On Thursday, I popped onto my Facebook page and asked:
Sixty (60) comments later, I’d learned a few things about y’all and our marriages. It was enlightening what your answers to my random question revealed.
As usual, I can find takeaways that could apply to other parts of marriage, including the marital bedroom.
Love language matters. Several of those who said flowers weren’t a big deal to them offered other options they’d love to have from their hubby, like “I’d rather go for a walk together” and “I would rather have ‘us’ time than flowers.” I replied to one commenter who said her love language was acts of service about my own leaning: “Now maybe if my flowers came with a long hug… (Affection, #1).”
If you haven’t heard about The 5 Love Languages, it’s a great, easy-to-read book from Gary Chapman that outlines five main ways we can show love to our spouses. As it turns out, if you’re buying your gal roses all the time and Gifts is number 5 on her list, she’s not feeling the love like you intended and your efforts would be better spent elsewhere. On the other hand, if she loves getting flowers and you think that’s stupid, get over it and pick her up bouquet now and then. #justsayin
I think this affects your marital intimacy too, because sometimes the reason your spouse doesn’t want to engage is they don’t feel valued in the relationship. You love them but they don’t feel it at the moment, so when you try to initiate sex it doesn’t go anywhere. Find out his/her love language and learn to speak it, so that your marriage’s overall intimacy grows.
Giving us what we really like makes us feel cherished. Not only do we have a love language, some of us are very particular about what we want. For instance:
“A bouquet from the grocery store I can put in my own vase, yes. Something expensive delivered from the florist, no.”
“Yes as long as they are not from the grocery store.”
“But I hate, Hate, HATE it when he gets a premade bouquet, those to me are too generic and kind of thoughtless. My hubby knows that I want flowers that HE thinks I would like, not what some random person put together.”
“If he picks them yes. I love wildflowers.”
Hmmm. Before you men throw up your hands and declare the female race too complicated to understand, remember you only have one female you need to get this right for. (Or maybe more if you have daughters, but good luck with that.)
Want to know what your spouse likes? Um, ask. Sure, you can also pay attention to how they respond to what you give them or what they like. But I’m big on not playing the “you should know what I’m thinking” game. Half the time, I hardly know what I‘m thinking; I don’t need to responsible for another person’s brain. Ask some questions about what your spouse likes and how they like it, then deliver that if you possibly can.
How does this translate to the bedroom? I truly believe wives in particular do not speak up enough about what they want and enjoy. Not only should we ask our spouse what they like, we should be willing to communicate what we like—whether it’s about flowers or foreplay.
It’s the thought that counts, so think a lot about us. I love finding out my husband was thinking intently about me when we were apart. I discover this in little ways, but it always makes me smile. Likewise, bringing flowers home—if nothing else—communicates hubby was thinking about his wife while he was away. She was a priority in his mind.
Your replies showed this: “I like any thoughtful surprise from my hubby.” “The thought that he would surprise me like that and be so thoughtful is awesome!” “I’m not a flower person either but I love the kind gesture because it shows he was thinking about me.”
I honestly think one of the best things you can do for your relationship is to think positively about your spouse while they’re away. It creates optimism, gratefulness, anticipation, and desire for your mate. And it can translate into wanting to do something special for your honey, whether that’s bringing home flowers or planning a special bedroom rendezvous.
Not now doesn’t mean not later. I love this little story one reader shared:
Our first date was to a hockey game on Valentine’s day, where they were handing out flowers to female fans. I turned them down because I knew I’d be clapping and cheering, and the flower would get trashed by the second period. My now husband took it as I didn’t like flowers, and took him until three years to realize I indeed like them.
I wanted to say, “Good golly, man! You landed a woman willing to let you take her on a FIRST DATE to a HOCKEY GAME for VALENTINE’S? Buy that keeper wife a truckload of flowers and anything else she asks for!”
However, the real reason for including this story is that it illustrates my often-made point that just because you don’t want something right now doesn’t mean you won’t want it later. I say this all the time about sex: That it’s better to say “not now” than “no” to sex and then follow-up with when’s good.
Also, an activity we passed over last night may be well-received tonight, because our tastes can vary based on environment, circumstances, etc. Once again, being able to communicate openly with your husband or wife about your likes, dislikes, and quirks (yes, quirks) can help you get on the same page.
By the way, although I like getting them from time to time, I’m not a big flower person. Gifts is #5 on my Love Language List and I’m terrible with plants, but my hubby knows this about me. Still, even though gifts isn’t huge for me, I wholeheartedly agreed with this wife:
Before I sign out, a little update on the blog. I’m going to give it my best effort to be here three days a week:
- Monday: Q&A with J — answering a reader’s question
- Thursday: My just-kicked-off Feel Beautiful series
- Saturday: Freestyle — whatever’s on my mind
Thanks for your recent input on this ministry.
6 thoughts on ““Do You Enjoy Getting Flowers?” What Your Answers Tell Me About Marriage”
I didn’t respond on Facebook because I didn’t want to say anything negative about hubby so publicly. It really isn’t a negative but others may perceive it as an insult or complaint. Maybe it is….
