you the best at giving, and which do you treasure the most getting?

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