Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Food = Love, in My Books

Growing up, my parents had to work hard to make ends meet. It was a luxury for them to take us out for dinner, so these were reserved for holidays and special occasions. However, since Dad was a chef, it was his act of love to cook our favourite Chinese dishes for us whenever he could, and watch us devour them in delight. When we would receive rare and tasty festive foods for the holidays, my parents always made sure to let us eat first and enjoy more than our share, before they indulged in even the smallest bite. During dinner, Mom and Dad would also put the best portions of the entrees into our bowls for us to have. When it came to food, my parents spared no expense for their children, and I sincerely think that this was simply the best way that they knew how to express their love for us.

It continues even today. When my parents visited relatives in the U.S., they brought back with them eight meat-filled glutinous rice wrap dumplings made by my aunt. As a gesture of affection, Mom and Dad gave away their share of these treats so that each of their children could have 2 dumplings to enjoy. To the outside world, this might seem like an insignificant act. However, I know better. My parents haven't had my aunt's dumplings for a long time either, and this traditional fare is among my dad's favourite foods. The act of sacrificing their delicacies for us was but another example of how my parents continue to demonstrate their love to us - they feed us.

Call me dense, but it wasn't until tonight that I put two and two together, realizing that this is how *I* show love, and also how I want to be shown love. In Gary Chapman's book The Five Love Languages, he explores the idea that most people speak predominantly in one or two of these five ways: words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, acts of service, or physical touch. Neither Hubbs nor I had figured that "gifts" was one of my languages, but in retrospect now, I think it is, at least in the form of food.

When I go out for dinner without Hubbs, I always bring him back something to eat, whether it's dessert or a sub. When I go shopping without him, he has been known to get Cookies by George. When I grocery shop, I make sure to pick up a little "surprise" that isn't on our shopping list. When I make something tasty and there are leftovers, I usually let Hubbs take it to work because I know how much he enjoyed the stuff the first time. Even when we go out for dinner together, I try to leave the "best pieces" for Hubbs, or offer him a choice portion of my entree.

Chapman explains that most people express love in the language that they most wish to receive love. In my case, I guess I am demonstrating by my actions that I want my Hubbs to do what my parents have done from Day 1 - gift me with food to express love (little wonder that our entire family is weight-challenged!). This brings new insight into why I have gotten upset when he eats all the good stuff in the fridge or in the cupboards, leaving me nary a crumb. It also explains why, when he comes home empty-handed after an evening of fancy dinners without me, I feel a twinge of disappointment and hurt inside.

Now that we've figured out that this is one of my "love languages," I think that we'll be more effective in appreciating and conveying our love to each other in tangible ways that match with our individual definitions of love. I'll also be getting a few more treats (hopefully healthy tasty ones) and, well, so will he.

Can you guess what his predominant love language is? ;)


Vanilla Con said...

M & D had told me that they have tried the rice while in San Fran so they didn't require any...but now thinking about it...would they actually LIE to me about that?!? :)

Hey do you have that book on the languages of love? If so...maybe I can borrow it (and add it to the other collection of books I have of yours still sitting in a pile waiting to be read)!

Vien said...

Hmm, I'll take a gander and say that Mr. L's love language is affection and service.

I've heard about the book before, such a simple but can also be earth changing revelations. :)

Mrs. Loquacious said...

I think Jo has my book. I can't seem to locate it and I am pretty sure I remember lending it to her...check w/her (our names would be in our book).

Those are pretty good guesses, Viener. Any others want to take a stab at it?

Mrs. Loquacious said...

Oh and Vanilla Con - of course they would lie to you and I! Think back to all those times growing up when they'd say they "tried some already" just so that we would eat (and not feel guilty). Lying for the sake of love is apparently A-OK in our parents' world.

Wynn said...

I love the love languages book... its right up there with the birth order book (try it! you'll find it amazing) fortunately my husband and I share touch as our main love language, explaining why we always are holding hands or touching in some way or another. I bet your husbands is words of affirmation...?

D'Arcy from Winnipeg said...

You mean he ate all those wings he took packaged up from our dinner at Hooters after the Calgary Code Camp?!



superstarjo said...

Hey lady, don't paint me with the same brush - I'm not WEIGHT CHALLENGED!! Burn.

I'm guessing Mr. L speaks the language of "Words of Affirmation".

Justice~! said...

Nah, I speak enough words of affirmation to *myself*, baby!! No one else needed.

Touch (snuggling, kissing, etc. etc.) is the best - nothing beats it!!

cristina said...

i read that book about four years ago when we had our troubles and i think it saved our marriage...LITERALLY!!! We have very different languages as well and have a better understanding of each other now ;) I am behind and need to get caught up on your blog now!!

Mrs. Loquacious said...

On a positive note, I got a nice chocolate zucchini muffin after Hubbs was done at the gym one day this weekend. He did good in trying to speak my language, and I appreciated it (and shared half of the muffin with him!). ;)