I imagine based on this image you see you can get a glimpse into how, shall we say, different Luis and I are. You will be able to imagine, then, that after Luis proposed and the list of to-dos that arise got longer and more complex with deadlines, contracts, and deposits popping up around us, our strategies for planning a wedding turned out to also be quite different.
With a tone fuelled by anxiety I expressed an urgent need for wedding bands, a photographer, a DJ, and accommodation, because all of these are the ingredients for a cracking party and because they have the word ‘wedding’ inscribed into them they get booked up surprisingly fast and go up drastically in price, and I noticed how horizontally nonchalant about it all the groom was being.
At this point, rather than questioning his calmness, I remembered the words of Dr Gary Chapman, Anthropologist and author of The 5 Love Languages, that I had read a couple of years ago. I realised we were not speaking the same language and I didn’t want to become the stereotype of a wedding where the woman’s the cliche bride and the man the cliche groom (I’ll let you assume those cliches…). So I took a step back and did some thinking into our love languages, which is when I had the epiphany into what I am calling the 6th Love Language of Excel Spreadsheets.
Let me explain to you from the top how I got to this epiphany, as I see the fame before my eyes and envisage Gary getting in touch with me to offer a partnership in his love language business because this 6th love language will be life changing for all pre-nuptial couples.
There are 5 love languages that you’ll see below. You will fit into 1 of these more than the other 4 even though we all have a tendency to enjoy a little bit of them all. The theory is that once you understand your love language, you can better understand your partners, as he or she can yours, and with a bit of hard grafting you’ll begin to feel your love tank filling up until it’s almost overflowing. There is a detailed description of these at the end.
For example, my language is Quality Time. Turn the TV off, stare lovingly into my eyes, and tell me all of your secrets, and keep your distractions to yourself. Phones are best off the table and out of the bedroom so that you don’t burst my love bubble when we’re talking, as I will think you love your virtual life more than your reality.
Luis’ language is Physical Touch. He likes a firm hand on the bicep and a squeeze on the shoulders and a ruffle of his abs. I exaggerate, of course, and I should really let him give you his account of his love language, but I don’t want to give him too much air time on my blog as his writing does seem to be a bit excellent. He simply likes affection. I have myself a man who I believe to be the most handsome man in the world after Idris Elba and I can conjure up about as much affection as an ice cube. In fact, he often (endearingly I hasten to add) calls me his little ice cube!
To this day, 8 years on, Luis is still very persistent and tries admirably hard to make me more affectionate by forcing cuddles, hugs, and kisses onto me and sneaks delightful little hand brushes in there to capture me in public.
I don’t actually know how he has felt loved for the last 8 years with his love language being Physical Touch, but after reading The 5 Love Languages and having the light shone on my failures as a girlfriend I have tried to improve my affectionate ways.
I now touch his face on sporadic occasions, sometimes even when we’re lying in bed, I brush his bum cheek when he’s washing the dishes, and I affectionately punch him in the arm, or whatever body part is within fists reach, when he affectionately grabs my boob. I even let him eat out of my hand like a horse when we’re sitting across from each other at the table because I personally find it hilarious, but I know that this is his tactile way of getting me to affectionately “feel his beard”.
Using Gary’s theories of love being a language, then, I questioned Luis’ true love language and had my epiphany and realised that Luis’ is quite clearly Excel Spreadsheets. Luis speaks this language more fluent than English. The clear order of events mapped out like a logical London tube map with destinations, deadlines, and schedules all running to programme is as clear as it gets.
Realising this, and sensing his lack of concern for the small number of weekends we have left, I created a ‘Wedding Project Timeline’ spreadsheet so that if we need to go shopping for wedding bands I can communicate it in his language.
Simply saying, “Luis, would you like to go wedding band shopping this weekend?” does not work, because he says “haha, absolutely not” creating something I can only describe as crazy eyes because of the implication that I’m the one who wants to go and spend lots of money on a shiny ring when in fact it’s a necessity of the English matrimonial tradition. Putting the deadline in a spreadsheet, however, works an absolute treat. The bands are currently running to programme.
As we near the moment he has to buy his suit, what do I do? I include it in the spreadsheet! So we can see that suit buying moment was about 3 weeks ago and we’re running behind schedule. This creates the kind of calm urgency I strive for in someone as horizontally chilled as he.
We’ve managed to delegate where our strengths lie in this spreadsheet to save confusion, frustration, and arguments. My strengths are 110% not contracts, money, budgets, or decisions, and his strengths are not writing vows, designing invitations, imagining a game of rounders at the Friday BBQ, hand holding guests through their travel plans, or sensing the urgency.
We delegated. We planned. We smashed it out. Thanks Gary. It’s been a wonderful learning curve for us all. I would love to know if you, lovely reader, have a love language that we can put forward to Gary Chapman to include in his book…