I already talked about this book on my blog when I was in a relationship with Nounours. My relationship with Nounours was a beautiful self-discovery because for the very first time I felt loved in my full authenticity. His love and care for my daughters and me filled us with joy and love. I realize how important it is to know how you feel loved and how the other feels loved. I didn’t know what it was like to love and receive so much love from the other person because I had only known toxic love relationships before. Nounours didn’t know about this book, but his attentiveness made him understand my daughters’ love language as well as mine.
Can you save your marriage?
This book seems to help couples who are unhappily married, since the author is a pastor and marriage counselor. The book begins with the chapter “What happens to love after marriage?” In this way, he exposes many of the problems that distressed couples face and explains how he has been able to help them. With his high success rate in saving these couples, it made me quite nervous as I wondered if this advice could have saved both my marriages, at least my marriage to the father of my children to avoid a family breakdown? But as I read the book, I realized that this book is not for narcissistic perverts because they are incapable of questioning themselves. They are notorious for never taking responsibility for their actions. From my personal experience, you can’t save a marriage in a toxic relationship. In fact, I plan to write an article on the toxic relationship. Other than that, unhappy marriages can only be effectively saved if you have that willingness to continue to love your loved one and make every effort to get out of your comfort zone.
I am extremely grateful to Nounours who showed me what it is to love for who I am. He brought out the best in me and made me and my daughters happy. We parted ways but he became my best friend and my daughters’ godfather. There is no ambiguity. When you truly love without toxicity and your values are still the same, the love continues in another form. This was not the case with my ex-toxics who tried a friendly approach but after having cordially declined their offer, they did not hesitate to spit their venom at me at every opportunity. So I was right to be wary.
What was your love language as a child?
First, I invite you to ask yourself what love language you received from your parents when they showed their love? How did you feel loved by them? I think it is important to always go back to our childhood because that is where our legacy of love comes from. It greatly influences the way we love to this day.
Love through food
For me, the legacy I received from my parents was a love for food. My parents grew up in extreme poverty where my mother told me she slept with the pigs. As for my father, he said he sucked rocks to fill the emptiness in his belly. So food is very important to them. They were farmers and my father was made for this work! They always made sure that we could always eat our fill. Nothing should be wasted but respected by those who helped me get that good meal on the plate. My parents always cooked dishes that their children preferred. And when we ate out, it was a joy for everyone, not only for the children but also for the parents, it was their reward for their work on the land.
I felt loved by my parents through food. So I inherited and kept in me this language of love from my parents. I never felt that cooking was associated with sexism, on the contrary, I saw it as a form of declaration of love. That’s why I love to cook a meal for my loved ones and to see their joy in eating my dishes. Moreover, since I was a little girl, I have been a fan of manga and of the Japanese universe. I was able to discover the concept of the bento, the traditional meal in Japan that I like very much. It is very cute. I find it romantic that a woman prepares a bento for her darling, it is for me an act of love. So I integrated the bento in my home.
Love through pocket money
I felt loved every time my parents gave me an allowance. I perceived pocket money as a gift. My parents did not learn to have fun. They had started working before they came of age so studying was an unknown environment for them. That’s why they preferred to give us pocket money every weekend so that we could reward ourselves. Only we knew what would make us happy and we could enjoy it whenever we wanted. That’s what’s so great about it. They let us express our needs and desires. That way they were sure that it would bring us joy. So I grew up in the spirit of not waiting for the holidays to be a holiday, for us the 365 days were a holiday. I really didn’t miss anything!
Money is not a taboo subject in my family because it contributes to the well-being of each member of the family for the useful and the pleasant. We know the value of money by the sweat of our brow. So I am hyper sensitive when I see people wasting food. It tears me up because I don’t see the respect for everyone’s work and the respect for the animal’s life to make sure our plate is not empty. And when I saw my daughters wasting it, it made me extremely angry. And then there was one time when my daughter’s elementary school bento accessories were stolen, it really pissed me off.
