What love language do you speak?

I have a secret to confess.

I am currently reading a self-help book. There, I said it.

While I haven’t gone full-on Bridget Jones, I’m definitely moving in that direction. But it is ok, I was a psychology major in school. This is just continuing my education, right?

The book that I am reading is called The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman. Now before you start making assumptions about my marriage, let me tell you, it is fine. It is better than fine, it is great. Matt and I are coming up on our first year of marriage next month and the 11th year of our relationship next week. I am amazed by how exciting and new our relationship still feels. And I am truly amazed by how I am constantly reminded why we fell in love 11 years ago.

That being said, I am a big believer in the saying “never stop learning.” I think it is important to apply this to all aspects of your life: never stop learning at your job, never stop learning about yourself, and never stop learning in your relationship. And even though Matt and I have been together for more than a decade, I’m the first to admit that we still have a lot to learn about each other.

The Five Love Languages highlights the importance of being able to express love to your spouse (wow, that word makes me feel old) in a way that your spouse can understand. He calls this type of communicating using the five love languages. The five languages are Words of Affirmation, Quality of Time, Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. You can take a quiz to determine what language of love you prefer, here.

Now, I’ve only reach the chapters on Words of Affirmation and Quality of Time, but I am really enjoying the book. It is definitely bringing me back to college and the days when I spend my days in classes like Personality Psychology, The Psychology of Romantic Relationships and The Science of Happiness. Also, I am learning more about myself and the type of love language that I “speak”. I am starting to realize that I speak to Matt in the way that I want to be spoken to, not the way that is best for him. But enough about me, this isn’t a therapy session…

If you are a quality of time person, the book suggests, making a list of all of the activities that you enjoy doing with your spouse. I can definitely see myself in this “language style” so I thought it would be fun to create this list.

Unfortunately, after reading it over, it made me realize how big a nerd I am and how addicted to TV I have become.

A Few of My Favorite Things to Do with Matt

1. Go on long bike rides (however, this is becoming less and less fun as Matt gets more and more in shape and I can’t keep up)

2. Watch House Hunters on HGTV and predict which house they will go with.

3. HBO & ice cream on Sunday nights

4. Receive a note in the mail at work from Matt

5. Hold hands

6. Go to brunch in Brooklyn

7. Do arts & crafts together (this essentially never happens, but the few times it did, I loved it)

8. Watch New Girl and talk about our shared crush on Jess

9. Cook/Bake (particularly when Matt helps me as the sous chef)

and of course 10. Drink Bloodies with our 3rd wheel at Daddy-Os.

So feel free to judge me for reading a self-help book and for actually doing one of the “activities” that it suggested. Just remember, when Matt and I are old, wrinkly and still happily married, I am going to laugh in your face.

(via)

The Happiness Project

I recently read a new book titled “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin. I have to tell you, sorry Matt, that I think that I have found my soulmate.

Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon in the unlikeliest of places: a city bus. “The days are long, but the years are short,” she realized. “Time is passing, and I’m not focusing enough on the things that really matter.” In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to her happiness project.

Gretchen wasn’t necessarily unhappy, she has an amazing husband and two loving daughters, but she realized that she wasn’t as happy as she would like to be. After researching the root causes of happiness and the psychology behind the feeling of happiness, Gretchen tackled a new set of resolutions every month: give proofs of live, ask for help, make time for fun and forget about results. And instead of drastically changing her life, she focused on improving the life she has already build.

During parts of the book, I felt as if I was reading about my own life. Gretchen and I seem to have very similar personailities:

  1. We both seek recognition for our accomplishments (i.e. we are always looks for the gold star),
  2. We nag our husbands and want them to be excited about the chorse we dole out, and
  3. We both get caught up in all of the things on our to do list that we forget why it is we are doing these things in the first place.

When I read the conversations between her and her husband, I could almost hear my own voice saying those same things to Matt. It was very surreal experience to read her  thoughts throughout the book; thinking the exact same things.

I began my own happiness project a year and a half ago when I began this blog. Like Gretchen, on paper, I had (and still have) a pretty good life. But I wasn’t as happy as I thought I should be. I was focusing on all of the negatives in my life instead of on the little things that make life so amazing. And while my project is a lot less organized that Gretchen’s; I think it is working. I can definitely say that I am much happier than I was when I started this blog.

