Perhaps it's because I'm older and maybe a little bit jaded but I'm a bit ambivalent about Valentine's Day this year. That's not to say that I'm not in love with my fabulous man, but I'm just not that interested in participating in something that seems a bit....well.... let's say 'forced into prominence for commercial reasons'.
New Year's Eve can evoke the same emotions in me.
Captain V [the 'V' being short for Valentine] and I have been together for less than five years.
I shared our love story here this time last year.
As with most couples trying to blend one of the partners into their own family, we've been through a lot and the ride has had its share of rough waters.
However we navigate our way through and the tough times have come & gone [as they invariably do].
It's in the calm after each bout of turbulence that we're able to see that we've grown a little more - both as individuals and as a couple.
We are also very aware of how precious our relationship is and make an effort every day to kindle its glow.
One of the challenges in our relationship is that our love languages [the ways in which we prefer to give and receive love] are not only different but completely opposite to each others needs.
The good thing is that we're both aware of this fact and know that it will take extra effort on both of our parts to show our love to the other person.
If you're not familiar with Garry Chapman's five languages of love, here's a brief summary:
1. Words of Affirmation
Actions don't always speak louder than words.
If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words. "I love you" are important - hearing the reason behind that words sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten.
2. Quality Time
In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says "I love you" like full, undivided attention.
Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there - with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby - makes your significant other feel truly special and loved.
Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful.
3. Receiving Gifts
Don't mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness and effort behind the gift.
If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you.
A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous - so would the absence of everyday gestures.
4. Acts of Service
Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely!
Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an 'Acts of Service' person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: "Lt me do that for you."
Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don't matter.
5. Physical Touch
This language isn't all about the bedroom.
A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is not, surprisingly, very touchy.
Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face - they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, car, and love.
Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive.
I've really found that knowing Captain V's love languages has been a gift and I'd hope that if any of this resonates with you, that you'll pop on over to the Gary's website to read some more, take a quick quiz to find out your own love language, and most importantly learn how to weave acts of loving into your everyday experience so that the joy of loving each other is not just something to be celebrated on one day of the year.
Happy day my friend, may it be replete with connection.