The Language of Romance by Hannah Alexander

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This is a true incident, so some points were changed to protect identities.

I was talking with a friend lately about the language of love. He’s seeing someone who is kind, witty, and always telling him how much she enjoys his company, how attractive he is, how much fun he is. My friend–we’ll call him Walter–very much enjoys Muriel’s (I’m calling her Muriel 😉  ) company. She’s generous with her time, cooks fabulous meals for him and wants him to meet her family.

He’s holding back. I asked why. You know we often talk about battered women in broken relationships, but men can be verbally abused–even physically abused–by their wives. It’s happened. Walter, a widower, is afraid to test the waters again. Who could blame him? But he doesn’t want to live the rest of his life alone, so he started dating again, but he’s hesitant to get too close because Muriel might turn out to be like his late wife. He doesn’t believe in divorce.

Walter is uncomfortable when Muriel says sweet things to him–“You’re a wonderful man…I love your eyes…you’re so much fun…I love you…” Yeah, scary to get that close, and because the tendency for verbally abusive people is to say sweet things to their victim, then undercut them with a slice of venom–“Of course, you’re a pathetic loser”–Walter keeps waiting for the follow-up he got for nearly thirty years.

“But you don’t get the follow-up, do you?” I asked.

“No. It’s never come, I just expect it to,” he said.

“And you like Muriel, right?”

“Oh, yes. She’s a wonderful woman, and I enjoy her company so much, but it makes me uncomfortable because she’s always saying such sweet things to me, and she’s getting too serious.”

“If she truly loves you,” I said, “she’ll wait until you’re ready. Don’t let her push you. On the other hand, it sounds to me as if words of affirmation, from the Five Love Languages, are her way of showing her affection. If that’s the case, then you can encourage her friendship by speaking words of affirmation to her, even while you’re asking her to move more slowly.”

“But wouldn’t that just lead her on?” he asked.

“Not if you’re honest with her about how you feel. You can tell her the truth about how you feel about her–which is friendship and affection. From the time Mel and I met until he told me he loved me, it was almost a year and a half. I had to wait to hear those words. If I can wait, so can Muriel, but we eventually did get married, and now I hear those words every day.”

“Okay, gotcha. Say nice things to her.”

“Not just nice things,” I said. “Tell her how you feel about her beauty, her cooking, anything complimentary that is true, but also tell her the truth, that you need to move more slowly.”

I’m a firm believer in trying to speak the language of love as often as possible to my husband. I also believe that words of affirmation are helpful for any relationship–as long as they’re honest, and not being used to manipulate. If I like a friend’s novel, I’ll tell her. If I like a hairstyle, blouse, someone’s laughter or smile, if the situation calls for it, I’ll speak up about it. Everyone can use more words of affirmation. I think in a relationship, even if the other person’s love language is something else. words of affirmation can give anyone a lift and a new view of themselves, fresh encouragement, and joy.

Try it on someone today. Tell them how much you appreciate them, how you love their honesty, their kindness, or whatever else you admire about them. Done appropriately, it can make their day better.

 

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About alexanderhodde

I love to write, I love to read (in that order) and I love to hike. My husband loves to fly remote control model airplanes, when he can get them into the air.
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62 Responses to The Language of Romance by Hannah Alexander

  1. Amber Writes says:

    It’s so easy to forget to use words of affirmation. A simple statement or kind word can make someone’s day. Thanks for reminding me!

    Like

  2. Tammy G. says:

    I love reading your book!

    Like

  3. Sharon Timmer says:

    Thanks for you post about The Language of Romance 🙂

    Like

  4. Thanks so much for your comments, ladies.

    Like

  5. Kacey Belknap says:

    I just found your blog and love it.

    Like

  6. Lonnie B. says:

    I just took the Love Language test and words of affirmation is one of my primary languages. You’re right though that even if affirmation is not a person’s love language, everyone should be encouraged, complimented and uplifted.

    Like

  7. Lydia G says:

    Very intriguing and interesting! I completely agree, and this reminds me that I need to look on both sides of each and every situation, instead of just my own! 🙂

    Like

  8. What a sweet story. Good advice, too.

    Like

  9. Well-written with good reminders. Thanks.

    Like

  10. Nancy M says:

    Good advice. Great friend too.

    Like

  11. Ashley Kauffman says:

    Words of affirmation are so important but so often I feel we get caught up in ourselves and forget about others! This is a great reminder to think about how we can say something nice about others! Thanks!

    Like

  12. Donna says:

    We sometimes get too busy to say positive things to our loved ones and that is a shame. Thanks for the reminder.

    Like

  13. gkbakies says:

    I try to use the language of love and to be positive, but it isn’t easy when the other person then accuses you of trying to “manipulate them with “niceness”.” It’s hard not to want to reply in kind, so I hear where your friend is coming from.

    Like

  14. ecpd188 says:

    I am always excited to learn of other Christian writers. I don’t think I have read any of your books before. I am looking forward to checking our some of yours. I have enjoyed reading yourwesite and blogs.