Now it’s your turn to reflect on how you felt loved by your parents 🙂
The 5 Love Languages
This book is very interesting because this concept of the 5 love languages works not only for couples but can also be applied to family and friends relationships. So I invite you to discover your own love language and why not juggle them all with joy:
- Valuing words
- Quality moments
- The gifts
- The services rendered
- The physical touch
I will rather give you examples of situations where I felt loved by Nounours, often in relation to food because it is an act of love left by my parents. And then having known only toxic relationships before Nounours, I confess that I really became aware of what it was to be considered and heard in my own needs within a couple. The other was a bonus in my life. So I really invite you to always be the bonus of your loved one.
1) Valuing words
These are verbal or written compliments, encouraging or congratulatory words, a thoughtful word here and there. It gives us confidence in ourselves.
It teaches us to accept compliments if we are not used to them or do not think we deserve them.
I have always loved words, their power and meaning. I love declarations of love. It makes me feel important and unique in the hearts of the people I choose to share my life with. And it is even better if they are accompanied and manifested in matter by gestures and actions with other love languages.
- Ex-Nounours: “It smells great what you’re cooking, I can’t wait to eat it!”
Nounours loves to eat and discover new dishes that I am testing. So that makes my joy. Moreover he loved to discover the bentos that I made for him during his train trips. Each time I prepared some for him, he sent me a message to thank me and to say that he enjoyed it. Reading or hearing this kind of feedback makes me happy and makes me want to cook for the people I love! That’s why I love to do cooking workshops with my friends.
My toxic relationships:
- Ex-Dream-Seller: He was eating his pork chop with spaghetti. He said, “That’s cold” with a displeased look on his face. He threw it over the balcony. I didn’t feel loved or respected. He had no respect for the cook, but most of all I thought about my parents and what they had taught me. His reaction made me feel ashamed.
- Ex-Haker: He tasted the green beans on his plate and shows a look of disgust “It’s too salty!” then put it back in the main dish. He punished me in front of my daughter. I felt unloved and disrespected. He wasn’t even happy that he was fed and housed. This is not a hotel.
- Ex-War Machine: Eating is just satisfying a basic need but it was still necessary to keep up appearances, to put on a good show even if food didn’t thrill him. I was entitled to this kind of unpleasant remark: “We eat like in Somalia?” But shouldn’t he be grateful? Who was in charge of making the shopping list, going to the store, cooking and then putting the kids at the table (?). I didn’t feel respected or considered as if these tasks were the sole responsibility of the woman. So I was far from my family values. And it always makes me smile when her parents buy organic because what is most important for me is the human relationship more than the appearances. What’s the point of eating organic if you behave badly?
In my life, I also experienced an excess of nice words and this led to a total loss of trust in the other person because what is the use of talking if it is not followed by real actions. So I didn’t feel loved and existed. For me, an absence of loving words such as “I love you” is a source of suffering because words and actions must complement each other. Actions define us as they are the manifestation of our thoughts and a reflection of who we are. I have experienced an excess of devaluing words and this has generated a loss of self-esteem with anxiety attacks. Everything is devastating when they are not balanced. From experience I also confirm that the words and acts of rejection I experienced from Peter Pan are just as much a form of toxicity and suffering.
So be careful what you say, always say it from the heart in accordance with your values. And don’t forget to do self-esteem monologues, Nounours is very good at that, he always made me laugh when he does that and he is right to think he is beautiful, wonderful as soon as he sees himself in the mirror!
2) The gifts
They can be purchased or free because they are handmade. I have kept all of my daughters’ drawings since they started to draw which is 2 years old. It makes my daughters smile now teenagers that I still keep them even though they find them ugly but funny. They understood that for me a gift is received with the heart. And then they gave it to me with their child’s heart. The most important thing is the gesture, as we often say.
If you don’t have any ideas, then take inspiration from Nounours : love post-its that he would stick on my computer screen so that I would see it first thing in the morning, a modest but meaningful piece of jewelry, a weekend away for two, a massage that he would give me himself or an appointment at a professional’s for a duo massage, he would give me pocket money because he knew I didn’t dare to spend it on myself (because I prefer to spend it on my kids), he would give me flying kisses in response to an unkind word from me. And then I would laugh at myself.