I would love hubby to get me flowers. When I was a girl, I couldn’t wait to have a man in my life who gave me flowers. I would hold back tears during high school when other girls received bouquets for their birthday, Valentine’s day, or for some achievement and I was empty handed. Once, a male friend bought me a red carnation and I was thrilled! It wasn’t a romantic gesture because we were just friends, but that he thought of me meant so much.
I chose to marry hubby even though he made it perfectly clear that romantic gestures, Valentine’s day, and flowers were not going to be part of our future together.
He buys me other things. It isn’t like he is a miser and doesn’t care. But he buys what he wants me to have and enjoy and not what I want.
Really, though, it isn’t so much about the flowers as it is about him thinking selflessly about me and doing something exclusively for me.
For example, my heart soars those rare times he texts me that he loves me. That means that I am valued enough to have his “work box” shut for a moment and his “wife box” opened just to make sure I am ok.
I’m responding to the “Flowers” post and combining my comments with some general thoughts about Sheila Gregoire’s post re “Beauty.” I am a man, married 52 years, and it took me about 35 of those years to learn enough about my wife to make a positive response to either of theses two posts. Possibly Gary Chapman’s LOVE LANGUAGES books first put me wise to some of this. Or I just happened to learn at about the same time I read Dr. Chapman’s books.
First, where I stand on flowers. As a child, I would pick wildflowers for my mother (the Lord took Mother this spring, after nearly 97 years!). Then testosterone kicked in at about age 13, and I became obsessed with things practical. “Flowers? Who needs ’em?” That was me. One day Sam’s Club opened a store near here, and their floral department was right at the beginning of the grocery section, and they had long-stemmed roses for about $12 for 15. My Dot went into raptures over a bunch of yellow & orange ones, so we bought them. Again and again she’d remark about how beautiful they were. Well, I’d learned already that to make her happy I needed to get her things that she liked. So, yeah, I’ve been buying her roses by the dozen for several years. And she melts all over the floor every time.
Husbands, if you’re reading this, here’s the thing: the quicker you learn something about a woman’s appreciation for beauty the happier you’ll be; the happier she’ll be; and the happier your marriage will be.
And to wives, I add, PLEASE don’t do the thing about “If he can’t figure out what I want, I’m not going to explain.” You’re only extending the agony for both of you. Get his a copy of Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages. If he won’t read it, read it to him. And when he buys you flowers, thank him, kiss him and do something dramatic enough that he “gets it.”
Consider, too, men, that the last thing God made in Eden was a woman. Eve was the crown of God’s creation. There is nothing more beautiful than your wife, naked or clothed. The Song of Solomon is filled with examples of how to help her appreciate her body; and as you practice these examples, she will respond to you like a rosebud opening. Let me give you a practical example, not taken from the S of S, but based on it. She’s wearing a new pair of jeans, and she asks, “Do these jeans make me look fat?” She’s not asking for your studied judgment–she wants affirmation of the beauty of her body, particularly a part of her anatomy that we don’t discuss in public: her backside. The only acceptable answer to that question, is, “NO.” Then follow that with a delicious comment about how lovely her rear end is, and use whatever term for it that she likes best to hear you use. A pat on the bottom might be in order, if you’re alone with her.
Here’s C. S. Lewis’ take on feminine beauty: “The beauty of the female is the root of joy to the female as well as to the male . . . To desire the desiring of her own beauty is the vanity of Lilith; but to desire the enjoying of her own beauty is the obedience of Eve, and to both [Lilith and Eve] it is in the lover that the beloved tastes her own delightfulness” (C. S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength p. 63).
Wow! That . . . from a man who spent most of his life as a bachelor.
Flowers from my husband simply say to me that he was thinking of me and it makes me feel so loved even though gifts are not my love language. It isn’t so much about the flowers themselves, but on the rare occasion my husband has bought me flowers it just meant he wanted to get something beautiful for me and I was on his mind which makes me feel so good!
Unfortunately, my hubby thinks flowers are a waste of money and he doesn’t see why all the fuss, but I’ll keep trying to help him understand. 😉
Sometimes I get through to my hubby better when I use an analogy. Not sure if it will work for you, but…something like “You know how I think watching golf is a waste of time, but you love it? I don’t get it, but I know you like it so I want you to be able to watch and enjoy. Likewise, I’m not asking you to understand why getting flowers feels nice to me, but I’d love to get them sometimes to enjoy.” Just a thought…
Gift giving isn’t at the top of my love language list. Quality time is. But there’s just something about the romance of being given flowers that I just love!
I’ll always remember the two times my husband brought me flowers! I also remember him giving me three James Bond movies and a bar or my favourite chocolate on our first Valentine’s Day. The videos were basically a promise to spend several hours watching them with me, so I loved that. But that kind of thing isn’t his usual style. He wakes up and goes and works hard for me every day. And today he came home to three sickies and asked what one thing I’d really like him to do- asked him to play with my oldest son for a bit, that was really nice after a long day.
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