How To Fill A Love Tank

The more I’ve loved, been loved, and felt broken, the more I’ve learned about the five different love languages and how important they really are. I’ve always known I’m an in-between and don’t have a primary LL, but over the years I’ve noticed that I need at least a pinch of each to make my love tank feel full. The more love that comes in and warms my heart, the more love I feel like I have to give away.

I need words of affirmation to feel like I mean something to other people. Whether it’s telling me that the words on this site matter or that my company is a joy, words of affirmation are currently tied for the lead of what I need coming into my heart. They’re also headlining what I strive to give every day. I’ve always been a big fan of pen and paper, and I write notes for even the newest of friends. I don’t think there will ever be a time in my life where I don’t write to those I love, and if there is, please come find me to make sure I’m okay.

At our wedding, I decided to write each and every one of my girl friends a letter telling them how much they mean to me and how happy I was they could share that day with me. It took hours of work to finish the pile of notes you see at the top of this picture, but every single one of the girls who came to support us means the world to me, and I wanted to remind them that. I wrote most of my notes well ahead of time — before I even knew what color I wanted our bridesmaid dresses to be, what vendor we’d use for flowers, or what flavor we wanted our cake to be. As with several other things I had imagined, I didn’t actually have the time to put these around at all the tables the day of the wedding, so I’m still slowly handing out the notes, but this was one of the top things I was excited about while planning our wedding.

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Photo Credit: Katie Nesbitt Photography

Physical touch has also been an important part of my life, and having a hand to hold or body to hug is really vital for my heart to feel cared for. It is tied as my most important love language right now. I don’t talk very much about my pain with even my closest friends and family, but I’ve felt like I’ve needed more hugs lately. Something about someone giving you a squeeze makes the world feel like it’s going to be alright, even when you feel like nobody could possibly understand how you feel. For just a moment I forget about anything that is hurting or bothering me and remember how much love I have in my life.

Gift giving used to be my top LL. Even as a kid I loved going to the store to buy presents for birthday parties, Christmas, and even small “just because” gifts with my allowance. I think I learned this language of love from my mom because she was so great at leaving little notes and stuffed animals on my pillow or under the covers for me to find when I crawled into bed at night. This practice carried on into college, which was where I reached far and wide to friends for birthdays and almost every single holiday in an attempt to make people around me feel special and cared for. I spent hours shopping for goody bags to make every Valentine’s Day because I wanted other people to love the holiday as much as I did, even if they were single like I often was. I bought chocolates, cards, nail polish, giant bags of pink and red confetti hearts, and topped the presents off with a mix CD made special for each friend. It’s funny to this day how many people tell me they remember my goofy little playlists. Gift giving is something I find really fun and I think most people feel pretty loved when they get a present that was chosen just for them. It isn’t about the thing, rather it’s the fact that someone spent the time and energy to think about you and do something about it that makes this LL special.

We have two more love languages left. Quality time, and acts of service.

Quality time will always be important to me, but I’ve learned just how necessary the beautiful, magical adjective “quality” is. Time, though a really valuable thing to give someone, is only special if it’s attentive and caring. Electronics make it worlds more difficult to get quality time, and a lot easier to give the excuse that you’ve filled this part of the tank in a friend, family member, or partner. I feel tired a lot and am guilty of plopping down on the couch, only to turn on a repeat episode of Friends or the newest Judge Judy case. Although that time can be spent bonding and laughing over the silliness that ensues, it only fills the “quality time tank” so much. The amount this fills for me lingers around the 15% line, because with a big black box in front of my face, there is only so much I am going to learn and connect with someone else.

Quality time is perhaps the most difficult of the love languages to manage because it does depend heavily on the activity and how present each person is with one another. To one — perhaps with physical touch as the highest of the love languages — snuggling up on the couch and catching a game might be something that really fills up their tank. To another person, however, with words of affirmation being important, talking has to be a larger part of the time spent together to actually be quality enough to fill the tank. Hallmark Christmas movies make me feel more connected to another person than anything else on television because I tend to talk through them and bond over how many errors the producers missed or storylines that don’t make sense.

