Awhile back the small group we were a part of read the relational tome The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. Jake & I had previously read the book before we got married, but as several years have passed since then, we decided it would be good to do a refresher course. I’m glad we did. But ever since, I’ve heard one friend repeatedly claim that Facebook is “the 6th love language”. As much as I love a good Facebook session, I have to respectfully disagree. In my opinion, the 6th spot goes to food.
A recent conversation I had with my sister-in-law spawned this theory. We were discussing my late mother’s cooking habits, especially in relation to big family gatherings. Mom was always in the kitchen cooking up a storm. She loved to create our favorite dishes or present us with new inspirations. She excelled at delivering tasty delights and we, as her captivated audience, were rarely less than eager to be her guinea pigs. (With few exceptions.)
However, later on I developed the idea that a round of frozen pizzas would be preferable to hours spent sweating in the kitchen for such family gatherings. My thought was that something simple & quick would leave more time for discourse and games. I felt bad that Mom was always left out of the “fun”. But mostly, I was lazy & didn’t want to have to help whip up the latest feast she had in store.
But my sister-in-law indicated that although Mom would have liked to enjoy the family time more, she loved to serve us her food creations. It was like a gift to us. Never more so than on our birthdays growing up, when we each got to choose the meal and the cake. (I think I’ve mentioned before that prior to college, I was entirely unaware that people often bought cakes for birthdays. My mom was never afraid to tackle any request, including ice cream cakes as well Big Bird Batman cakes.)
In fact, said sister-in-law noted that perhaps my mother needed the positive feedback she received when we lavishly heaped praise upon her fruits of labor. I’ve always thought quality time (one of the established 5 love languages) was probably my mom’s primary love language, but perhaps it was the words of affirmation she received during large family meal gatherings that was the most sought after. One does not go without the other, so it is difficult to know for certain.
One thing I know: the love of fine cooking & the praise that follows said cooking is something she’s passed down to me. Though I have a hard time accepting praise graciously (one friend in particular is especially good at encouraging me in this area – probably because words of affirmation is most likely her primary love language – and she can attest to my difficulty in this area), I do relish it. My husband is good at praising my culinary efforts as well, which is also not surprising given his affinity for words of affirmation.
So the next time someone makes you a special treat that you cannot get enough of, be sure to praise them profusely for it. Because it can’t hurt. No cook I know of hates to be thanked and asked for more of his/her cooking creations.
But you should also know that words of affirmation will only get you so far with me. I do love them in relation to food, but that’s where the buck stops. I normally couldn’t give two rips about words of affirmation – actions speak louder for me (and gifts, just in case you’re prone to that – gifts of food are perhaps the best!).
And now you know why Jake & I bicker. We rarely speak the same language, folks. But food usually brings us together. There’s something special about food. It stands on its own. Thus, food as the 6 love language! See? It all makes sense.