My top love language is Acts of Service and has been for the past few years. It's funny because before we got married and even throughout the first year or so of our marriage, acts of service was at the very bottom of the list of ways that I feel loved. I never would have thought that having someone else clean my house or cross something off of my to do list would be something that I'd appreciate so much because those are things that I like to do for myself. But this especially busy stage of life that I'm in makes those things mean a lot to me. When the things that are on my list to do get done by someone else, I have more room in my schedule for my other top love language, quality time.
Acts of Service is not my husband's top love language, and I'm not sure if I even know where it falls on his list (I guess we need to take the quiz again). I do know that his top two are Physical Touch and Quality Time. We took The Five Love Languages quiz together early on in our relationship and ever since, I've made a point to learn and do the things that I know Joe appreciates and that make him feel loved. Back scratches, long walks and time when we can relax together and forget about our responsibilities are just a few of his favorite things. While it's important to me to find what speaks to my husband and work to do those things on a regular basis, it's just as important to continue to speak my own "native" language and do so in a way that he will recognize and understand.
One of the things I've found that my husband loves is to always have one of his treats of choice on hand. It's easy for him to pick up a case of of his favorite soda so that there's always one in the fridge, and he usually does, but there are things that I know he appreciates if I will do for him as well. Joe loves to eat a bowl of ice cream at the end of the day, so keeping a few flavors in our house and restocking when we run out is something that he loves. He also gets spontaneous cravings for fresh cookies, not already baked and put in the freezer, or ones that have been sitting on the counter for a few days. These are things that he never thinks about until he's in the moment and wishes he had them.
Something that I started doing a year or so ago was mixing up a batch of cookies and freezing the dough so that we could pull them out and bake them when those cravings strike. Sure, I could keep store bought cookie dough in our freezer instead, but it's a little more expensive and store bought just isn't the same as homemade. So every few months when we run out of dough, I whip up a batch, roll the dough out into balls, freeze them on a cookie sheet and then put them all in one freezer bag with the baking instructions on the front to make his life easier when he's ready to bake them.
My husband is a simple man who appreciates when anything requires him to put forth as little effort as possible, especially when it comes to cooking something. If I have four to six cookies put into individual ziploc bags, all stored in one big freezer bag with the oven temperature and bake time written on the front, he is one happy man! He doesn't have to bring a big bag of cookie dough up from the basement freezer and then return them after he's done. He simply grabs a bag, heats up the oven. throws the dough on a pan and then waits for hot, fresh cookies. He will of course share with me when they're finished! ;)
Our freezer has a half eaten carton of ice cream in it and this weekend I plan to stock the basement freezer with a few more flavors to replace it after it's gone. But the other day I decided that if I keep my pantry and house stocked with all of my favorite treats, my husband deserves to have them stocked with his as well, so I made some cookie dough. I made three different kinds, half a batch of each, so that we can switch off, and because I couldn't decide which one sounded better.
I love the recipe with oatmeal in it and it tastes especially good if you're eating a frozen cookie dough ball, which I would obviously never do.... Joe will eat cookies that have oatmeal in them, but he prefers them without. The second recipe that I made is a tried and true family recipe that is always delicious and we've been making for a lot of years. The chocolate cookies are just the chocolate chip cookie recipe with cocoa added into the dough and white chips instead of chocolate.
Disclaimer: I have no idea who Melanie and Jan are. Their names have always been part of the recipe title, so I keep them there because I figure they deserve credit for these amazing cookies. ;)
Melanie's Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups flour
2 1/2 cups oatmeal
6 ounces chocolate chips
Cream butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla. Sift dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture. Add oatmeal and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips. Roll dough into 1" balls and bake at 350° F for 12 minutes.
Jan's Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes: 6 dozen cookies
2 cups butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups brown sugar
2 Tbls vanilla
6 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 cups chocolate chips
Option: Add 1/2 cup cocoa and 2 cups of white chips to half of the dough.
Cream butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla. Sift dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture. Stir in chips. Roll into 1" balls and bake at 350° F for 10 minutes or until edges begin to brown.
Whether your spouse appreciates fresh homemade cookies like mine, or something else like having their car cleaned or taking a day off of work just to hang out with each other, find a way to speak to them in your language. I appreciate love languages and that people have those specific things that speak love to them stronger than anything else, but I also believe that we can appreciate each of the five love languages in one way or another. Gifts is at the bottom of my list, but I know that there are certain things that I have on my wishlist that I would be thrilled to get spontaneously, and I love gifts that are well thought out and centered around my love languages. Our first Christmas, Joe gave me a bunch of things, things that I could have easily bought for myself, but I loved that he got them for me because he had thought through each item carefully and had a specific reason for gifting it to me.
Think through the five love languages; quality time, acts of service, physical touch, gift, and words of affirmation, and come up with two or three things for each that you know your spouse appreciates. Use that list, along with the things that you have already been doing to show your spouse that you care, that they are a priority to you and that you are thinking about them often. Then watch to see how happy your small gestures make them. Those little moments of intentionality can go a long way.
What is one way that you've shown love to your spouse in your language recently?