Last month, we celebrated my beautiful niece’s engagement in Asheville with family and her incoming in-laws. My husband and his brother (the father of the bride) were shushed a few times by other members of the family who could see the trajectory of the night. They were two wound up New Jersey bulls in a china shop. Luckily my niece and her smart (and much quieter) fiance’ had recently been introduced to The Five Love Languages, author Gary Chapman’s manual for “love that lasts.” The young bride-to-be explained to her parents and aunt and uncle (both couples celebrated 29 years of marriage last month) the importance of understanding how your mate expresses love. While the bulls rolled their eyes, the wives nodded, recognizing that words of affirmation, physical touch and quality time were not necessarily the strongest languages of our mates. They are, however, fluent in gift giving and acts of service.
My husband and I have three kids (17, 20, 25) and just last month, he drove 14-plus hours from a meeting in Milwaukee to pick up our daughter and her three college mates when their car broke down outside Indianapolis. He didn’t think twice before organizing a hotel room for them after the tow truck dumped them off. He never forgets birthdays and anniversaries, personally picking out the flowers at our favorite florist in Candler Park.
My mom and dad spoke entirely different languages, which probably contributed to them divorcing after 36 years of marriage. Thankfully, they both found amazing spouses with whom they communicated with much more efficiently, successfully and warmly. They are both gone now, and I miss them on Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, and every day.
This month, I will celebrate my children’s father’s love for them and hopefully he’ll understand what I’m saying. I’m starting with beef and red wine.
Happy Father’s Day to all you dads. Enjoy this issue, which is man-centric for all the right reasons.