“Guess what I have for you today?” Jim said.
“I don’t know! Is it a flower? A book? A chocolate? I don’t know!” Sandy said with a hint of frustration in her voice.
“It’s something you’ll love!” He said.
“Every time you get me something for a present,” Sandy said as she looked straight into his blue eyes with her own welling with tears. “But, you’re not!”
Jim loves to bring his fiancé presents every time they meet. In his own mind he thinks that if he surprised her, she will be excited and joyful for expressing his love through gifts and generosity. He sets a date, prepares the gift, he shows up, they both talk for a few seconds, then he starts talking with the waiter, the people sitting next to them at another table; a friend who happens to walk by; a phone call that he has to make because at work he didn’t get a chance to call this guy back; his mother calls and he has to answer; a restroom break; an important game being played on the huge flat screen that’s across the wall facing their table; and so many other excuses or distractions that takes Jim’s attention away from Sandy. He is not present! He is not spending quality time with her.
Jim is not meeting Sandy’s need for love, connection, and attention; and the ironic part is that he doesn’t even recognize it. His father used to do the same with his mother, always getting her presents, which his mother accepted joyfully. He thought Sandra would too. But Sandra is not Jim’s mother and not like her in many ways.
Different women and men accept and express love gestures in different ways. In his book “The 5 Love Languages” Dr. Gary Chapman suggests five primary love languages:
1Words of Affirmation.
2Acts of Service.
This is an excellent book to read when you want to understand your mate’s love needs and how to fulfill them.
In our case here, Sandy’s love language is quality time, which Jim didn’t understand.
How can you know what’s your fiancé’s or spouse’s love language?
Dr. Chapman asks three core questions:
1How does he/she most often express love to others?
2What does he/she complain about most often?
3What does he/she request most often?