Finally, acts of service. I tend to write about this love language last, because I understand it the least. This is arguably one of the most practical languages that I absolutely need, but it just doesn’t fill me up the way the other four do. It doesn’t give me a warm and fuzzy feeling or make my heart leap from my ribcage the way everything else seems to. I need this love language desperately, though, to keep my health maintained and feeling good. Mentally I notice all of the acts of service that are performed for me every day and I feel thankful for them, but they don’t offer the same powerful effect that a hug, love letter, or tasty dessert brought from my favorite bakery do. It registers to me that this is love, but it doesn’t fill my heart the way other languages do.

I encourage my friends and family to keep learning about their love languages, as well as their partner’s, family’s, and friends’. I talk about them so much on here because I truly believe knowing more about the five love languages is a fantastic base of any relationship, and they can drastically change how loved a person feels. It really is interesting how all of the languages work together and how much easier it is to love someone when you truly understand them. The most complicated thing about relationships is that none of us are the exact same, and we all need different things to make us feel content and secure at the end of the day. People are dynamic and what they need might change as they grow, so loving someone is a never-ending task. Love is the most worthwhile thing in the world, though, and means so much more when you’ve worked to make it more special.


Do you have any book suggestions for me to read? I’m always plugging The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, so it would be great to hear what y’all enjoy too!

Give A Piece Of Your Heart To Someone

I’m always seeing little graphics that say, “tag someone who needs to hear this,” or, “tag a friend to let them know you’re there for them,” on Facebook and Instagram. While the person who created the thread means well, as do the friends who write, “@insert_name_here” in the comments, that just doesn’t cut it for letting your loved ones know you care about them.

November is a month for thankfulness, so the next few weeks I’d love to challenge you to write love letters to friends and family you care about. A letter is one of the most intimate and personal things you can offer someone; you are giving a piece of your heart and spilling out your feelings on a permanent page.

Is letter writing not really your thing? Then I encourage you even more to sit down at your desk and write a few letters. Often some of the most beautiful notes I get are from people who have scribbly handwriting or don’t use the most eloquent adjectives available in the English language. I realize that these letters are truly written from the heart, and that someone was sitting and thinking about me for an uninterrupted amount of time while they put pen to paper.

If you don’t quite know where to start, some of the subjects you can touch on are why you love the person you are writing to, how they have made an impact on your life, and what they do that you happen to think is incredibly amazing about them. You love them for a reason, and all you have to do is write that down so they can see that and cherish it forever. If nothing else, I challenge you to write three letters in the rest of November. Then, see who really appreciates the note, and make a habit of sending one letter every month. It only takes a few minutes, but is a gesture that can mean the world to someone.

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Bonus: Write a letter to sweet little Jacob. You can count this toward your three for the month, and I promise this will be an effort that won’t be in vain. As someone who saves special letters from readers and loved ones, this gesture means more than you could imagine.

Love Letters

The second Love Language I want to talk about is “Words of Affirmation.” I was really surprised to find that it is now #3 on my LL list, with a pretty big score of “6.” It seems very self-explanatory, but I wanted to share how you can use this LL to enhance your relationship and show your partner love. Words of affirmation are perhaps the easiest to do, as it only takes a matter of seconds to write out a tiny text about how much you love your significant other — and it can be done from halfway around the world, too!

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Ideas to implement this LL:

  • Say “I love you” often. I don’t think these three little words can be overused if you’re with the right person.
  • Telling someone they are handsome or beautiful is important in a romantic relationship, but it’s also important to remember words like “kind,” “thoughtful,” “funny,” and “smart.” Do you guys remember the scene in He’s Just Not That Into You when Scarlett Johansson (Anna) and Kevin Connolly (Conor) play the game with 4 different categories: smart, sexy, funny, and cute, and have to choose 2 for each. Conor mistakenly chooses “sexy and cute,” to which Anna replies with, “Nobody wants to be all in one column!” People like to know that you find them attractive in more ways than one, which is why we shouldn’t neglect the looks or personality column when giving words of affirmation.
  • Remind your significant other that you are there for them, even when things are hard. Especially when things are hard. Something I’ve always told my best friends, family members, and significant other is that we only have to take turns being strong. As long as one of us can offer a shoulder to lean on, the other can try to get back on their feet. Some days I’ll feel sick and weak and need extra help getting through the day, and others my significant other might need a boost. As long as we’re in this life together and offer each other love and support, we can get through anything.
  • Write your bae lots and lots of love letters. Letters are amazing because even when you’re away you are able to leave a little piece of your heart with someone. If you asked me what my 5 most cherished possessions were, my box full of letters would be on the list — along with Robert’s dog tags and jewelry he has given me, Paws — the stuffed dog I’ve had since I was a baby, my journals, and pictures of my friends and family. I have an entire box dedicated to the deployment, which holds memories from before Robert left, a stuffed bear he won me, and all the letters he’s ever given me. Letters are a great way to remember feelings at different times in your life, which is why I like them so much. I try to write my loved ones enough letters to keep a little “diary” of our different stages in life, and anyone who knows me will tell you I am terrible for the environment because of how much I write.
  • Going off of my last point, I think snail mail is a great way to send your partner words of affirmation. Whether they live 700 miles or 7 minutes from your house, getting a handwritten note in the middle of your day is sure to make it a lot brighter. Don’t forget to write more than just a “to,” and “love,” though. People who cherish words of affirmation tend to look less at what Hallmark has to say and more about what you have to say to them.
  • A text or little post-it note is also a fantastic way to use words to show love. Any of my old roommates will tell you I’m obsessed with the post-its, and I think most of them have taken that habit with them to new friends and roommates.
  • Write a song or poem about how you feel. These are gifts your partner will treasure in their heart forever.
  • Words of affirmation are great for special occasions, but life is so short that I believe you shouldn’t save important things like words for a special date. Use them every day, and watch how your relationship grows and blossoms with other love languages following the words of affirmation.

Words of affirmation are great to compliment any love language. Attaching a note to a gift, saying “I love you” after a kiss, expressing how much you loved a date, and writing a little thank you letter after your partner did something kind are all fantastic ways to use words of affirmation in everyday life.


What do you think about words of affirmation? How else could you tell someone you love them?

Come back tomorrow for tips on using another LL. 🙂

The Past Isn’t Greener

This is a letter I want to “send” to the couple of exes who still aren’t over us, but I want anyone who can’t get over an ex to let this resonate with you too. Everyone deserves a fair chance to find love, and thinking about your past isn’t going to help you move towards the beautiful future you want.


Dear Ex ,

You’ve always wanted what you can’t have. Happiness was always just one short leap away — until you took the plunge and missed.

The grass is always greener on the other side. You tried so hard to get me to date you, and when you finally had my heart being with me wasn’t what you had pictured. I’m not perfect, and that’s okay, but perfection is what you often strive for.

Now that we’re not together anymore you feel like you made a mistake breaking up with me. I wanted to write you this letter to let you know that you didn’t. Even though I wanted nothing more than to keep you at the time, deep down I think I always knew you weren’t really mine. To all the guys who have ever dumped me and regretted it — I would have eventually gotten the courage to leave. We weren’t right for each other. You are smarter than you think.

I really hope this letter gives you closure and helps you move on. Just because we weren’t a good fit doesn’t mean you don’t deserve someone who will love you the same way — or even better than I did. There are so many amazing, kind, thoughtful, and genuine girls in the world that you will surely find others who will steal your heart. When you find “the one” girl you hope to keep, treat her well. Don’t expect perfection and laugh at her flaws instead of criticizing them. Embrace your differences and take them as an opportunity to learn from each other and grow. Don’t compare her to me. Comparing people really is comparing apples to oranges. You have a tendency to idealize our relationship and only look at the beautiful parts we left behind — don’t forget that we were deeply flawed. Don’t forget that I am a human being, which means the perfection you remember is very skewed.

Finally, don’t be afraid to give away your heart again. Just because I broke it doesn’t mean every girl will. I’m not powerful enough to shatter your heart permanently; it will surely heal, and one day you’re going to meet someone who fits with you so perfectly that your heart will finally feel like it’s home. I was just a small story in your journey to find love.

Even though you aren’t in my life anymore I still care about you, want the best for you, and even pray for you when you cross my mind. I still don’t want to be friends — we both have enough of those already — but I want you to know that you can, and will, be happy with someone else. I know it hurts sometimes to see me with someone new. This is actually amazing, though, because I was always the one in our relationship who felt too much. If my heart can heal from something I thought would destroy me, yours surely will too.

