Women are God's greatest mystery. We are more difficult to navigate than the Bermuda Triangle. More complex than a DNA molecule. More ambiguous than a platypus. Yet, believe it or not....we are apart of His crowning glory. I have been a female for 28 years and frequently am stumped not only by my fellow females and why they do what they do, but am stumped by my own strange girly behaviors. I'm not kidding. Men, you couldn't be more right when you say that women are confusing. It is so true, I cannot tell a lie.
So I am going to step out on a limb here and try to make some "general" statements about women and what we want/need. By no means do I think that these apply to ALL women (no that would be unheard of), nor do they apply at ALL times - again ridiculous. If you're asking yourself why not? Reread paragraph 1. Since we all come from different upbringings, and we all have our own issues and fears, garbage and strengths....this little list won't fit every woman. I am compiling this based on myself and the women I am closest to, who share their hearts frequently.
1) Speak her language
One of the most basic ways to start understanding a woman is to learn her language. I don't necessarily mean improving your grammar skills, but to a degree I think that analogy could work - I'll come back to this. You've probably heard of the 5 Love Languages, a book by Dr. Gary Chapman. To be honest, I've never actually read the book, but I do know what the 5 Love Languages are. I know what MY love languages are and now.....after many years of marriage, I know my husband's......and I have learned that our languages are NOT the same. As soon as I made this discovery, I realized that this is a BIG problem. Why? Because it meant that I couldn't express love to my husband in the same way that I wanted love expressed to me....the way that came naturally to me.
My languages are:
2. Words of Affirmation
3. Quality Time
These are the ways I receive love and give love. These come naturally to me. I get a high expressing love to friends and family when I execute these well and the receiver is blessed. Let's say that I speak French.
My husband's languages are:
1. Physical Touch
2. Quality Time
3. Acts of Service
Mark speaks German. Here's where we so often miss each other.
Example: Mark will pet and cuddle and caress me while I'm frantic making him the "perfect dinner" (a gift), and I will get so frustrated that he won't just leave me alone so I can finish his gift and show him how much I love him. Meanwhile, he's super miffed that I'm not returning his kisses and I'm not embracing him with the enthusiasm he was hoping for, and suddenly in the midst of trying to exchange love - the way we individually know how to exchange it - we get in a stupid fight. What in the world? Innocently, we both really were trying to show love to our spouse. But we missed it; we missed each other. I was blabbing away in French and Mark was going on in German and we didn't meet in the middle because at the time we were completely ignorant of how to talk to each other.
SOLUTION!!! Learn another language.
I have been married over 6 years now and have survived several minor heart attacks trying to communicate my love languages to my husband. It sounds simple....but trust me this is such a difficult thing to learn and execute well. But when it sets in, when it becomes second nature, the glorious melody that starts beaming from your marriage makes it SO worth all the trouble.
Example: I love flowers. Seriously, a bouquet of flowers in a room will literally cause joy and happiness to well up inside my heart. I think it's because I appreciate color so much. I dunno. Anyways I can remember (not too long ago) physically begging my husband to buy me flowers (gifts). He'd forget and forget and not care and then forget again. He'd also ask me what the point was "You spend too much money on them because they're shipped all the way from effing California, then in 3 days they're dead!". This went on for years; heartache. I felt ignored, neglected. Every time we'd have dinner at a friend's house I'd overly admire their bouquets of fresh cut flowers and then cry a little bit in the bathroom after my friend would romanticize about how her husband brought them home from work for her. -gag- I didn't think I was asking for much, really. I wasn't begging for diamonds or expensive clothes or grandiose dinner engagements....I just wanted some flowers dammit! Well, for whatever reason, when I got pregnant a light switch turned on for my husband and my love languages became clear as day. It is still a complete mystery to me what happened and how....but I am surely not complaining because from then on my house has more flowers than I know what to do with. It took a long time, but he got it. I have been learned. I know I am loved.
For my single friends - here's a little section on how to talk to a woman. It's no different for you. You still must learn her love languages. It's so much easier to win a girl's heart if you know what her heart is longing for; what language she speaks. She may not even know - this is where you can become an investigator. Private Eye.... heh heh heh. Take time to talk at length with her and discover what lights her up. What brings out her personality the most.
*Try something new to you. If quality time is her thing, and (true story) she loves coffee shops and long talks by moonlight, but you're not a coffee drinker - try it anyways! You never know, it may become something you love as well. Or this for the ladies - if your man loves hiking or fishing and you're not out-doorsy, give it a shot anyways! Put on a good attitude and choose to have a good time even if it's not your thing. Again, you never know what memory you might make because you ventured into something you'd never do with your friends. I see too many couples who don't spend time together because they're not willing to try what their partner loves. My husband loves skateboarding, when we were dating he bought me a board and I learned how to skate (not well). My Dad loves biking. Out of anyone in the world to bike with him, he'd choose my Mom. What did he do? He bought her a bike and she bikes with him. It doesn't have to become your "thing". Just be willing to try something new. I love to dance. Mark didn't grow up dancing so he didn't feel confident to dance with me. What did he do? He bought us ballroom lessons for Valentine's Day one year. It was fabulous and he was adorable. Now he dances with me at Weddings - which was really all I ever wanted.
I will conclude this first chapter by saying that patience is truly a virtue. You HAVE to have grace, people. I really never thought we'd learn each other's languages.....but we have and we still are learning everyday. We all have a deep desire to be known. In being known we feel loved. Since we're only human we must have grace on our partners or spouses that we will surely love each other imperfectly. Only the Lord knows us inside and out, and only the Lord can speak our languages flawlessly. Don't assume because your spouse got it right once or even twice, that he's fluent. Keep practicing. Have grace.
Stay tuned for more of my thoughts on women, marriage, love and life.