Sage Advice: Wife Needs to Translate the "Love Languages"

By Amy Dickinson | June 20th, 2018

Can different love languages ruin a marriage? Amy Dickinson offers her sage advice.

Dear Amy: I have been happily married to my husband for two years. While he is loving, and a good provider, he is not overly romantic. I would love nothing more than for him to surprise me with some flowers one day because he was thinking of me, but he’s never given me flowers. Valentine’s Day comes and goes without a peep from him.

I have voiced my concerns to him, but he usually gets frustrated and says that he takes care of me, keeps the house in order and works 60 hours a week to provide for me (all of this is true) and that should be enough.

I don’t question whether or not he loves me (I know he does), and I know I should be more grateful for all the wonderful things he does. There is just always that part of me that wants some of the romance and spontaneity that I fantasize about.

Am I being petty? Shouldn’t I just put my silly desires for flowers aside and be grateful that he nearly breaks his back to feed and shelter me?

– Wanting Romance

Dear Wanting: It’s not petty to want some romance in your life, but I think you’re getting romanced every single day. You just don’t see it, because you’re defining romance one way and your husband is defining it differently.

If you could train yourself to change your perspective, even slightly, you would stop scanning the driveway for the flower delivery person, and instead see that the guy dragging himself home after work carrying a bag of groceries is telling you that he loves you in ways that are visceral and lasting.

Gary Chapman has written a helpful book on loving communication, “The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts” (2015, Northfield Publishing). Viewing love and romance through this lens will help you to identify your “love language” (receiving gifts). Your husband’s love language would be “acts of service.”

Maybe you should express your own love in the language you understand best by giving your husband flowers for his bedside table. Express your love and gratitude spontaneously, and learn to see his efforts as important, worthy and just as beautiful.

In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068

© 2018 by Amy Dickinson

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