Wishing you nothing but the best,
Your Ex Girlfriend

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Today’s lesson: `Don’t be afraid to fall in love again. Some girls may break your heart, but one day someone amazing is going to just stick. Keep trying until you find her. She is your forever — not me — so don’t waste your time wondering about us anymore. We have some great memories together, but imagine having someone to make memories with who will be by your side for always. That’s who your heart will beat fast for.

Dear Soldier,

You tell me not to worry about you and that you’re safe where you are — that’s cute.

If I didn’t worry about your safety I would worry about our relationship. You are in a country I would not be allowed to travel to even if I wanted to. I follow world news like I never have in the past. I pray every single day for you, and life has never felt quite as fragile as it does right now.

The days without you go by slowly, but the months feel even slower. How are you not home yet? Most of the time I am awake you are sleeping or at work. You don’t always have Internet, so I try to distract myself when I haven’t heard from you and do all I can to stay strong for you. In my old relationship if I had gone a day without hearing from my significant other but he was active on social media I would be angry. With you, though, it’s the biggest relief. It means you’re safe. I feel secure in our relationship, even from thousands of miles away or a few days of silence because I know you still care for me, as I do for you.

Even before we met I cried happy tears when I saw videos of soldiers’ homecomings. I still do, but now I just can’t wait until that is finally us. I wonder what it must feel like to have your soldier finally home; I don’t know if I can even handle that much excitement. The past 7 months that’s just been a dream of mine. Have you ever won the jackpot in the lottery? Your homecoming will be even more exciting than that. Most people never get to have a day filled with such pure joy and relief. I would choose having you home over any amount of wealth the world could offer.

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One of the hardest days of my life was saying goodbye.

I’ve learned that you can’t take time with someone for granted, and I know I’ll be able to appreciate you even more when you’re home again. Right now our love is hard and hurts my heart, but one day the word “deployment” won’t bring the same kind of anxiety and sadness. Instead, it will be something I can say we conquered — together.

I love you. Be careful with my heart and stay safe.

Fifteen Fun Facts

Our little Single in The Suburbs family has grown quite a bit lately, so I thought I would do a fun little list to help introduce myself to all of our new readers (Thank you, Kalika, for inspiring me to narrow my number down to 15!).

Without further ado, here are 15 fun facts about me:

  1. I love all things Thomas Rhett. I love his music, his Instagram feed, and his relationship with his life Lauren. I think they’re adorable and despite it being hard to judge from social media, I do think they seem like really genuine people.
  2. Writing is literally one of my favorite activities. Sometimes I would rather write than go out with friends on the weekend (But I’ll usually take someone up on an offer to hang out if I’m free).
  3. Every time I cash a check I go shopping to find someone I love a little present. Giving gifts is probably my biggest love language, which can be tough since I don’t have a “real job.”
  4. Sometimes I play a game with myself to see how many grumpy-looking strangers I can get to smile back at me.
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    This is what I think I look like…

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    This is probably closer to reality.
  5. Valentine’s Day is my favorite holiday. Actually, it’s probably even my favorite day of the year despite hating the cold weather February brings. I’ve always loved it, even when I was super-single, because I feel like it’s a day you can kind of go crazy in writing cards and giving gifts — my two favorite things. Oh, and it’s a good excuse to eat a ton of chocolate — not that I need a specific day to tell me to do so.
  6. If I could be friends with any celebrity I would hands-down choose Selena Gomez. I think she’s beautiful, talented, and a great role model even with the mistakes she’s made… And I feel like we have a lot in common — especially now that she’s been diagnosed with a chronic illness as well.
  7. I don’t feel comfortable eating things when I know they’ve been genetically modified. Sadly I think the majority of packaged things you’d get at the grocery store — and even fruits and veggies — are GMOs, but I am hoping we’ll eventually follow  Europe’s lead and ban them. It just doesn’t seem healthy, and ever since I got sick without knowing why I wonder what in the environment could have caused my sudden illness.
  8. I don’t like cats, and they don’t like me. Just because I’m not a fan, though (Would you like things that scratch and bite you nonstop?!), doesn’t mean I don’t want the best for them. Growing up we rescued 2 cats from the street, and I think every animal deserves a loving home.