Nounours really spoiled me and this was all new to me. It is true that I know I can indulge myself when I want to, but being a parent, I wanted to indulge my girls more. I found it so nice and exciting all those little gifts that you can receive in a lifetime from the person you love. That’s why with Nounours, I imposed that my birthday month be every day my birthday. Precisely for the pleasure of receiving from others little gifts from my darling (now that we are separated, I offer it to myself). Expensive? No, not at all. Get your brains working 🙂 As for toxic relationships, they all have one thing in common: being stingy!
- Ex-Nounours: I like to eat and discover new flavors, Nounours sometimes invites me to the restaurant and he chooses it carefully because behind it, there is this desire to share and discover new dishes and flavors together. There are not only steak fries and chopped steaks for the children’s menu in life! He knows that this approach pleases me a lot.
I’ve had some lovely gifts from my little family related to cooking: pretty bento boxes, bento utensils, cookbooks, or a cupcake bought by my daughters at my favorite bakery… These are gifts that are meaningful to me and make me happy.
My toxic relationships:
- Ex-Dream-Seller: With him, I learned the hard way that a simple “Happy Birthday” was not enough for him because he absolutely needed a grandiose gift (like a spoiled child) and a meal made by me was not enough. And even he demanded a meal that gave me a lot of work! Once I had prepared everything and at the last minute a guest cancelled. He was angry and wasn’t hungry anymore, I didn’t feel respected.
- Ex-Hacker: I received poisoned gifts from him that I didn’t like and that had nothing to do with my personality. I felt like he was giving me a gift “just to get rid of it”. And the worst thing is that afterwards I was reprimanded because I didn’t like his gift, he would have liked me to pretend to like it then? But I am not that kind of person! So I wish I had some pocket money instead of forcing a gift on me if he didn’t know what to get me. Sometimes it’s a give-and-take gift where I felt obligated to give him a gift in return. When going to the restaurant, it was unpleasant with him because he tends to criticize this and that, it must be organic or ethical but every time he is the first to eat the whole dish. We can’t eat quietly.
- Ex-War-Machine: It is restrictive to go to a restaurant with small children. Why bother with the logistics and expense when the mother is there for that? Mister doesn’t think that it would relieve the mother of her daily routine. So we often eat and then go home like robots. I didn’t feel any pleasure except to satisfy a primary need.
Then there were those who asked me to make a gift list and then I found myself with a gift that was not on my list. I never understood why they did this.
The gift is a gift of self, it pleases the one who gives it and the one who receives it. If we don’t know what to give, it requires us to be attentive and curious to know the person better. It requires a little bit of our time and attention to give the person a meaningful gift. For me, always give me a gift related to my universe because it makes sense. Moreover I am a person who gives value to the objects that I am offered, that I keep for life because it is a proof of your love towards me.
3) Services rendered
This notion of “services rendered” blocks me a bit in a couple. I found it hard to understand because when you have chosen a person to share your life together, the home is a WHOLE. Both of them are involved and have to put in a lot of effort to keep the house going. My parents were farmers, they knew their jobs, my mother took care of the house too, but I didn’t see any dominant-dominant. Nor macho tasks. There was a real balance. Both of them took initiative and didn’t wait for the other to do it or not (for example when we had to kill poultry for our meal – there is a long preparation phase for it to arrive on our plate). Because things had to happen naturally. So when I was in a relationship, I didn’t understand why such and such a household task, it was me who had to do it constantly. And when it was the man who did it, I really felt that he had to be congratulated every time. I found this unfair because with my parents, things were done naturally, everyone had their place in running the house, together.
It was only with Nounours that I learned a lot from the services rendered. I was often the only one to manage the house with my exes, so when Nounours did me a favor, it annoyed me a lot when it was not done in my way. For example, when he hung the laundry and arranged it differently than I did, I systematically grumbled. Poor guy, I must admit. I was aware of this and I made an effort. It was hard to deconstruct that because I was always being held back from the ungrateful tasks.
Thanks to Nounours, I learned to accept that the other person has his own way of arranging the house. I discovered a new kind of relationship where I could share the tasks with a man who was not macho. On top of that he was very involved in my daughters’ education. It’s really nice, it’s a feeling that I didn’t know in a relationship: a real sharing where the efforts are made together. Now Nounours has remained my best friend and for my daughters, he is their godfather of heart. I am thrilled to know that my girls have someone to count on.
