I think this man loved her since the beginning
There is an article that became immensely popular last month about a man who claims he didn’t love his wife when they got married. The article is called “I Didn’t Love My Wife when We Got Married” and is by Elad Nehorai. My friend shared it to me because his girlfriend sent it to him as they were going through a tough time – an obvious sign that she was mad at him.
As my friend read the blog post to me aloud, I couldn’t help but disagree with what the author wrote. The author makes the argument that true love lies in its practicality. He reasons that “Love” is a verb and is, therefore, an action that you do. To illustrate his claim, he shares the love story of him and his wife. He claims that he always had strong feelings for her and would declare his love for her over and over again. She, however, never seemed to be truly satisfied with his love. It was only when he started doing practical things for her like helping around the house that she returned a “look of absolute love”. He then states that he didn’t love his wife while they were dating, while they were engaged, and when they first got married. Instead, he claims that his love only started when he started “giving”.
This article can be dangerous when taken out of context
The article is truly touching. The story of his marriage being rejuvenated is even more special when we live in a society where divorce rates are so high. But many have taken this inspirational story out of context and are using it as a base for their definition of love. On Facebook, I saw many of my friends posting the article and claiming to have received a revelation from it. So it is because of this that I want to give a more holistic opinion about the article and how it fits in with my perception of love and that described in The Five Love Languages. For if I don’t, I fear that others will believe that they never loved their significant other and become cynical or pessimistic about their relationship.
Love is a feeling and state of mind, not a physical action
It is true that “Love” is a verb. It, however, isn’t a physical action. Researching the definition on various dictionaries (ex. Description of Dictionary.com) shows us that it describes a feeling of profound affection towards something or someone. Like the verbs to value, to care about, and etc., these verbs imply a feeling and not a physical action. Instead, any physical action associated with these feelings are described as a display of the sentiment (ex. “He showed me he loved me by buying me flowers” or “The company really values its employees by giving them Christmas off”). The difference between this view of love and the way the author presents it is that here, love is separated from the action; therefore, love is able to exist without it being shown. Whereas in the way that the author views it, love only exist when his wife felt loved.
Thinking you never loved is depressing
The danger in thinking that love can only exist when it is noticed by the other person is that you may undervalue your own efforts. While reading the article, it is clear that author had a profound feeling for his wife early on in the relationship, but then he discounts all of his early efforts and claims that he didn’t love his wife when they got married. I believe this is the type of thinking that can block any progress in a relationship and later lead to its demise.
A relationship is learning about the person
To me, relationships are about learning. While in a relationship you learn about yourself; but most importantly, you learn about the other person. You learn their favorite color, their favorite drink at Blenz, and who their favorite singers are. You learn that they don’t like vacuuming the house and that they would rather cook than do the dishes. And most importantly, you learn how they want to be loved.
Properly loving someone is properly speaking their love language
In the book, The Five Love Languages, Gary Chapman describes the five ways to show love. They include a) Physical Touch, b) Acts of Service, c) Quality Time, d) Gifts, and e) Words of Affirmation. Gary Chapman has found that a person tends to value these at different levels due to cultural values and experience – usually preferring one or two of them. He has even found that using a “love language” that a person doesn’t prefer can have null effects. Despite all of the words of affirmation or gifts you give, that other person can feel no love coming from you. It is for this reason why it is imperative to properly learn how the other person wants to be shown love and speak that language consistently.
Picking up another love language is impossible without love
Learning another’s love language is tough because that other person’s values can be completely different from our own. So without a good motivational force behind you, this task will be tiring and seemingly pointless. And that is where love comes in. It is only this overwhelming feeling of affection that can justify such a task and deem it necessary. Without love, how can one motivate themselves to learn the other’s love language? What would be the point at becoming really good at giving gifts for that other person when you don’t think you love them? This is why I believe that it is important to realize that you love the other person, but just have not learned to show them your love them properly. It is only in this mindset where you can appreciate the relationship and push yourself to learn to communicate your love to the other person.
I think this man loved her since the beginning
I hope that people realize that loving someone and having your love felt are two separate things. Loving someone comes from the chemicals in your brain, the experiences you two shared, and the commitment you made to love them. Having your love felt involves speaking the right love language to that person.
So for the author, he definitely loved his wife judging by the way he described his feelings for her. The problem wasn’t that he didn’t love his wife when they got married. The problem was that he wasn’t doing things that his wife valued; he wasn’t communicating his love effectively; he wasn’t speaking the right love language.
So for all of those that have taken the article out of context and believe that love is a practical action, please reconsider your definition. Love is the deep sentiment that you have for your loved one and showing them your love is a whole different challenge.