On Being a Bad Wife

Let me tell you two things about my husband: his love language is Quality Time and if he ever finds out that I talked about him and a “love language” in the same sentence, he’s going to melt into a huge puddle of embarrassment that his wife is so, you know….embarrassing.

I’m pretty sure he puts love languages and personality types (he’s an INFP, in case you’re wondering) right up there with palm readings and fortune cookies.  But does that stop me from taking the quizzes as if I were him so I can put handy dandy labels on us so I can feel just a little more in-the-know about managing this whole marriage business?  H-E double L-Z no!

So, his love language is Quality Time.  For him, us sitting on the sofa before dinner and discussing which dog breed has the most personality and whether or not he should make a fake workout video for my entertainment is the ultimate way to relax and recharge before we launch into the mayhem of feeding the small humans and corralling them into bed.

Mine is Acts of Service.  Nothing says “I love you, Dweej” more than fixing that sticking bathroom door knob.  I know.  I’m so romantic.

Here’s the part where being a bad wife comes in: for years and years and years, I’ve been telling myself that I should do things around the house to make him happy (’cause isn’t that what good homemakers do?) and avoid “wasting time” by sitting around and having inane conversations.

Yes, I’ve been trying to talk to him in my language instead of his.

Then I act all confused when he’s high strung in the evenings and can’t relax.  Yeah, I’m pretty perceptive.

The other day I decided to put my little theory to the test.

I asked him how his day had been and didn’t try and load the dishwasher while he answered.  I didn’t walk around the house putting away laundry while hollering “Don’t worry, I can still hear you!  Keep talking!” over my shoulder.  I didn’t interrupt him right in the middle of a sentence to say “Hey Paul, can you take this toy to the play room?”  I just sat on the edge of the bed.  I told him about things.  He told me about things.  The kids ran amok elsewhere.

And he was calm and peaceful during dinner.  So I was calm and peaceful.  And then, because of that, he had the energy to water the garden and file some paperwork and get the boy ready and into bed.

Acts of Service!  I feel so loved!

Note to self: speak to people in their own language and they’ll probably understand you better.

Maybe there’s hope for me after all.
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Dwija Borobia lives with her husband and their four (soon-to-be-five!) kids in rural southwest Michigan in a fixer-upper they bought sight-unseen off the internet. Between homeschooling and corralling chickens, she pretends her time on the internet doesn’t count because she uses the computer standing up. You can read more on her blog house unseen. life unscripted.


Dwija Borobia lives with her husband and their five kids in rural southwest Michigan in a fixer-upper they bought sight-unseen off the internet. Between homeschooling and corralling chickens, she pretends her time on the internet doesn’t count because she uses the computer standing up. You can read more on her blog house unseen. life unscripted.

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  • lifewarrior_staygolden

    wow… I can so relate to this!  I am STILL trying to learn to speak my husband’s love language, and it’s been almost 18 years and 6 kids.  Thanks for the great post!

  • Happy Friday.

    Love language…LOLOL.  Sorry, not laughing at you, I’d just never considered this.  Not that I know either of you, but I’m dying picturing the creator of ThatDonkeyGuy, in all his humor and sarcasm and down-to-earthness, cringing while reading this post.  So good.  In almost 13 years of marriage, I’m not sure I even have the slightest hint of what my wife’s love language is…nor she of mine.  Without a doubt, though, I know what drives her insane because I seem to do it on a regular basis.

  • He WILL cringe when he reads this, I can promise you that!  But we’ve been putting up with each other for so long that I was willing to take that risk 😉

  • It’s a constant adventure no matter how long it’s been, isn’t it?  

  • This is so funny, only because that is ME!  Every now and then I remember “his” language, and all goes well for awhile.  Then we’re back to chaos!  Thanks for the reminder!   It’s time to change “my’ language AGAIN!

  • Ha!  We’re flipped over here.  I’m quality time and he’s acts of service.  So on Saturday nights, he makes us all homemade pizza to die for, and I sit in the kitchen with him and keep him company while doing it, and we both get to say “I love you!” in our unique ways.
    And then we have pizza!