My toxic relationships:
- Ex-Dream-Seller and Ex-Haker: I always had to politely ask them to help me with a household chore and most importantly remember to thank them or I would be called rude. But that’s crazy. It’s like we live in a patriarchal society. It’s so unfair!
- Ex-War Machine: I felt like I was always rolling out the red carpet for him every time he participated in the constraints of life at home. And when I asked him to do this and that, he blamed me for taking revenge on him for his absences to do the ungrateful tasks. Is it my job to do them then? What a sexist! He didn’t get involved in the family responsibility or in the education of the children because he wasn’t interested in the constraints of young children. So I absolutely could not count on him to take my mental load off my shoulders, which ended up generating a maternal burn-out as I later discovered after reading the book “Le Stress Maternel” by Violaine Guéritault in 2015.
So yes you get it, the services rendered are really welcome. My daughters are teenagers, so I have started to involve them in the daily household chores. And I think it’s so nice that everyone gets involved to maintain a pleasant home, a pleasant cohabitation where each individual can take refuge in his or her own bubble and then come back and share together around a good meal. For me, this is an essential moment because it is the only time when we can get together three times a day, discuss, exchange, laugh and especially talk about our problems.
4) Quality moments
What is it? Many people don’t take the time to sit down and create quality moments because we live in a society of overconsumption that gives us the impression of never having time. It is therefore about moments spent together, where time is of quality!
I like this notion of time, it’s being available for the other, where we give our full attention to the other (and not to our cell phone and computer). It’s about making the relationship with the other person vibrant with time spent together: going for a walk, going to a restaurant, watching a movie together, cooking, reading a book together etc. There is no lack of ideas if you take the time to think about what you could do to please the other person and yourself. It’s combining each other’s worlds with joy.
For those of you who know me, I like to share quality time in private, one on one with the other. Everyday things can be fun: cooking together, shopping together, it’s the connection to the person that matters to me, not the activity or the place but the quality of our exchanges. When the girls were little, I loved to have picnics with them. It’s a fun time around food coupled with a quality time.
My toxic relationships:
- Ex-Haker: He tends to blame me for not going out for a walk in nature often. He blamed me for accepting walks with my best friend and not with him. He still hasn’t understood that I like to go out to really share time together, to really be there for each other, and not to make myself feel good for going out. It’s not my problem if he feels guilty for staying too long in front of the computer. He is free to go out whenever he wants to get some fresh air. I have never stopped him from going out instead of blaming me for being fine the way I am at home and outside.
- Ex-War Machine: The quality moments, there are none. He preferred to take only the good parts of parenthood without the constraints. For example going out skiing with his friends or going out for a drink with his buddies leaving his wife and kids at home. But luckily his ex-best friends were there to organize family outings. That’s why I’m so grateful to know them to this day and to be able to count on them. Ex-War-Machine is a champion at shirking a family outing, he keeps making excuses about work, money, my homely personality, etc. And I have to admit, I’ve never been able to find the right one. And as for me I helped him too because of my empathy.
I love the soul of the world and I like to go on walks that make sense to me and that are a real sharing. That’s why I have always enjoyed walks with my best friend because he talks to me about his relationship with nature, plants, sheep, meetings. Everything that makes life! For me, it is a quality moment with the other person that is essential and not the place (but it is better if we discover a new place together). It is the human quality that interests me and not the place. That’s why I’m not interested in going out alone. I live it well. I am happy just by feeling the presence of the other in my space. Simply. Everyone has their own language.
5) The touch
We have just been born and the first thing we do is to put the newborn in skin to skin contact with the mother. Touch is very important for the infant because it creates attachment and trust. I have read that without physical contact, the child is capable of letting himself die, this is called hospitalism. This means that our relationship to touch is always related to our childhood and our culture.
The touch touches our intimacy, it is the expression of what we are, it is to enter in contact with the other and to be touched in return by an embrace, a handshake, a pat on the back, tender gestures, massages. There is also a physical communion through kisses, kisses, the sexual act.
