Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden, has announced that she is expecting her first child next spring. News like this kills me. I don’t particularly want to live in Sweden, but it breaks my heart that I will never be royal. Her birthday is a national holiday. More than half a million subjects showed up to watch their carriage go by on their wedding day.
Has it really only been a year since Celine Dion gave birth to those “miracle” babies? It feels like they should be in college by now. But then, of course, one human year is equal to, like, twenty Celine years. Her husband is actually 195.
WHEN my wife, Linda, and I were married eight years ago, a devout friend in my hometown, Savannah, Ga., gave us a copy of “The Five Love Languages.” With its cover image of lovers walking hand-in-hand on a sunset beach, the book looked as if it came free with a fruitcake at a truck stop.
"The Five Love Languages" written by Dr. Gary Chapman.
I stuffed it unread on a bookshelf. A few years later, I opened it and was flabbergasted. It nailed a particular knot in our relationship with uncanny accuracy.
As someone who works alone all day, I look forward to sitting down at night and discussing many subjects. As someone who works in a busy office all day, Linda wants nothing more than to be alone. “But I’m interesting,” I plead. “Can’t you just talk to me?”
According to Dr. Chapman’s taxonomy, my love language is pure quality time. Linda, meanwhile, is 100 percent acts of service. When I’m in the doghouse, if I let her sleep late and take care of the children one morning, or run her clothes to the dry cleaner, I am (however briefly) the Greatest Husband on Earth.
In his seminar we attended, “The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted,” Dr. Chapman focused on how to turn knowledge of your spouse’s love language into a practical formula for “keeping your emotions alive in the marriage you’re now in.”
If your partner’s love language is words of affirmation, he advised, praise specific acts, like taking out the trash or having a good attitude. If a spouse prefers gifts, no need to buy anything. “Pick flowers from your yard, or your neighbor’s yard,” he said.
He told a story about how his wife, Karolyn, whose language is acts of service, lovingly insisted early in their marriage that he clean toilets and vacuum floors. “You don’t know me well,” he told the crowd, “but do you think that vacuuming floors comes natural to me? There’s only one reason I vacuum houses: L — O — V — E.”
He added, “If something doesn’t come naturally, it’s a great expression of pure, unadulterated love.”