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I Discovered My Husband's Love Language ...And It Changed Everything

He was finally telling me his love language! My husband was communicating his feelings. In his way. He was letting me know that he was...

Marriage

I remember it like it was yesterday. My husband called me “an un-supportive wife."


He said I didn't support him in his pursuit of his dream career.

We've had many arguments in our 10+ year relationship, but this comment insulted and hurt me more than anything he's ever said to me.

All I do is support him.

I couldn't believe he just uttered those words. I was shocked to silence when he first spat that out at me. I looked around in disbelief that he could actually feel that way.

I looked around at the janky old apartment in Jersey City (above my mother in law, mind you), that I agreed to move into for him from my beloved city of Manhattan so he'd be close to school for his needed prerequisites. I looked at the bin of freshly washed laundry done so he'd not have to worry about having bright white shirts ready for work, and I looked at my non-existent workspace since he has the entire office to himself…

Then my rage came.

I had an Ally McBeal moment of bashing my laptop right onto the top his head. I spat right back at him. Listing all the things I've done that show my support in his future career. From helping him with research, writing, to small things that make his life easier so he can do what he has to do. It was a laundry list, and by the time I'd finished, my face was soaked, I was standing over him, shaking and much louder than I started out.

His response:

“Yeah, but you never SAY supportive things."

I wanted to punch him in the nose.

Words? I thought. You want words?

Had I known that all I needed to do was shake a pom pom and say “Go John, go!" I'd be happily living in a cute uptown Manhattan apartment and not be so far from all of my friends, family, and support system.

If I'd known that words mattered more than actions, I'd have done a LOT less, been a lot more comfortable, and just tossed a few saccharine sentiments at him each day while maintaining the lifestyle I wanted. Sigh.

To me, words are worthless. Anybody can say whatever they want, but what I value are actions. Politicians say “no new taxes" and then raise them five minutes later. Cheaters say “you're the only one for me" and then go hook up with their side piece. People talk about getting healthy for years as they continue to lay on the couch eating junk food. Words have very little value in my eyes.

Actions matter. What you actually DO means a lot more than what you say to me. There's a big difference in the friend that visits you in the hospital after you've given birth saying “girl, I got your back" and the friend that pops up a week post-partum with two casseroles, forces you to lay down and starts tidying up your home while you rest.

I had a moment of resentment-tinged clarity after my “I'm oh so supportive" tirade. My mind went to Gary Chapman's book “The 5 Love Languages" that I read very early in our relationship, and re-read last summer. I gave my husband the book to read, and he didn't. So I sent him the quiz to help him discover his love language in lieu of reading. He never sent his results. ::sturdy side eye::

THE 5 LOVE LANGUAGES ARE:

Words of Affirmation
Acts of Service
Physical Touch
Quality Time
Gifts

After reading, I realized that acts of service, and quality time are my languages. (Don't get me wrong, I love a gift as much as the next girl!) But I feel most loved when you actually do something meaningful for me. I think this stems from what I saw my dad modeling toward my mom growing up with little things like filling up her gas tank and keeping her car clean.

I wanted to say (in the nastiest, attitude-filled, ratchet, neck swiveling way) “If you had actually read the Love Languages book…maybe you could have communicated this earlier…."

But instead I was silent (for once). He was finally telling me his love language!

My husband was communicating his feelings. In his way. He was letting me know that he was hurting and feeling unsupported and needed something different from me. It didn't matter how I felt about my level of support towards him. It didn't matter how I felt about what it was that he needed.

And it was my job to ensure he had what he needed. Period.

Words may not hold much weight with me, but it's irrelevant if it's what's required for my husband to feel like I've got his back. Just like him doing the dishwasher each night is just a random chore to him but makes me feel loved and like he values the time I have to spend in the mornings with our son.

Since this conversation I've changed the “language" I speak with my husband. I'd be the person to clean the bathroom because he hates doing it almost as much as I hate doing dishes, thinking that he understands it as an act of love. But it doesn't translate. He doesn't speak that language. Now, I've been trying my best to speak (literally) words of affirmation, words of love, words of appreciation, words of encouragement and words of support to my husband. He's my best friend and I want him to always feel like I support him in his endeavors no matter what language I have to speak it in.

Knowing his love language has made me a better wife.

I now encourage everyone in a relationship (or looking for a relationship) to read "The 5 Love Languages" or take the Love Languages quiz and figure out their own first. This allows us to be able to effectively ask for what we need in our relationships. If you are being supportive, pouring out words of affirmation and doing household chores as a way to show your love, but your partner's love language is physical touch, they are not going to feel happy and completely supported and loved if they aren't shown affection.

I also encourage everyone to have their significant other to read the book or take the quiz as well. It's important to be able to speak the language of love that your other half understands. It makes for a happier, more intimate, an deeper connection. Who doesn't want that?

Maintaining a strong and happy marriage requires so much effort and energy. There's a saying, “happy wife, happy life." But I believe it goes both ways. I want my husband happy, which in turn makes me happy, and we both get a happy life and family out of that.

It's a work in progress.

What's your love language?

If you have any personal stories that you'd like to share with the readers of xoNecole, please submit your essays to submissions@xonecole.com for a chance to have your voice heard and your story featured!

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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