I’ve done up and married a Yankee.

Well, technically he’s not a Yankee but he is from Jackson, his father is British, and he eats peas and cornbread separately.

That alone is enough to know I’ve got my hands full if I plan to teach him our ways but on top of that, we speak different love languages.

There is a book called “The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate,” that explains these different love languages which are: receiving gifts, quality time, physical touch, words of affirmation (his) and acts of service (mine). These love languages, and the ability to speak them to one another, seemed pretty important during our pre-marriage counseling sessions a couple of years ago.

My love language is simple. You want to show me you love me? Do some yard work. I feel loved when I hear the weed eater running. That may sound harsh, but it really is what I find comforting. When I know someone else values hard work and a neat garden, I feel understood and like we’re definitely on the same page.

The husband needs words of affirmation. This means he needs for me to say things like this to him, “You’re doing a great job at *insert any anything here*”. I do not like this love language and I was not raised this way. In my family, we show love by picking on one another. All that ‘You’re so good at stuff’ nonsense sounds like you’re just gassing somebody up, in my opinion. Also, words of affirmation just feels like a Yankee love language, doesn’t it?

If you’re wondering who is the better spouse here, it should be pretty clear that my groom is the winner. Even though he doesn’t enjoy house and yard work, he always accommodates my love language. He even turns up music on Saturdays, and we clean together. It’s heaven. I, on the other hand, cannot seem to remember to say, “Wow! You did such a good job wiping down that countertop!”, or “You’re just the best at checking the mail!” And when I do remember to say it, it sounds silly.

Look, I can handle being married to a Yankee. I am fine with eating prime rib and stuffing, not dressing, on Christmas Day. I can put less sugar in the tea and make sure I’m using ‘well’ instead of ‘good’ where I should, but it’s going to take some work learning to speak a whole new love language too.

I did a Google search on ways to relate better to others in the hopes of finding an easy out and I found an article on WikiHow entitled “3 Ways to Relate to Someone.” Turns out there were six listed, not three, but the last one gave me tremendous hope. It simply said ‘Give it Time.’

Now, I can do that.

Also, I can step outside my comfort zone a little bit and practice saying nice things to everyone around me. Who knows what kind of change this could bring about in my life?

So, thank you, dear reader. You did a great job reading this column (Yuck).

Emily Paul is the general manager of the Monroe Journal. She can be reached at emily.tubb@journalinc.com.

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