Discover more from For Better Or Worse: Tales From A Married Man
the forgotten love language.
a hidden love language that people rarely talk about.
Sixteen years in a relationship opened my eyes to a hidden love language that people rarely talk about.
It's late 2010, barely a year into our relationship. My wife just failed the most important exam of her life. Tears. Pain.Devastation. A range of emotions I can could barely comprehend at the time. We take long walks, followed by even longer phone calls, but nothing works. She retreats deeper into her shell. It hurts to see a partner suffer, especially when there is nothing you can do about it. I knew I couldn't do anything for my wife. At moments of despair, she usually turned to her faith, but she felt abandoned and didn’t want to pray or go to church. I’m not Christian, and at this time in our relationship, I’d never been to my wife’s church. In fact, I hadn’t been inside any church for awhile, but I knew the importance of her faith, especially at such a crucial moment. Against my preference, I told her that we were going the church that Sunday. Irrespective of the long trek from my house in North London to Old Kent Road, I promised that we would go the service that week. No miracles happened during the service we attended, but gradually after a few weeks, my wife emerged for the cocoon that threatened to swallow her confidence, and thrived. Eventually, she shrugged off the failure and got her first graduate job, but something else happened aswell. It marked our first (of many) victory as a couple. We were no longer individuals, cheering each other on from the sidelines, we became a team. That’s where I stumbled across the hidden love language. The ‘trials of companionship’.
What brings a couple together in spite of happiness? Marriage doesn’t always work on happiness. Sometimes we look at older couples and wonder what the hell these strangers have in common. It’s because we only see where they are right now, not where they came from. The ‘trials of companionship’ is a language spoken in all meaningful relationships. Obstacles either pull you apart or pull you together. It’s hard to survive the storm without a navigator; you don’t take off down the runway without a crew. A couple with a purpose bonds together.
We all know the basic five love languages. Tumblr has them memorized like Taylor Swift tour dates, and you can find them all over social media: Words of affirmation, Quality time, Receiving gifts, Acts of service, and Physical touch. These practices are essential for individual happiness in a marriage, but does individual happiness mean mutual happiness? People still leave relationships because ‘I have my own money, I can buy stuff and affirm myself, and I’m only a few swipes away from someone willing to touch me. Relationships crumble because of myself, my own, and me. Me, me, me. The current trend is to put ‘me’ before ‘we.’ Yet, most couples remain together because of an unspoken love language that supersedes the other five.
Couples tell me ‘so and so doen’t make me happy’ or ‘they don’t think about ‘me.’ I can tell you this for free, whether it’s Mother, Father, Sibling, Best Friend, Long Lost Friend, Partner, Lover, or even a surprise Beyoncé album release; it’s dangerous to make another person responsible for your happiness.
Every couple should pursue a purpose. It’s too common for goals to be misaligned or to resort a ‘let’s see how it goes’ relationship. A marriage with a mission fights to remain on course irrespective of challenges. Adversity will come; that’s life. People lose things, but when you lose sight of purpose, your relationship suffers. Overcoming obstacles breeds love. It’s not about the outcome; it’s about how you handle the process. People come together in adversity. I stood by my wife’s side through her first major failure. It was a personal failure, but we felt it together. She cried, and I held her, and eventually, when victory came, we experienced it together. Sometimes people forget what they have gone through, and it’s the absence of tribulation, not the presence of it, that breaks a relationship.