Saturday, October 13, 2007

Introducing.....

....the newest addition to our family. And my new "best friend" (well, almost "best" - after all, he can't quite replace my DH now can he?). :-)




This is Rufus (I think that's what I'm going to call him). Everyone wave and say "hello Rufus". LOL. My DH bought him for me. After being together 13+ years this is the first teddy bear he's ever bought me.

Now before you go "awwww....your DH is so sweet" (which he is by the way) I should tell you that he bought me this teddy because I asked him to. LOL.

When we met I owned about 65 soft toys. I imagine he thought I didn't need anymore. Well, in a way he'd have been right. Throughout my teenage years, my soft toy collection seemed to grow exponentially. Some were gifts from friends and family. Many were from those soft toy machines (have you seen them? With that claw thing you have to grab them with?). I had a boyfriend who was very adept at getting things out of those machines. I even had one that had been won in a sideshow at the Royal Melbourne Show (by a different guy). That was in the days before they fell apart in the first 24 hours.

Now a couple of HUGE garbage bags of soft toys isn't so bad when you're on your own. It even isn't too bad when you have a husband to share a house with. As the kids arrived and started being given their own soft toys, I decided it was time to part with some of my own. I had to do it as a gradual process as they really were true friends to me and parting with them wasn't easy.

I also wondered how healthy it was for my marriage to have so many soft toys given to me by other males so it seemed fitting that I gradually let go of those. The fond memories remain of course. But it was time to allow those memories to be a part of my past and not my present.

A number of weeks ago it suddenly occured to me that my DH had never bought me a soft toy of any description. I turned to him and said "you've never bought me a teddy". I think he wondered where that had come from. I continued the conversation with "I want you to buy me a teddy".

One thing I've learnt about males in my almost 12 years of marriage is that if you don't tell them what you want (in a nice way of course), they have no idea. It's not that they don't care or they're not thoughtful. They just don't seem to *know*. Well, that's what my DH is like anyway.

So, did he rush out and buy me a soft toy? No. He promptly forgot all about the conversation. LOLOL. So the other day I said to him "you haven't bought me a teddy yet" and he admitted that he had forgotten. One thing my mental health issues have taught me is to have more compassion for people who forget things. I've always had a good memory and have found DH's lack of memory at times quite frustrating. Of course, I've also found my own lack of memory in recent times quite frustrating. :-) But at least now I understand that he doesn't mean to forget.

Well, the other day he remembered. I hadn't given it another thought since our conversation (during which I also told him a great place to go would be the Post Office) so when he turned up with this teddy, I was still surprised in spite of the fact that it was all my idea in the first place. LOL. This teddy is quite a bit bigger than what I had in mind. But he is incredibly soft and oh so cuddly. Just what I need when DH isn't available to give me a *real* hug. :-)

Another thing that has really helped my communication and relationship with my DH has been understanding a little about the five love languages. My primary love language is the giving and receiving of gifts. For a long time I struggled with the fact that I was so "materialistic" when in fact, it was simply that "gifts" is my primary love language. A flower picked from the garden can have as much meaning to me as an expensive diamond ring when it comes to the expression of love that I feel upon receiving it.

If you've never heard of the 5 Love Languages, I would encourage you to click on that link and have a read. It can really make a massive difference to your relationship. To give you a quick overview, the 5 love languages are said to be:

* Words of Affirmation

* Quality Time

* Receiving Gifts

* Acts of Service

* Physical Touch

My DH's primary love language is words of affirmation. As this rates fairly low on my own list, I wasn't giving him the words that he needed. It's not easy to express love in a love language that isn't your own. It takes quite a lot of effort and retraining the way you think. But it is so worth it if you want to take your relationship to a whole new level of understanding and depth.

The love languages are also so important when it comes to our children. If we don't speak love to them in their own language - they're not going to hear the message "I love you". So far each of our children has had a different love language - different from each other and also different from us. In fact, if our youngest child, whose love language is difficult to determine yet, turns out to have the love language "Acts of Service" then we'll have all 5 love languages within our family.

