Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Speaking the Same Language

It's Valentine's Day again, and for the fourteenth year in a row Darwin and I are doing absolutely nothing to mark the day. It's not a judgment against the day or against people celebrating love, but a personal preference. Valentine's Day as celebrated simply doesn't resonate with either of us, and when I say, "Don't get me anything", I really mean it. For the past three gift giving occasions (my birthday, Christmas, and Darwin's birthday) we decided not give each other presents. It was wonderful. No last-minute shopping, no extra expense, no fuss, and neither of us showed the other up by buying a gift anyway.

It's not that I don't like presents. Everyone likes getting a gift. It's simply that not receiving a gift doesn't indicate a lack of love to me, nor is it proof positive of love if I do get one. They're fun because they're superfluous.

This fell into place when I took the Five Love Languages assessment.

3Words of Affirmation
11Quality Time
0Receiving Gifts
6Acts of Service
10Physical Touch

Obviously, gifts are simply not in my Love Language paradigm. It makes sense that I should score higher in Quality Time than in any other category. I'd rather spend time talking to Darwin than doing anything else, which is wonderful for our relationship and bad for my housekeeping ethic. He's in danger of being late to work almost every morning because we're talking in the kitchen. We sit up way too late because we need to spend time together after the kids go down, and their bedtime gets pushed back because we talk while making dinner, and through dinner, and after dinner.

Happily, when Darwin took the quiz our scores matched up almost point for point.

The quiz isn't just for married couples; there are options for singles and children and parents of teens. I also found the Languages of Apology quiz very enlightening.

4Expressing Regret
16Accepting Responsibility
0Making Restitution
0Genuinely Repenting
0Requesting Forgiveness

Accepting Responsibility
You have chosen Accepting Responsibility as your primary Apology Language. What you are looking for in an apology is maturity. You most want to hear the offending party say, I was wrong and I take responsibility for my actions.

 That's pretty accurate. I find it uncomfortably intrusive when people ask if I'll forgive them or how they can make it up to me. That sounds like groveling. But I do appreciate it when someone 'fesses up to his or her faults and takes responsibility, and that's how I tend to apologize when I need to.

Readers, I'd be interested to hear your scores and if you think they're an accurate reflection of your own personalities and relationship styles.


Rebekka said...

I'm apparently big on quality time and acts of service with physical touch coming in third. Although I had a hard time figuring out if my relationship is "lucky" in terms of my answers, or if my answers describe my relationship.

The apology thing was all over the place. Apparently I think context is very important when delivering an apology!

Foxfier said...

No big surprises in my love language-- mostly touch, then time, then doing, words and gifts; the phrasing of a lot of the questions was a bit clumsy, or I nuked it by being too specific. I could've told someone that before the test....

I'm with you, Rebekka.
Got only a few questions in to the apology one and couldn't finish it-- I HATE apologies, and the specifics of what was done is too important in figuring out how to fix the situation. Superficially, that would be "restitution"-- but asking me "how do I fix this" would just make me even more angry or hurt.
Every situation that needs apologizing for (and it's a far smaller number than the ones where I'm pissy) that I can think of would basically be affirming that I do matter to the one who caused offense. Heck, even in the cases where I'm being petulant, I appreciate them affirming I matter to them, even if it's by politely ignoring my grumbles.
*considers forwarding this to her husband*

entropy said...

Love languages: Physical Touch and Quality Time. Pretty accurate.

Apologies: Evenly split between Accepting Responsibility and Expressing Regret.

I found that I liked the shortest possible apologies and in the plainest language. "Shouldn't have done that. I'm sorry."

With some of those answers, who really talks like that? Most of them made me squirm.

mrsdarwin said...

"With some of those answers, who really talks like that? Most of them made me squirm."

Heh. I guess they're supposed to represent one's fantasy best apology. I agree with you. I can't think of anything more cringe-worthy than someone asking me, "You don't have to answer now, but can you find it in your heart to forgive me?" It sounds phony to me.

Jennifer Fitz said...

Your Scores
10 Words of Affirmation
9 Quality Time
2 Receiving Gifts
6 Acts of Service
3 Physical Touch

I'd say that's pretty accurate. I'd be interested to learn my husband's score. His mom is totally a gift-lady, he is not, and the two of them (and I as well) end up in serious conflict over the divide. I like gifts, but only real gifts, not I-had-to-this-because gifts.

Jennifer Fitz said...

I couldn't do the apology quiz. Question #1 was about forgetting anniversaries. Which I do regularly, no apology necessary. I faked an answer for the quiz. By #2 I was exasperated with having to read through all the choices.