I personally love to be held. It generates in me a feeling of tenderness and security. I am a very cuddly person after all, as I like to hug my friends to say hello and goodbye instead of kissing. And then I follow my urge which matches up with one of my friends where we hold hands on our girl walks. The first thing I thought was that others would think we were lesbians. You see how the look of others can prevent us from living our relationship with each other as we wish.
And then I associate the fact of “holding hands” by the fact that my darling does not let go of my hand in difficult moments. I feel protection and confidence in him and I find it very romantic. Once, an acquaintance of mine saw me holding Nounours’s hand and she purposely passed between us so that we didn’t hold hands anymore. She had gently mocked us for still being in love like on the first day. I think tenderness is a powerful foundation that awakens love. I love to snuggle with my loved one or a friend if the need arises.
There is also that unconditional love I feel when my children hold my hand when we go out. I love to feel their little hands in mine squeezing me and when I don’t squeeze their hand enough, they always let me know hihi. And then when I see my girls holding hands when they walk, it melts my heart ❤️.
I love massages because human warmth is the most tender and soothing of all forms of heat. Physical contact also has its love language. Teddy used to massage me regularly and I love his soft bear paws and it was every time I felt his love. Now I allow myself to be massaged in an institute once a month (also because of my contact sports). It’s a way to take care of yourself and to love yourself. The girls also appreciate massage as much as I do and I sometimes massage them when they ask me to.
For me, touch is undeniably linked to tenderness. This tenderness that does not lie and that makes a relationship exist in a healthy and enriching way. A tenderness that makes it possible to count on our life partner no matter what happens, and to grow old at his side. It is also to reconcile with our body because not to be afraid to touch the other, to show our affection by touching, is to accept what we are without fear and without judgment. For me, without this tenderness, I cannot be moved in a relationship.
Be the other person’s bonus
It’s important to know the other person’s language:
- To avoid misunderstandings and conflicts
- To understand how our beloved one functions to nourish his/her reservoir of love, to be for him/her a bonus!
- To express our love without exhausting ourselves because we know the language of the other!
- This allows us to maintain the love, to always show him/her that we have chosen him/her to share our life and no one else. It is to show her that she is special every day, every day we chose her! This is how I interpret the love of the other.
My love language
I have learned a lot from this book because it has allowed me to know myself better and understand my relationship with each of the love languages. I can say that valuing words and touch are my love languages and I realize that these are the two languages that have made me suffer the most in my life and that make me live an unfair situation because I am not respected as a sexual object.
I had fun analyzing the love language with my exes and not surprisingly nothing good was done. Toxic people are convinced that they have given me a life of a princess by their side. For Machine-of-war, being a housewife is a life of princess because it is known that a housewife does not do anything at home (while I had a company of tele-secretariat but he did not consider that it was a real job). My mother is a housewife and worked in the field with my father. Is that doing nothing? Same with my ex-Dreamseller, I decided not to work like him to be in my spiritual quest just like him. I try to apply all his beautiful philosophical words of martial arts teacher. He offers me the pleasure of not working so that I leave him alone with his mistress. He blamed me for not appreciating his gift because I dared to oppose his relationship with his mistress. It was a give and take.
I am filled with gratitude to have beautiful memories of Nounours’s love. He was the only one who loved me as I was, appreciated my efforts and gave me value and I felt like a true princess. In addition to supporting me as a “Princess Petit Pois” artist. Even after we broke up, our relationship is based on a healthy and fulfilling friendship. Moreover, with him I experience for the first time a friendship with an ex and I find it very beautiful because there is no ambiguity. He always continues to support and encourage me. The affection is there and this desire to share things together because we have values that are similar.
This is a book that I highly recommend because it will change the quality of your relationship. I have come to know my daughters’ love language and I know what not to deprive them of or they would not feel loved. If you like to give tons of gifts and it doesn’t resonate with them, then that means it’s not her love language. It’s important to listen to the needs as well as the other person for emotional harmony. Without which one feels badly considered, badly loved, it is to put in danger the relation towards a rupture!
So do you know your love language?