When Frank and I were first dating, we thought it would be incredibly insightful to read the book The Five Love Languages. We were being all academic about love.
We bought the books… and then?
And then we spent the last decade making up our own love language.
Yes, that’s right, Frank and I have been hanging out romantically for a decade now.
So to celebrate a decade of smoochin’ and snugglin’ and stealin’ each other’s desserts – I thought I’d kick things off right with the top 10 ways we say “I love you.”
In no particular order:
We snuggle all.the.time. It’d be annoying if it wasn’t so delicious. There are nights where we follow one another from one side of the bed to the other and back again. We’ve even named some of our favorite ways to snuggle. That way, like good little quarterbacks, one of us can yell out, “SWEET SPOT!” and we assume the position.
9. The Clean House Maneuver.
This maneuver works great on both of us. It’s not complicated: clean the house while the other spouse is out. That one gets me every time!
8. The Clean Car Maneuver.
Similar to #9, but with either or (if particularly amorous) both vehicles. It differs from #9 because we have, on occasion, let our cars get particularly yucky.
7. Sweet Texts.
I’m sure in the olden days, spouses would have to find a piece of paper and pen and ::GASP:: write a note. Us? We just grab our phones and shoot over a text message. Some of my favorites:
Frank: 11:30 a.m. doctor appointment for the twins.
Frank (a few hours later): It’s Herpes.
Frank: Nevermind. Girls are fine. Love you!
Frank is, as you may know, a pilot. Occasionally (frequently…) I forget where he is going, until he gets there and texts me:
Frank: Love you in SFO (San Francisco)
Me: Oh, good. I didn’t know where you were going. XOXO.
On the first Tuesday of every month, the state tests tornado sirens. Every first Tuesday at 10 a.m., I get a text that looks something like this:
Frank: DISASTER IMMINENT!! SEE YOU ON THE OTHER SIDE!! LOVE YOU!!
Me: Shhh. In meeting.
6. Laughing at the Same Jokes Over and Over and Over Again…
We have a cycle of jokes that is on endless loop. Just like when I was kid and my sister and I watched Howard the Duck on an endless loop until my mom “dropped” the VHS tape, Frank and I can’t get enough of some of the same old jokes.
And there is comfort in that. Singing goofy versions of Kenny Loggins song Danny’s Song (“Even though you look kinda funny, I don’t care cuz you’ve got money!”); Frank chasing me up the stairs saying, “I’m gonna getcha!” while I freeze-up laughing, unable to move; holding hands and trying to be the first to tuck our thumb in between; responding to the other with “yer mom”; and the list goes on and on. No matter what we’re going through – there is always a small, sweet way that we can say “I love you” that brings a smile to both of our faces.
… Juvenile as it may be…
5. Holding Hands.
When snuggling isn’t an option, we often have to settle for holding hands. We hold hands everywhere we can – even in the car. We talk about how if we have to be in separate beds in the nursing home that if we can’t snuggle there, we’ll hold hands all the way until the end. Pity the nursing home peeps that try to get in between us. We will go all ninja old people on them. That’s how we roll, yo.
4. The Postcard.
You guys: Frank and I have never discussed this. Ever. It’s one of the rules of Postcard Club: we don’t talk about the postcard. Seriously. I was worried that if I shared the postcard, it might lose some of its magic, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take so that our children and our children’s children will know exactly how nuts we are.
In 2005, I took a trip to Utah for work. It was a lovely trip, but only a 2 day adventure. I bought a postcard that I intended to mail to Frank, but never did because I would get home before the postcard would. I gave Frank the postcard and thought it was the end of the postcard. Until I found it tucked in one of my drawers. So I put it in his overnight bag. And he put it in my work bag. And I put it in the cupboard next to his cereal and he put it in my pillowcase.
This postcard has made it through at least 3 moves and 7 years without being lost. Which is more than I can say for about half a dozen spoons, three dinner plates and a shelf.
Whenever I find the postcard, sometimes months between sightings, it always makes me smile.
3. Spanish Radio.
Yes. You read that right. Nothing says, “I love you” like 105.1 FM in Chicago.
See, because we use our SUV for carting around the twins and our sedan for lots of driving/chores/what-have-you, we tend to swap out cars a lot. And even if we aren’t swapping out cars, Frank often is nearby my place of employment to drop off the babies and from time to time, he stops by my car, turns the radio to Spanish Radio and cranks the volume.
While some people live in fear of turning the key in the ignition and a bomb going off, I live in fear of turning the key in the ignition and being bombarded with the music stylings of an enthusiastic mariachi band.
But as soon as I peel myself off of the ceiling of my car and get my wits about me, I remember that it is just a small way of Frank saying “I love you” using the only Spanish he remembers from high school. Note: Aside from finding Spanish Radio formats on the dial, he can also say “The cat is on fire” and “The cat is in my pants.” What can I say? I’m smitten…
2. Our Rings.
For most married people, their wedding bands are a symbol of the promises they made to one another. You know, the part where I lied and told Frank I loved to cook and could not wait to cook all.the.time? (And now Frank does 99.9% of the cooking)
But for us, our rings are also a symbol of our love (which is probably what it symbolizes for everyone else, too… we aren’t very original in that department… but whatever this is our top 10 list!).
I’ll spare you most of the schmoopy details, but basically it went like this:
Me: I love you, Frank.
::Cue the music, the soft lighting, the raw romance. Soap operas and love stories could learn something from this kind of passion.::
Frank: Aw, I love you, too babe.
After a few seconds of analysis.
Frank: If you were to quantify your love for me, how much would you say you had?
Me: This much!
Frank: (furrowing his mighty eyebrows) Which way?
Me: (exasperated) Always!
And so when Frank and I were engaged, we each separately decided to engrave a message on the inside of the other’s wedding band. On the day of our wedding, after the vows and rings were exchanged, we couldn’t wait to slip off our rings to see what the other wrote on the inside. When I slipped the ring off of my finger and turned it into the light, I saw that, magically, we both wrote:
“I know where you live.”
Ha ha. Just kidding.
We each engraved: “This Much, Always. 09-19-03”
I mean, occasionally we do get things right.
And so, when we look at our wedding bands, it is a constant reminder of our love – and that I don’t cook. Ever. Except when I get in the mood. But really, let’s be honest: dude has to cook all of the meals.
And, last, but not least:
1. We Love to Make Each Other Laugh.
Sure, I guess that’s been the under-riding theme of this entire post. But truly, nothing delights either one of us more than the other being delighted.
Eventually Frank’s series of Panda captions became his Anniversary Card to me one year.
And for Frank’s Golden Birthday, I surprised him with a few of his closest friends and some bread pudding. He was delighted!
And so, in summary, we are probably certifiably crazy. But that’s OK: we’re crazy together.
To Frank, I say, “Thank you for being my friend!”
… “Travel ’round the world and back again. Your heart is true, you’re a pal and a confidant! And if you threw a party! And invited everyone you knew! You would see, the biggest gift would be from me and the card attached would say, ‘THANK YOU FOR BEING MY FRIEND!'” (Sung loudly, totally off-key and with heart because really, if you don’t sing it with heart, what’s the point??)
Extra Credit: Name that TV show theme song. Nate? You got this one?