I think my apology language is: If you do something wrong, be sincere and take steps to make it right. If you didn't do something wrong, who is the wacko insisting you apologize and how can you avoid that person in the future?

Jenny said...

7 Words of Affirmation
11 Quality Time
0 Receiving Gifts
8 Acts of Service
4 Physical Touch

Quality Time is not a surprise because I love to talk.

I would think that Acts of Service would be higher because I love it when my husband does something for me especially when he doesn't really want to do it. For example making my lunch in the morning before work. He really doesn't like to do it, but I cannot seem to get my act together well enough to do it myself, so he makes it almost every morning. Now that's love! :)

That receiving gifts is zero is not shocking either. This may not be romantic, but I often view occasions where I am supposed to get a gift as occasions where money is spent and I would be happier with the money in the bank. Not romantic at all.

entropy said...

I can't think of anything more cringe-worthy than someone asking me, "You don't have to answer now, but can you find it in your heart to forgive me?"

Agreed. If someone said that to me I'd have to also "find it in my heart" to forgive them for talking to me like that.

mrsdarwin said...

I should note that I don't think that someone who loves getting or giving gifts is a crass materialist or selfish. My sister sends cards for every birthday and Christmas and holiday, and also writes thank-you notes. Just today we received surprise valentines from friends who live nearby, and I was touched -- and shamed, because I hadn't even thought of giving anyone valentines. Stuff doesn't matter that much to me, but on the other hand it's part and parcel of my overall inertia that I don't give gifts that much.

Jenny said...

I guess I should say that I wished I liked getting gifts more than I do. I like gifts from outside sources way more than gifts that have been paid for out of the household accounts. It is hard for me to dissociate the gift from the lower account balance. Oddly I don't really have that same problem with gifts that I give my husband.

The Sojourner said...

I took the apology one first. I think it's funny that the first question (for me) was what I would want my husband to say if he forgot our anniversary. We've been together for four years and he has only the vaguest concept of when my birthday is; I don't expect him to remember our anniversary. (He really doesn't have a head for dates; I'm pretty sure he'd forget his own birthday if he didn't live in a society where you have to give it out all the time.)

I got a 9 on Making Restitution, 5 on Accepting Responsibility, and low scores on everything else. That doesn't surprise me. For instance, if I *did* get mad at my husband for forgetting our anniversary, just "sorry" wouldn't cut it, but "I'll remember next year" wouldn't either, because then in a certain sense I have to wait 12 months for a resolution to the damage in the relationship, whereas if he asked, "What can I do to make it up to you?" that would allow the relationship to be repaired immediately and would allow me to feel that I had been heard.

(This could have something to do with my primary love language being Quality Time; I don't feel loved unless I've had a chance to say my piece, and most apologies expect you to say nothing but "Yes, I forgive you.")

Oh, and on the Love Languages (for wives) I got 10 on Quality Time and Physical Touch, 6 on Acts of Service, and 2 each on Words and Gifts. Touch and Time have been trading the lead back and forth for years, but Acts of Service used to be last. I think it makes a difference that I have my own apartment now and realize just how much work goes into making everyday life run smoothly.

I am surprised I didn't have an artificially inflated score in Gifts; because I DO think my husband's gifts are the best and appreciate them when he gets them. But for example, if I have to run him to the eye doctor (because he doesn't drive) he'll bring me a piece of candy from the bowl at the receptionist's desk. That's hardly even a "gift", but it means a lot to me that he would think of me and try to compensate for me being inconvenienced. I hate traditional gift-giving occasions, though. (I had my bridal shower the day before my birthday party last year, and I wanted to crawl under a rock and die by the end of it.)

Enbrethiliel said...


My language of apology is Genuinely Repenting, with Accepting Responsibility ranking second.

I don't usually want people "to make it up to me" personally, but if their actions cause a big mess, I'd love it if they did something to help fix it. Come to think of it, that's a little like Accepting Responsibility. =)

As for Gift Giving as a Love Language . . .

I browsed through the book in the store the other day, and the story the author told in the Gift Giving chapter was of a time he was a guest in someone's home in the Caribbean (or elsewhere in a similar latitutde). The host asked, "Would you like a drink?" After the author accepted the offer, the host sent his younger brother down a dirt path, to climb a coconut tree at the end of it, hack down some fruit, chop it open, and squeeze the juice out by hand. It really drove home to the author how something as simple as a drink can be a real gift.

At the end of his visit, his host presented him with a bit of driftwood, so that he would remember the island forever. The author still has that seemingly ordinary piece of wood, and whenever he looks at it, all the warm feelings of that visit come rushing back to him.