    Like

  15. definitely a scary proposition – to allow another person in too close especially after that length of a life pattern.. good encouragement Hannah

    Like

  16. Donna W says:

    I was that person, but met and married on of the best in the world…

    Like

  17. Shannon R says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I agree that words of affirmation are very important in a relationship. Communicating our thoughts and encouraging one another is what keeps relationships thriving. However, I believe that it’s equally important to also find and speak the other person’s specific love language to him/her. My husband and I have found this to be extremely helpful in our marriage.

    Like

  18. Sarah Woll says:

    Great blog post and I enjoy reading ur books!

    Like

  19. Thanks so much for the comments, ladies! If you’ve never been in an abusive relationship, thank God for that. If you have, I understand. As for the love languages, I think it’s very helpful to build an already wonderful relationship.

    Like

  20. Hi Hannah and thank you for sharing this with me 🙂 Love Walter and Muriel !!! I used to take care of a woman named Muriel and this reminded me of her..

    Like

  21. Melinda F. says:

    I love your books!

    Like

  22. Ashley says:

    Thank you for this reminder! Words are very powerful and too often people forget their power.

    Like

  23. bobbikinion says:

    Very well written and thank you so much for the reminder.

    Like

  24. Sara McCarley says:

    This is a very encouraging reminder! Thank you! I found your blog from the contest page and everything ive read is wonderful! Thank you! 🙂

    Like

  25. Clarris says:

    thank you! found from the contest page!

    Like

  26. Lisa Taylor says:

    Thank you for the reminder of just how powerful our words are!
    Lisa Taylor

    Like

  27. Sarah E says:

    Great post. Love the advice you gave “Walter”, very good.

    Like

  28. David Smith says:

    Good tip for a relationship. I tell my fiance that I appreciate and love her and I’m happy with everything she does as much as possible. She has brought so much love, happiness, enjoyment and friendship to myself and also to my 13 year-old son. He even goes to her with issues in his life more than he does to me sometimes so I know he loves her and trusts her.

    Like

  29. Chris Unwin says:

    It is always wonderful to be loved and appreciated. It is even better when you are told how much that love and appreciation actually means to someone. I’m going to work harder at telling those around me both by my words and by my actions how much they mean to me.

    Like

  30. cabbarnett says:

    Great post. Thanks for the reminder.

    Like

  31. Bonnie Traher says:

    Sounds like awesome prizes.

    Like

  32. Connie Hendryx says:

    Wow…thankful that I haven’t had to go through something like this (I am happily married), but you gave him some very wise words…thanks for sharing

    Like

  33. Becky says:

    Great post & a good reminder to give our spouse words of affirmation simply because we love them. It is easy to only give them after your spouse has done something for you!

    Like

  34. I too was in a 30yr marriage of verbal an physical abuse,,so when you find someone who really loves you,,an shows affection,,its hard to know how to handle something you’ve never had,,I wasnt used to the soft touches an hugs just for no reason,,an hearing someone tell you they love you many times a day,was at first very confusing,,I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop,,an it never did,,we have been married for over 10 yrs now an it was so totally worth the wait,an yes I do deserve to be really loved by someone who isnt going to curse me,belittle me,an never show affection,,,or hit me,,,ive never ever been afraid of this man being abusive,,it took me a long time to be happy an stay happy but im so glad I took the chance

    Like

  35. Tiphanie says:

    Like

  36. Maaike says:

    Thanks for your post! Very intersting!

    Like

  37. Robin in NC says:

    So many times we let that opportunity slip pass…it only takes a moment & you never know how powerfully it might affect their day! Thanks for the reminder!

    Like

  38. ruthhill74 says:

    Words of affirmation are something that I consciously try to do since I sometimes forget to do that. We seem to be a society that is quick to tear down but not build up.

    Like

  39. Bethany in MI says:

    There are several good sayings that might fit the occasion. Honesty is the best policy. The truth shall set you free. In romance as much as anything — more than many things, in fact. True love does not lie, because the Father of True Love never lies.

    Like

  40. Very interesting. When you think of abuse, any kind, the first thought Is the victim is female. That is not always true though. True Love is something everyone wants and strives for, unfortunately in the quest for true love people tend to rush a relationship. Thank you for sharing.

    Like

  41. I agree completely about sharing a compliment when I see something I agree with or like. It’s gotten me in trouble alot though, especially in Nicaragua (we’re missionaries). Everytime I would say..what pretty lipstick, you smell nice, etc. they want to give it to me. The translator said, you have to take it, it would be rude not too. And in the U.S., I said something about a woman’s necklace and off her neck it went and she wouldn’t take no for an answer. I told her I liked her car also and she said…nice try!

    Like

  42. The Love Language books are so helpful & true.

    Like

  43. Cherie Kasper says:

    What a great contest with lots of great authors

    Like

  44. Cheri Schueller says:

    Thank you for this post about the language of romance! =)

    Like

  45. Laura W. says:

    I agree….loving someone in their love language does so much for both of you.

