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The Language or Love, also known as "Gee, you're not from around here, are you?"

This i           This going to sound crazy and illogical, but it is something I have seen so many times. Let me tell you a story. Once, when I was on kibbutz, my buddy (let’s call him Jake) wanted to get accepted as a member. Becoming a kibbutz member was a long but relatively painless process. Another friend of mine (let’s call him Sam) was making it difficult for Jake. He was going out of his way and even putting in time and energy to make Jake’s process difficult. One time, over tequila, Jake and I were discussing the problem with an older kibbutz member. He laughed and said, “What goes around comes around”. He went on to explain that when Sam had first arrived on kibbutz, fifteen years earlier, his acceptance process was very difficult. Now it would have been easy to write it off and say that Sam was a vindictive jerk, but I sensed there was something deeper going on. Sam was basically a friendly guy, in a weird and dysfunctional way, and he had even been friendly to Jake in the beginning. Then I realized that when Jake wanted to become a member, Sam decided to oblige him.  Sam had learned that acceptance to kibbutz was a painful process and he wanted to provide that for his friend Jake.
                        Love is a language that we learn. Actually, life is a language that we learn. What does love look like? For some people, tragically, love looks like a battle, with casualties and the children become collateral damage. Sometimes, if our spouse is not so obliging or does not speak our language, we fill in the blanks. If a person was raised in an abusive marriage, he will see everything the other person does as abuse, even silence, even acts of kindness. Or they will provide the abuse that a ‘loving marriage’ needs.
                        There are two issues here. One is in the receiving and the other is in the giving. We need to learn to understand our spouse’s language. We also need to look at our own language and how our spouse receives it. As a cook, I am not used to long conversations. If I find myself talking too long, I begin to expect that the chef will come running over to scream at me. In the middle of conversations with my wife, I would suddenly start fiddling around in the kitchen. She thought I was distracted or not interested. I had to realize what I was doing, how she was receiving it, and change it into an appropriate form that we could both live with.
                        And the language in the marriage is unique. Yeshiva students beware; your wife is not your study partner. Logic isn’t always the answer and can actually make her angry. Businessmen, you can’t prove to your wife you love her by showing her how much you spent. Success in marriage is being together. The way to get there is by being together. Take the time. Learn each other’s language. Learn your own language.
My wife used to ask me if I wanted a drink of water. My automatic response was usually, “No, thank you.” The implied response was “I don’t want to bother you.” I didn’t realize that she was hungry for an opportunity to express her love in a small way. Eventually, my wife discovered that I was one of those people who are stuck three rungs down on the evolutionary scale until I’ve had my coffee in the morning. Despite being a strong advocate of healthy eating, my wife has learned to make my coffee and more often than not, she makes it for me. And I have been drinking more water than I used to.

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