(from the forthcoming book “Dove Notes “)
I was talking to a friend the other day and he asked me, “So how’s married life?” I told him that this is the absolute happiest I’ve ever been in my entire life. And for those who know my history, that’s saying a lot. Because I honestly thought that I would never love or be loved like this… EVER. I was deeply wounded by my last marriage, but even so there was always a part of me that believed in a deep love and still yearned for it.
So, in the beginning of my relationship with Dre, we discussed the importance of demonstrating love and feeling loved. You know… that feeling that tells you beyond a shadow of a doubt that someone truly loves you? It not only provides indisputable proof of your commitment to a person, but it can fan the flames of passion. And who doesn’t appreciate passion, right? Anyway, we’d heard about the Five Love Languages and decided to find out which one best described our individual needs.
What was most interesting was learning that there were very different ways that made us feel loved. For Dre, nothing says “I love you” more than spending time with her. Sure… I can call her at work and say I love you every day for a month… I can even have elaborate bouquets of flowers delivered to the house every Thursday at 3 o’clock… but for her these things will never replace me actually being with her.
By spending time with her, it communicates to her that she is important to me, and says there’s nothing more important to me right now than her. And we both benefit because it means she wants me around… she enjoys my company. My friend put it best when he said, “She has chosen to love you… not like family who loves you because you’re related, but because she sees something in you that’s valuable.” Amen.
For me, its very different. What lets me know that she loves me is her confidence in me… her support and encouragement. She can give me compliments all day, and even spend time with me, but it doesn’t replace knowing and hearing that she believes in me. If I’ve completed something that I’ve worked hard on and she says, “You did a great job honey,” that’s nice and all, but what would really put me on cloud nine is if while I’m working or planning, for her to say that I’m doing a great job, that she trusts my judgment, that she believes I’m doing the right thing and I’m on the right track. Build my confidence and I’ll feel loved.
With this revelation, we had to rethink what defines things for our relationship like Romance, Intimacy and Consideration. The trick here was remembering that when demonstrating love we can find ourselves only giving what we hope to receive. But with true love, it’s more about communicating what you need and feeling loved when that person sincerely gives it to you.
This year we’ll be celebrating our 8 year wedding anniversary… and I still look at her with wide-eyed disbelief of how incredibly blessed I am to have found her… not someone like her… but HER in particular.