I have had a love affair with words as long as I can remember. To me, there is nothing more beautiful and inspiring than an eloquently crafted sentence, spoken or written, whispered in secrecy or belted from a rooftop. An extended metaphor with more symbolism than an American flag, flying at half-staff, makes my knees weak and my heart swoon. A simile bounding with stark comparison, welding two very different expressions in perfect harmony, leaves me breathless and begging for more. Words are my fetish, my drug of choice, and they hold the keys to my heart.
Knowing this about myself, how on Earth could a girl like me, fall in love with an incredibly reserved man, of very little words. On our first date, my future husband mouthed three words to me. No, not “You look Amazing” or “You look Pretty” or “I like you” and certainly not “I love you”. No, he simply answered a question with “I don’t know.” I was blown away. Blown away that I agreed to go on second date, then a third date, and on and on.
Blame my desire for more, on chemistry. We were drawn to one another, a physical attraction that could not be denied, almost insatiable at times. In a lot of ways, we complemented each other. Where he was weak, I was strong and vice versa. I was his voice when he had trouble finding the words, and he was my conscience when I lost my moral compass.
But, could I live without the murmur of sweet nothings, or the beauty of, a declaration of love and admiration, hand written, and tucked away, for future reading. Could his actions really speak louder than words?
His love for me, he constantly unfolded in a tale of gestures and feats. He picked me up and paid for every single date. He called every single night. He held my hand in the car. His arm permanently wrapped around my shoulder. He never forgot a birthday or anniversary. He never failed to show me how he felt every single day but it wasn’t enough, not for me.
I needed more. I needed actions with words. I told him how I felt and that I needed to know in “words” exactly how he felt about me.
“Tammy, haven’t I showed you in every possible way? Isn’t it obvious?” he asked his voice raised an octave and flashing with anger.
“Yes, but I’ve not heard you say the words,” I pleaded. The words every girl longs to hear.
I continued to make my case, and he continued to make his, profoundly clear. We cracked and broke, ripped and torn, the seams unraveled. We parted ways that night without a promise of return. I was certain we were finished. We were just too different. I had nothing left to say, and there was nothing more he could do, or so I had thought.
The mere thought of losing him forever sent me crashing into wet mess of tears and mournful regret. I wanted more than anything to take it all back. I had changed my mind. I didn’t need pretty words, sentences or paragraphs. I just needed him.
Apparently, he had a change of heart as well. Our separation lasted less than 24 hours, but things were different. Our relationship had turned and shifted. It became something new, because we were willing to bend. I learned to listen not only with my ears but with my eyes as well. His actions began to speak to me louder than his lack of words. In turn, he began to talk with a little help from his heart. He gave me the affirmation I yearned for in all forms of expression, verbal and non-verbal, and together we learned the beauty of compromise. I hope you have too!