  • Mary Kate Dempsey

    Such a good reminder that by serving your spouse, you are really serving your marriage. And, fwiw, those are the 2 love languages in our house, but it’s me that is “quality time” and dh that is “Acts of Service”. LOL

  • Peter Lemieux

    In 2001 I met you at Kyle and Teresa’s wedding. I want to tell you to please keep writing.
    Peter Lemieux

  • Thank you, Mr. Lemieux (I can’t call my friends’ parents by their first names.  I just can’t!).  I so appreciate the support from someone with such a long marriage and wonderful children 🙂

  • Joanna

    That’s all very well, and all very true.  I have seen myself in this situation many times.  But what happens when I make the effort to really listen but he does not?  It has to be a two way effort for things to work.  If I really make the effort to listen when he talks instead of dashing around the house doing this and doing that, but he never does his part, it only makes me angrier and more frustrated.  I have learnt, to expect nothing from my husband.  

  • INFP here too and nothing makes me crazier than when my husband walks away while I am talking to him.  Especially when he asks me a question and then goes into the other room before I finish my answer.  In his mind all he needed to hear was the yes or no, not all the extra explanation.  My husband is all about the acts of service.  I have discovered that nothing says I love him more than remembering to text him that I have arrived somewhere safely.  He is a worrier.  Of course I am always running late wherever I go so I frequently forget!  Joining you in the bad wife club.

  • I want to see the quiz!  It is SO HARD to see things from another person’s perspective at times, no matter how long you’ve been married.  It’s so tempting to think that if he would just do it MY WAY everything would be better (actually I think both of us have said that!).  I am going to try to remember this–thanks!

  • I’m so sorry for your frustration, Joanna.  It absolutely must be a two-way street, I agree.  I’ll keep you and your husband in my prayers.

  • I am SO terrible about walking away just like your hubby does.  I swore after that experiment that I WILL do better 🙂

  • Jillian

    when reading catholic exchange, i have to confess, i dont always pay much attention to who the author is but i am realizing, i am reading and loving alot of your articles Mrs. Borobia. the EXACT same thing happened to us, but in reverse. he is acts of service, i’m quality time. what a relief when we figured that out. 

  • Hmmm… I need to revisit the whole love language thing.  I think ours have changed over the years 😉

    And btw- a Newfoundland has the best personality 😉  Especially with kids!!  Ours LOVES it when the baby crawls all over her and pulls her tail!  Seriously, she does!

  • Mary @ Better Than Eden

    So pretty much I think we xeroxed your marriage and are living it a few states away…

  • Laura

    “But does that stop me from taking the quizzes as if I were him (…)?” Hahaha that sounds so crazy 🙂 You’re a genius.

  • Louise

    Oooh what a thought-provoking post!  I think I’m the quality-time person in our marriage, but I’m not sure what my husband’s love language is.  I’d better find out!

  • I totally need to read that book again to figure out what mine and DH’s are.  I jokingly say his love language is technology because he’s always bringing me gadgets!

  • Maybe it’s “gifts” and he’s trying to tell you to get him gadgets to express your adoration 🙂

  • FYI- hubby read it and 1) was suitably embarrassed and 2) said “Does this mean you want me to fix that bathroom doorknob?”

    What *ever* would give you that idea??? 

  • Gail Finke

    I know it sounds corny but “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus” and the  lesser-known but longer book by the same authors “What Your Mother Couldn’t Tell You and Your Father Didn’t Know” (or is it the other way around?) transformed our marriage when we were much younger. A recent book that also sounds corny but is good, is “Have a new Husband by Friday.” Either your husband is a jerk or you have total patterns (not just one thing that needs to change) that you both follow and that are not good for your marriage. If he is not willing to change, you can still always change what you do, and doing that consistently (the hard part!) will change the overall dynamic, often for the better. The John Gray books are incredibly New Agey, but they worked for me.