It's not always easy to determine what you or your loved ones love language is. For instance, my top 2 are very close. The second one for me is "acts of service" and it took a while for me to even decide whether is in fact was "gifts" or "service" that was my primary love language they were so close. Over time, I've come to the conclusion that "gifts" is actually a stronger love language for me than "service".

The easiest way to determine your primary love language is to pay attention to the way that you most automatically express love. I enjoy doing things for people. But I LOVE to give gifts. Big gifts, little gifts, whatever. I just get a LOT of satisfaction from giving things to people. My DH likes to tell me how much he loves me. If I give him gifts and he tells me he loves me, we're both speaking our OWN language but what it means to the other may not be the same as what it would mean to us. Of course, now that we understand each others primary love language, it is also easier to understand the love that we're trying to speak to one another (even if it isn't our own preferred method of receiving love).

When I talk about a primary love language, it doesn't mean that the rest of the languages don't exist for us. In fact, we all give and receive love in all 5 of those ways at different times. And it is important that we do receive love in all of those ways. It's simply that 1 or 2 of those "languages" will speak to us more loudly than the others.

The website www.fivelovelanguages.com is a great resource with lots of information to read. Dr Gary Chapman has written a number of books on the topic but you'll find quite a lot on his website as well.

Now back to the teddy. It took me a long time to get to the point where I was comfortable with telling my DH what I wanted. I always thought that if he loved me enough, he would just *know* what it was I wanted. It just doesn't work like that. His not knowing is not a reflection on how much he cares about me. It's just who he is.

So if your DH is the kind that never buys you the right present (or any present), consider coming right out and telling him what you would like. If you like surprises for Christmas - don't be surprised if your surprise is no present. Instead, why not ask him if he'd like you to write a list of ideas for him. After a number of years my DH has worked out that "stationery" is always on my list. So he'll now tend to get me stationery if he needs a gift idea. But he didn't come to that conclusion on his own. He had to have it written down in black and white in front of him for a long time before it etched itself into his brain. :-)

Unless your DH or any other male in your life is an exceptional being, he aint gonna figure it out by hints and whining. In fact, I think males might have one of those tune out sensors when it comes to the whine. LOL. Just use a pleasant voice and come out and tell him what you would like. And you may have to do it more than once - if he's anything like my DH, he will forget. LOL.

Well, out of all the teddy bears and soft toys that I have owned in my life, Rufus is by far the most special. It hasn't mattered one little bit that I had to prompt my DH to buy him for me. All that matters is that he's been hand chosen by the most important person in the world to me. And I won't be decluttering either of them! :-)

5 comments:

Ali said...

Rufus is gorgeous! He looks so soft and cuddley :)

Precious_1 said...

awww he's lovely (Rufus that is) and I know exactly what you mean about the DH's needing to be told!! lol

I do he list thing for my hubby. Occasionally he will surprise me and come up with something on his own that I'd really like or need, but not often. One year I remember giving him money and a list of "suggestions" and saying "go find". The salesman in target was laughing at him for having a list written by me, but I tell you something........... I had more stuff on the list than I expected him to be able to get with the amount of money I gave him so that he had a few choices and I'd still get a semi surprise but I got a real surprise when through some careful purchasing he bought me EVERY SINGLE THING on the list and they were all choices I would have made for myself had I been looking for the samethings.

My primary love language is acts of service, closely followed by affirming words. Hubby would SAY that his is words, followed by service but if you take a look at how he most commonly expresses himself its definately gifts. He pretends they don't matter cos he's not used to getting them, but he's always trying to give the kids and I things to show us his affection.

A few years back our bible study group did a series called "Homes of Honour" which is based on personality types and the love languages and written by Gary Smalley - it was very good. Certainly helps to understand your mate on that level.

Girl said...

Hello Rufus.

We did that study in a small group my husband and I used to go to only, I was so busy being snubbed (haha), I missed the lesson. Thank you for the reminder to revisit it.

And thank you for the comment.

Kin said...

My DH's love language is Physical Touch, mine is specifically acts of service followed by gifts. It's tough when you don't speak the same language isn't it?

And *wave* welcome Rufus. It's definitely an exciting house you've arrived in.

lightening said...

Rufus is *waving* back to you all. :-)

Precious - that series by Gary Smalley sounds good.

Girl - thanks for dropping by and your comment. :-)