    Like

  46. Bill Elliott says:

    Thank you for the post and for having a great blog

    Like

  47. Hello Hannah! You have an interesting blog.

    Like

  48. Cheryl Grubbs says:

    love your books

    Like

  49. Rebecca Dewey says:

    I remember when I first started attending my church and I was so new to the things of God, how kind everyone was to me. They would compliment me on my clothes or share an act of kindness somehow. It made a huge impression on me. At the time my life was full of lonely places and unhappiness. God used his people to reflect his love and draw me to him.

    Like

  50. Rhonda Castle says:

    Great post! 🙂

    Like

  51. Mippy/Sabrina says:

    I wish more men had women in their lives to share this bit of helpful information. I am single and have flat out asked a friend if he likes me as a sister and he said no. We have been internet and phone buddies for about 6 or more years now. We’ve never met(he’s in CA; I am in UT. We make each other laugh and can just be silent and keep company with each other. Idk what he wants. He flew across the country to meet a different woman, was ready to fly to meet another; so I wonder what’s wrong with me; if I’m not ‘just a friend’ or seen as a sister…what am I? I am one that likes to know where I stand and I don’t know that. :/ Love this post! And good luck to them both. I hope they enjoy a happy friendship for the rest of their lives and love it comes to that point. 🙂

    Like

  52. Shannon says:

    How true! I wish more people would take the time to learn about love languages – more marriages would be saved if we could speak the right language!

    Like

  53. Joanna says:

    I give my son and daughter words of affirmation every day!! Especially my son, he has Asperger’s and has a rough time at school sometimes. It does make a wonderful difference though!!! 🙂

    Like

  54. I now give words of love, compassion, encouragement, etc. It took me 14 yrs to do this, and I’m so happy that I can. I was in a terrible marriage for 19 yrs, he verbally abusive. After we were first married he did say some kind words to me. Then after the two sons were born things started to change. He would say “if you divorce me you’re fat, ugly, two kids, nobody would want you”. He would say other things which I don’t feel comfortable to say. He said ugly things to me up to the time we divorce. Then I met someone else through a friend 6 months after the divorce. He would say some really nice things to me until one day. It was like 2 yrs into the relationship he got verbally and physical abusive. It took me another 1 1/2 to 2 yrs to get away from him safely. Then I was alone for years because I was afraid this was going to happen again. Then I met this man 14 yrs after my divorce. We’ve been together for 10 yrs now, not legally married, but married to each with our hearts. I took chance on him, after I did some homework on him first. Just knowing him for 5 months I got real sick was suppose to die. I was in a nursing home and after 4 months he took me out of there to live with him. He took care of me I was bedridden for 2 yrs, he took me to doctors and therapy for years. What almost killed me was I had E-Coli and laying there in bed in the nursing home no one touched me. No doctors or therapy. Now I have neuropathy, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, arthritis and real bad back. He has helped me in every way you can imagine. I love this man with my whole heart and he feels the same way about me.
    So Walter has to take a chance because not everyone is like your wife. Take it slow but don’t close your heart because you might miss something wonderful.
    Donna Harris

    Like

  55. Donna B says:

    This is a great reminder to not only think compliments but to say them. A lot of times I keep my thoughts to myself instead of telling others. I think it is better to take your time and get to know someone instead of regretting your decision later.

    Like

  56. Stacy says:

    This is so true! The smallest compliments can mean the world especially when the person you are complimenting gives their all in everything they do for you. Although they may know they are appreciated and loved nothing beats actually hearing those simple little words of “Thank you” or “I love you”. Speaking from the heart….pure and simple…can work wonders even in healing wounds.

    Like

  57. Jackie Beardsley says:

    Great reminder, not only about words of affirmation and how powerful they are but also to always be honest in your relationships, whether it is a new relationship or a marriage of many years. Thanks again! 🙂

    Like

  58. Stacey says:

    Communication is the key! When my husband and I were dating, every so often I would say, “Ok, so, where are we right now? What are you thinking about this relationship?” It took a lot of the guesswork and expectations out of the situation and I was just able to sit back and enjoy the moment. We aren’t perfect communicators by any means…we still have a hard time because I share very easily and openly, while it’s harder for my husband. I hope your friend Walter has a good experience! I think he just needs to let Muriel know what he’s thinking…if she’s the right gal she’ll understand! : ) ~Stacey Daniel

    Like

  59. Sweet post! Thanks for sharing!

    Like

  60. Jessica Powell says:

    Love this! Our words are so powerful whether we use them to speak love or to tear down. I’ve especially learned that in my marriage – what power I have to help or hurt my husband with what I say!

    Like

  61. MsElle3 says:

    It’s really interesting to hear the hesitation from a man’s perspective. I admire the way he wants to be sure before he moves forward. He knows himself well enough to recognize the why of his hesitation. For that reason, I will put ‘Walter’ and ‘Muriel’ in my prayers. Thanks for sharing their story.

    Like

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