Love language may be one of the most recently overused phrases in marriage advice books and classes, but there is a lot of truth behind it. The first year or two of our marriage, I would get so upset with Ben whenever he would intentionally or even unintentionally do something hurtful towards me and then NOT APOLOGIZE for it. I wanted a concrete, sincere, verbal “I’m sorry.” It was in complete frustration I told his mother about this. She smiled and said, “You just need to learn his love language.” At this point a lot of people would roll their eyes, still frustrated by this mysterious phrase.
However, I began to pay attention. I began to notice a pattern with Ben. If he had a bad day or was feeling particularly cranky or snappy, I began to change my behavior. In the past, I would yell at him that his bad day was not my fault and there was no reason to take it out on me. I know that whenever I am feeling particularly hormonal, I don’t feel the need to justify my behavior (selfish as this may sound, we’ve all done it). So I began to grant him the freedom to “have a bad day”. I calmly respond to his questions and generally just leave him alone, not demanding an apology for anything.
And then the next morning, I would have a nice breakfast waiting for me and/ or the house would be immaculately clean. This had always happened, but I would be so angry over not getting an apology that I failed to recognize that this WAS the apology. Over the years, this realization has diffused many would-be arguments. Healing and bonding took place. Understanding replaced anger, accepting human nature instead of demonizing it. It also awakened me to other non-verbal communications from my husband. Little acts such as a kiss on the neck while I was doing dishes meant “I love everything about you!” or remembering to buy the face wash that I ran out of meant ‘I was thinking about you while I was out.”
Intimacy is often unspoken and subtle. Love is in the details. Pay attention, you might be missing “I’m sorry” or “I love you” everyday.