Money Can’t Buy Me Love
I heard a commentator over the weekend say that the love affair between Ronald and Nancy Reagan would have happened even if he were a shoe salesman. She would have been right there helping him in the shoe store.
I thought that was an interesting comment. And so rarely true of relationships that it saddens me.
We all want security and a sense of self worth and significance. A lot of that can come from our own efforts – but we also want love – and that only comes from others.
This may seem like an odd topic for Planning Sense, but see if it doesn’t tie in. Planning for a successful retirement is more than financial – although that is very important. Without balance in your life, a financially successful retirement isn’t going to be very satisfying.
A successful life is a life balanced in the physical, mental, spiritual, recreational, family, career, financial and social realms. Success in each area means different things. It saddens me sometime how old I have to be before I learn certain lessons. There are things I’ve heard for years but until they are adequately explained, they don’t connect with my brain.
I just had one of those experiences last week when I read a book by Gary Chapman called The Five Love Languages. It taught me a lot of things that I’ve missed over the years and that marriages really do have a chance if you are willing to “speak” the love language of your spouse.
Then, in addition to financial freedom, maybe retirement would be a time of loving togetherness with your best friend instead of what many have told me is a daily avoidance game.
Since retirement is a lot more than just financial freedom, we’re doing a book report on loving relationships.
Even though Gary Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages deals mainly with marital relationship, the lessons hold true for all family and close friendships. In any kind of committed relationship, including parent and adult child, there are issues of trust and security.
Unfortunately, most relationships are on auto-pilot. And we may not even be very happy about where it is taking us. There is a general emphasis in our society – seen especially in advertisements – on I, me and my. That that type of advertising is so successful is an indicator that many of us are buying things to feel better – a sure indicator that our love tanks are on empty.
You’ve heard that analogy, haven’t you? I’ve also heard the expression that marriage is like an empty box in the beginning. You can’t take anything out until you put something in. Many marriages end in divorce because the box of one or both spouses remains empty.
According to Chapman, if what you are putting into your relationship is not a “love language” of the other person, it’s like your box or love tank has holes in the bottom. In other words, it doesn’t do you any good to do a major project on the house if your spouse’s love language does not include Acts of Service. Doing the laundry, cooking elaborate meals, mowing the lawn won’t win you any points or make your spouse feel loved if, instead, their primary language of love is having your time and meaningful conversation. Likewise, giving compliments to someone who would rather have a gift – even a flower from the yard – won’t fill up their tank or make them feel loved.
It’s the old story of what makes you feel good may not mean anything to your mate.
When I was growing up we didn’t always have a lot of money but I always knew I was loved.
I grew up in a family where time was spent together. Meaningful conversation went on and small gifts and hugs were abundant. We would play badminton after cleaning up the dinner dishes. We played board games. We ate dinner together and talked about our day. When relatives came to visit, we all sat around the kitchen table, cooking and talking. Our house was the favorite party locations for the rather large extended family. I can remember get togethers of 50 or more being commonplace – as well as a cousin or two who would stop by just to talk.
I married a man whose family didn’t talk or touch. Acts of service and compliments were more important in his family. We never learned to speak each other’s love language. I don’t think either of us even had a clue that it was part of the work of loving someone. I remember how he would shake his head and go off on his own when we visited my family and we all sat in the kitchen talking. He thought it was a big waste of time and he let me know it.
Divorce is a terrible financial burden on families. A man or women who does not get personally meaningful loving feedback from their mate eventually feels the love has died. Since we all need love, they often go looking for it elsewhere. Then, if they remarry, they will usually go through the same thing all over again. The divorce rate for 2nd and 3rd marriages is much higher than for first marriages.
Why not read this book we’re discussing - The Five Love Languages – or find out if Gary Chapmen is having a seminar you can attend. Rekindling your marriage could not only be a great joy, but also a financial relief.
Maybe by now you are asking – so what are these five love languages?
I’ll give you a list – but you really should read the book.
Words of affirmation
A thoughtful gift
Acts of service
There are variations on all of these. For example, for some people sex is their love language. However, it isn’t usually the love language of their partner. If you are not able to figure out your spouse’s love language and give her what she needs – perhaps quality time or acts of service – it’s not surprising she won’t be interested in speaking your languages either.
The author – Gary Chapman – talks about vacuuming. He grew up in a family where he was forced to vacuum the entire house before he could go out to play ball on Saturday. he swore one day he would marry someone who would do the vacuuming for him. Guess what. His wife’s love language is Acts of service and vacuuming is just about #1 on the list. So what does he do? He vacuums. Not because he likes it – he doesn’t. But because he loves her and it is a meaningful act of love to her.
Did you ever think that taking out the garbage could be seen as an act of love? Don’t just guess what your spouse needs – think about past requests and if that fails then read this book together. You’ll be so glad you did!
Love is a choice. Having the tools to make it work – that takes some study.
We’ve been doing a little book report of Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages, How to express heartfelt commitment to your mate.
In the advising area my background encompasses finance, law and tax. Yet I find the most satisfying part of my business relationships is often the things outside those three areas. A life coach is what I have been called. So if you wonder why Planning Sense sometimes moves into discussions of health and relationships and other areas, those are such important things in life that just taking a narrow look at how to reduce income or estate taxes or increase college financial aid or protect yourself from lawsuits or handle the money you’ve accumulated wisely – while these are all interesting topics, they can lose their luster in a situation devoid of good health and good relationships.
What I wish for you is everything. That’s why we do Planning Sense.
Wonderful friendships and family relationships.
A successful career.
A life of constantly learning new things.
Don’t forget that the back issues of Planning Sense are on the web at www.planningsense.com. You can find the radio text from the past three years in the archives. They are arranged by date but the topics are listed. You can also e-mail me from the site. I’d like to hear about lessons you learned from your parents that have lasted through your life. I’ve heard some stories from a few people and if I hear from enough of you, I’d like to do a week talking about their stories – and yours.
Have a great weekend.