You know that book The Five Love Languages? It’s written by a Doctor who spent his career working with couples and basically, he says there are five ways we feel and express love. Things like, physical touch, gift-giving, acts of service are all ways we implicitly communicate love. The fascinating thing is that people who read it, this girl included, are often all, “oh, yeah that TOTALLY does sound like what I need.” That realization can help people in relationships communicate in a way that works for everyone, even if they didn’t even realize they weren’t before.
Here’s what I have discovered. There is a sixth love language in my life. Television.
I know, you’re wondering if I’ve gone completely ’round the bend with this one, but hear me out.
The idea that something can be implicitly communicated as love seems logical, right? Well, when you grow up in a house with a million siblings whose average age is an entire decade older than yours, there isn’t much common ground. So it really shouldn’t be any surprise that sitcoms and hour long nightly soap operas became the meeting place for my siblings and I from a very early age. We talk about shows, we speak in show dialogue (“Jane, you ignorant slut”, “PIVAAHT”.) and no matter the time or place (basketball stadiums, beach chairs, hospital waiting rooms) our conversations will surely turn to television.
Sure, we talk about books sometimes (we’re mostly all avid readers) and we have sports in common (kind of, I’m not nearly as rabid as my siblings and our teams are all different) but through nearly my entire 40 something years, the common thread of my older brother and sisters are recapping or recommending favorite shows.
It stands to reason then that I would share this style of communication with my own people. My oldest is hooked on reruns of SNL and we often quote Gilmore Girls or West Wing with her. My boys only rise from the gaming basement when it’s time to snuggle on the couch for Blackish or The Middle or Adam Ruins Everything. Our quality time happens in three places, the car, the dinner table and the sectional sofa-all smashed together for at least a 30 minute episode.
So, let’s get back to the Love Language part. I have found since I have gone back to an office job (or 2) that I really look forward to that couch time with my people in the evenings. Guess what happens nearly every night? The Husband falls asleep and I get inordinately angry. I mean, the guy rises every morning in the dark to begin his day, so I should not be surprised that by 8:30 he can only concentrate on the inside of his eyelids.
And yet, I’m pissed. I want to share show. I want to talk about the show the next day. I want him to be able to stay awake like he can for random movies he passes by while channel surfing, or Sunday Night Football, but no, I pick the show (even if it’s one he claims to like!) and nothing but zzzzzzzs. I want him to experience the show the same way I do, reveling in the humour, the great writing, the love story, the mystery. Television makes me feel so much I want to share it with him and hope maybe he feels something too.
Unless the feeling is tired. He feels that plenty.
Clearly, you can’t end a marriage based on sleeping in front of the television. And I guess there are other reasons he’s worth keeping. So I have to find another way to feel loved by this man who can’t make it past the first set of commercials no matter the genre of program. Maybe I’ll take up golf.
In the meantime, I’ll keep watching television… and texting my brother and sisters when something good happens.