Someone send a translator - my husband doesn't understand me!

Who’s read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman? The premise of this book is pretty simple: We all have different ways of expressing and receiving love, so we need make sure we’re expressing our love in our partner’s preferred "love language".

According to Chapman, the five "love languages" are:

Words of Affirmation

Quality Time


Acts of Service

Physical Touch

Chapman says our "love tanks" (stay with me) become empty when our partner expresses their love in a language we don’t understand. You might be expressing love in your preferred love language, but if your partner speaks a different language, their love tank (I know, I’m sorry) will soon run dry.

Unfortunately, my husband’s "Love Language" is "Acts of Service". He feels loved when I do things for him – things like unloading the dishwasher, washing the clothes, putting petrol in the car, cooking the dinner, making him a cuppa.. You know, doing,not talking…

This presents a bit of a challenge to a lazy chatterbox like me.

Housework actually makes me angry. About 20 minutes into it, I start feeling like a caged rat. If I do happen to do some, I make sure I leave visible evidence of it; great big piles of washing on the living room couch, the vacuum cleaner in the middle of the floor, the Spray ‘n Wipe (other brands are available) on the kitchen bench.. Look! I did housework! Even though I hate it SO much! See how much I love you?


I think my Mum played a big part in my aversion to housework. She would often say to us, ‘A tidy house is a sign of a wasted mind’ and ‘What’s the point? It’s just like raking up leaves’.When I got married, she told me never to iron a shirt or it would just be expected.She did give me an excellent cooking tip though: ‘Just cook an onion in a pan and he will come home thinking dinner is on the stove’.

Housework (done properly) is seamless, invisible and constant. It’s also thankless, never-ending and so, so boring.

It’s better to keep up than catch up.

A place for everything and everything in its place.

Bugger that!

So the poor guy has spent the last 17 years with a woman who doesn’t really speak his language. I tell him he has a choice. He can come home to a tidy house and a cranky wife, or a messy house and a happy wife. But in reality I’ve been making that choice for him. Happy wife! Happy, slobby, what’s-the-point-it’s-just-going-to-get-messy-again-anyway wife. Happy, patient, if-I-make-it-all-tidy-I’ll-be-cross-at-the-kids-all-the-time-for-messing-it-up wife. Happy, fulfilled, look-what-I-bought-at-the-op-shop-today! wife.

I know what you’re thinking. Get off your arse and do some housework!


Well, that’s all fine, but I don’t think it’s very fair, because my Love Language is "Words of Affirmation".

Let’s unpack that a little bit, shall we?

‘Nice top!’ takes about one second to say.

Unloading the dishwasher takes at least five minutes.

‘Love what you’ve done with your hair’ = 1.5 seconds

Cooking a roast = 1.5 hours

‘It’s amazing how you stay so incredibly sexy to me, even after all these years’ = 3 seconds, maximum.

Sorting out the toy room = 3 hours, mininum.

‘Your tweets to Q&A tonight were so witty and insightful, darling. I have no idea why they didn’t run them’ = 4 seconds.

Making a cup of tea = 4 minutes.

‘I love that story you told at last night’s dinner party. One of my favourites. It always makes me laugh. I never tire of your anecdotes.. You are so funny. No wonder everybody loves you much. They must be so jealous that I get to go home with you’ = 10 seconds.

Cleaning the bathroom = Um… a lot longer than 10 seconds, I’ve heard.

And yes, before you suggest it, he’s tried attaching words of affirmation to the housework.

Wow! You matched the socks! Aren’t you wonderful!

Look how much washing you got done today. You’re a machine!


I love watching you stack the dishwasher. Totally sexy.

Doesn’t work. The rat still feels caged.

Meanwhile, he’s flat out trying to express his love for me in his own, busy language. And he obviously loves me A LOT.  For example, today.. he mowed the front and back lawns, cooked lunch and dinner, did the grocery shopping, took the bins out, found a gift for a four-year-old, made me a cup of coffee and a toasted sandwich and a milkshake, vacuumed our bedroom, filled the petrol tank in the car.

And yet all he really needed to do to fill my tank was to tell me I still look great in my swimmers, even after three kids.

Seems like we need a translator. Or a cleaner. Or both. Actually, maybe not a cleaner. My husband will mistake all the cleaner's 'Acts of Service’ for true love and they will end up running away together.

No, there’s only one thing for it. I need to get hypnotised into LOVING housework. It will be like an intensive love-language course, delivered straight into my subconscious.

Yes! And I’ll start wearing aprons too, just for that extra zing. It will be hot. He will love the new, re-programmed me so much that the words of affirmation will come spilling out and it will be like we’re on our honeymoon again.

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