All You Need Is Blah

I recently had a discussion with a dear friend of mine (you know who you are) concerning the numerous different ways people show their love.   According to author Gary Chapman, who wrote The Five Love Languages (never read it), the most obvious ways that people show their love are through Affirmation, Gifts, Acts of Service, Quality Time, and Physical Touch.  I personally think most of these overlap (and I'm told the book gets into this).  Not surprisingly (having, for the most part, grown up together) my friend and I quickly came to the conclusion that both of our families have often shown their love in the following ways (which I will now expand on for the purpose of this blog post): 

1) The Giving of Gifts.  Whereas this category obviously includes the most expected form of gifts – wrapped-in-a-box-with-special-occasion-paper (aka Birthdays and Christmas), it also includes other, somewhat non-conventional and often overlooked forms of “gifts.”  For example:  

The Surprise Hoax Gift (my specialty).  Generally intended for laughs alone, The Surprise Hoax Gift comes with two unspoken rules: A) Said gift cannot be alive.  And B) The Giver is not to be offended when the Receiver discards said Hoax Gift into dumpster or re-gifts it at a White Elephant party.  Seriously, the Poor Receiver cannot possibly be expected to keep things like, oh, I don’t know – an ENORMOUS STUFFED CATERPILLAR.  Or a massive beach-ball written upon and mailed (with stamps) as an non-traditional post-card (you can actually do this.  I know).  People just don’t have enough closet room for this kind of stuff.  So laugh and move on. 

The Gift of Time (sometimes falls into the category of Acts of Service).  More specifically, running an errand or doing a favor for someone else.  Actually, this usually goes down as a trade-off (beware of manipulative people who use The Gift of Time as a way to later enslave you).  If you do the dishes for me tonight, I may or may not be here to do them for you tomorrow.  Forget the traditional “If you rub my back I’ll rub yours” – if you rub my back, I will fall asleep.  Read the fine print, sparky. 

Edible Gifts (especially appreciated by starving college kids – no really, they’ll eat anything).  Might also include making and sharing a huge pot of coffee and a batch of chocolate-chip banana bread (this is a hint to my brother Peter, who makes the best banana bread in the world, bar none.  Which I have not tasted in months, even though he made GOBS of it for his church lock-in and then let. Someone. Else. Take. Home. The. Leftovers . . . But I’m over that now).  P.S. My mom keeps saying the word “gobs” (is gobs a word?) and it’s sort of infiltrated my vocab since I moved back to Georgia.   

The Lending of Clothes (and other things).  Mostly occurs between girls of relatively the same size because A) We are sick of what is in our closets and can’t afford to go shopping, or B) We don’t know how to pack.  This type of “temporary gift” is actually meant to be returned (my sister Sarah doesn’t know this yet.  She keeps consigning my clothes at the local thrift store).  This category may also include the lending of things as “small” as books, movies, and cds, to things as “large” as laptops, appliances, and vehicles.  It really depends on how comfortable you are with the person (I don’t know if I’d let my sister Stephanie drive my car).

Moving right along. . .  

2) The Art of Teasing (to us, this eclipses the category of Affirmation).  My siblings and I tend to show our love by teasing each other (What? We wouldn’t say it if we actually meant it).  What with Dishing It Out and Taking It Back, it’s pretty much a fifty-fifty love language.  For example: 

Stupid Teasing.  Includes affectionate name-calling, sarcastic remarks, side-poking, decorating vehicles as The Getaway Car (love you, Matt – hope you and Miley have a happy marriage), and putting mayo in the Oreos.  You know, jokes of the “Oh yeah? Your face” variety.  We were homeschooled, so we don’t really know what went down in a regular middle school – but this is, at least, our version of it.    

Movie Quotes.  We can carry on entire conversations merely quoting lines from different movies we’ve seen together.  Actually, this is more of an extreme talent, I think (or an extreme sign that we really shouldn’t watch so many movies).  Either way, it’s a bonding thing.  There’s nothing quite so thrilling as saying something like, “Mmmm, yum,” in a certain tone of voice and then adding, “What’s that from?” and fully expecting your audience to guess correctly.  (While You Were Sleeping, dad.  “You like jello!”) 

Inside Jokes.  This is what happens in big families.  It’s natural.  We’ve spent an insane amount of time with each other, so we have about a million of these.  Each.  I could put one in here as an example but you wouldn’t get it.  Besides, often as not, it requires inflection, gesture, and facial expression.  I might say, “spinal leakage, NOAH,” and you wouldn’t find it funny because it’s really a “had-to-have-been-there-kind-of-funny.”  Plus I don’t really remember what that one was about in the first place (odd how it can still be funny to us, huh?)  Come to think of it, the title of this blog post is an inside joke. 

Unfortunately, we often fail to realize how this form of showing our affection for one another appears to Outsiders.  If you’re the type of person who loves to tease as well, then eventually (once we’re comfortable with you), we’ll treat you with as much “love” as we do each other.  If not, you will most likely find us offensive and we will make an attempt to take our teasing down a notch or two.  And while we are making a conscious attempt to get better at the Serious Conversations Area of Affirmation, you’ve got to understand that this takes time.  Which basically means it needs to be widely interspersed with "funnies" in order to keep us from freaking out. 

Actually,  I think they covered this in a Friends episode.  You know, the one when Chandler says, “I’m not great at advice.  Could I interest you in a sarcastic comment?”


  1. That was purely fantastic, dahling. I'd aplaud you if I wasn't so busy trying to get air in between the laughter. ;D

  2. Well you encapsulated those aspects of your family nicely.
    I had noticed a lot of those things you said but some I hadn't thought about that much.
    For example, I hadn't knew you guys barrowed each others clothes but I hadn't thought about it under the "love language" context. (Saying this while wearing one of Stephanie’s dresses she was nice enough to lend me.)
    Also I hadn't considered until kind of recently how cool it is that you guys like making jokes to cheer each other up. That really is what's needed sometimes, just laughing it off.
    I totally get the teasing thing because we do that one all the stinken time! It's always a little sad when you're around other people you don't feel that comfortable around and have to say to yourself "OK no making jokes because they might take it the wrong way".
    Sometimes I think our family could use a little more of the light hearted just laugh it off attitude lol.
    However, we are very very good at the "serious conversation area".
    Well thanks! Always cool to see a more of the inner workings of the Kough minds lol ;)

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  4. Aww. . . thanks Engel girls!

    Dear Anonymous - happy you like my work. Unfortunately I couldn't give you a hand with poker because I've only actually played it a few times myself. Good luck with that.

  5. Laugh Laugh Laugh...catch phrase. Wow I really didn't pay that much attention to our family..we really do love each other a lot... we just didn't really know it. Oh well learn something new everyday...or at least say that because it sounds like we learned something new everyday.

  6. I've been meaning to post something profound since reading this, but nothing's coming to my mind! So...

    I wubbles this.

    It's hilarious and brilliant.

    I'm totally buying you a fruit hat for Christmas, by the way.

  7. The movie quotes convos are indeed an extreme talent. We can do a few lines here and there, but we're not quite that talented with move quotes. ;)

    Hahaha! Mayo in the oreos?! Holy cow.
    That would be awful. :P Our family erred toward the healthy side so we never had oreos in the house to mess up..... :(

    We tease quite a bit. My siblings and I, I mean.
    Unfortunately, our mother doesn't exactly like it 100% of the time. Half the time if she's around or catches it, she'll tell us to stop joking. be face on.
    But I say....it's part of a coping mechanism, as well as a vital part of relationships to be able to tease!!
    Anyhow, novel-of-a-comment is over. :D


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