But I am the first to admit, I still have a ways to go. I still want Matt to wantto take out the trash. I definitely still seek those gold stars. And I am still cranky if I am tired and/or hungry. But thanks largly to Robin Hood, my happiness in life has improved. As Steve Jobs said, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

Thank you for following, commenting and supporting my happiness project. And don’t worry –  it is far from over.

Book Club

As a child I was always under the impression that I was a bad reader. Not only was I slow, but I enjoyed reading books that were “young.” As a result, I often found myself choosing other activities over reading: doing art projects, riding bikes outside and cleaning my room. These were activities that I liked and ones that I believed I was good at. It wasn’t until I reached 5th grade that I realized I was a very good reader. I was just living in the same household as someone who was a prodigy reader, my sister.

Abby is an amazing reader. Not only does she read books at a mind-blowing pace, but she also started reading very advanced books at an early age. She read the entire Nancy Drew series before she hit 3rd grade. She finished over 100 of the Baby Sitters Club Books by 4th grade. And she blew through the Lord of the Rings Trilogy by 5th grade. Very quickly, she moved from the “young adult” genre to reading the same books as my mother. While I was working my way through the Goosebumps collection, my sister was reading Mary Higgins Clark novels. On one trip to visit my grandparents, Abby finished all of the books she brought with her for the trip by the second day, so she decided to pull something off of my grandparents’ shelves.  After Abby read more than 100 pages of The Clan of Cave Bear my mother caught on to Abby’s book choice and quickly ended it.  To this day, I still think of that book as “too mature” for me and steer clear of it when I browse the isles.

 

Abby was never without a book and when she was reading you couldn’t pull her away from the stories found within the bound pages of these books. She would get lost in the stories of Billy Coleman and his dogs, Jo March and her sisters, and Anne of Green Gables was one of her most kindred spirits. Trying to entice her in a game of Candy Land or Monopoly became an impossible task if there were unread books around.

Thankfully, I was able to realize that my reading abilities were strong as well. I found friendship with the Box Car Children and the Hardy Boys. I cried alongside Jess Aarons when his best friend Leslie Burke died after slipping off the Bridge that lead to Teribethia. I fought, alongside Annemarie Johansen, against the Nazis to save her best friend in Number the Stars. And I got into trouble with Ramona Quimby and Pippi Longstocking.

    

I have been forced to read more mature books as I’ve grown up; however I am happy to say that I have read The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, all 7 Harry Potter Books, and the entire Twilight saga.

Matt has a very different sense of style when it comes to prefered literature than I do. While I will read a Sophie Kinsella novel (author of the Shopaholic series), Matt’s literary preference is anything that has to do with finance. Our bookshelves at home are lined with biographies of Warren Buffet and “thrilling” tales of the stock market’s past ups and downs. Last year he decided to branch out (only slightly) and read Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. While it took him months and months to complete this novel, he raved about the stories of Dagny Taggart and Rearden Metal. Eventually he finished the book and convinced me that this was something I had to read.

Reluctantly I put down my “beach books” and picked up the 1,100+ pages of Atlas Shrugged. I lugged the book, which weight close to 10 pounds, back and forth to work.  I started reading the book at a good pace, but slowly lost interest. The story of extreme government control didn’t hold my interest and the fascination of Dagny, the only female character in the novel, wasn’t as appealing to me as it had been to Matt. It was a struggle to continue to read, what I thought was an unrealistic, extreme version of governing, when I knew there were countless other books I would rather be reading.

I plugged along,  knowing that I had promised Matt I would finish this novel. Thankfully, last night at 12:45am, after months and months of reading, I finally closed the pages on Dagny, Hank, Francisco and John Galt for the last time. I have come to two conclusions after reading this novel: 1. I really want a bracelet made out of the blueish green Rearden metal and 2. Matt owes me, big time.

So while I am happy that I finally finished this book, and can move on to more interesting book, I feel as though I lost precious reading time. Oh well, who is John Galt anyway?