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  9. I get really embarrassed when I have to order things at restaurants or Starbucks because I hate being high maintenance, but I developed several allergies as an adult — apparently that’s a typical thing for POTS. Who would have known?!
  10. That being said, my order at Starbucks is a grande salted caramel hot chocolate made with soy milk and with half the amount of syrup. And if they ask, I can’t say no to whipped cream!
  11. This shouldn’t be a big surprise to anyone, but I absolutely love letter writing. I keep all the cards and letters friends give me, and still have every love note I’ve been written. Along with gift giving, I show my love for others through words on paper.

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  12. The thing that impresses me most about people is the ability to be kind to others — especially when it’s a really hard thing to do.
  13. I do most of my shopping online because I often get too tired to go to a bunch of stores at the mall. I just signed up for Ipsy, and am stoked to get my first box next month. I’ll be writing a review on it later, but if you want to join me feel free to sign up under my account. My next venture is going for the Fab Fit Fun box, but I don’t want to splurge that much on myself all at once. Subscription boxes are just so darn fun since you are essentially paying other people to buy you a present!
  14. If I could be good at one thing I would choose being musically gifted. I would love to have a great singing voice, as singing is one of my favorite things to do! Sadly I don’t have that gift, so unless we’re crazy-close you’ll probably never hear me sing.
  15. Instagram is my favorite social media site. I love that you can share your life with strangers and that you can share a story with a fun photo. I’ve actually made a few friends on the site who have been a huge support system for me, too, which is awesome!

My Secret Admirer

I have a kind of fun throwback this week. I’ve been cleaning out my room and happened to find a bunch of letters I received in college. Some were from pen pals, others from my ex, and even more from my mom and roommates. This was one that I had completely forgotten about receiving my first Valentine’s Day at school. I had a secret admirer who didn’t reveal himself until years later, even though I kind of had a hunch back when I received it.

The letter was so beautiful that I got his permission to publish it! Enjoy the only letter I have gotten from a Secret Admirer before (But you only really need one, right?):


 

Dear Krista,

“Life is divided into three terms — that which was, which is, and which will be. Let us know from the past to profit by the present, and from the present to live better in the future.” — William Wordsworth

This quote has always been of inspiration and of compassionate intelligence to me, so I hope sharing it with you will be of some great meaning and benefit you in the same ways, and in those which it has not. Normally, Valentine’s Day is not a day which I find overly exciting, however, I find myself giddy with excitement like a young child before Christmas morning! Hopefully this letter reaches you as the first and most enjoyable of the day, but I most certainly hope you enjoy the rest of this special day’s treats. Ideally I would have hoped to personally deliver this letter to you; however, that would defeat the purpose of being a secret admirer! Either way, this should wake you with a smile.

I find you to be the most intoxicating girl I have ever met, you are beautiful in ways I never thought possible, and unique in every way I thought impossible, and I get drunk on your unique personality and genuinely beautiful smile. This makes you a very special girl, and not one to be taken lightly. As I hope to show you through this letter, I do not take you lightly, I do not take you for granted, and I do believe you are everything that every man should be looking for in a lady. You are a strong, independent woman, of that I am sure, and I would never want to stand in the way of your hopes and dreams, especially because they are a prominent piece of your personality. I think you are the most beautiful girl I have ever known, you are sweet, caring and kind, and sometimes I think you might be too much of some of these for your own good. Your sarcasm is hilarious, it makes me laugh uncontrollably and it is one of the reasons I cannot get enough of you, it it such an unconventional trait for you to have, or so I think, and I find that it throws me for a twist every time it shines through. My favorite thing of all, though, is undoubtedly, oh wait, I cannot tell you such a thing, because it would give me away and this is most certainly a “secret admirer’s” letter. I hope by now you are blushing and in deep thought of who this mysterious person could be that is writing you such an adoring, shall we call it, a love letter? Hmmm? Why not, it is Valentine’s Day and I do love who you are, as well as care for you no matter what, you will always be someone I cherish, because you are an incredible person. If every girl were more like you, this world would be a better place, and that is something I respect you for most sincerely.

If this were another letter, I would begin to share with you some of the most treasured times I have shared with you, but I am afraid that if I would do so now it would certainly reveal my mysterious identity and this “secret admirer” letter would be ruined. I cannot see myself doing that for obvious reasons, one being what an amazing job I have done thus far, and the second most important being the effort I have put into said “amazing job” (unsure of why I put quotations around that, ait sort of makes me seem like I am mocking my effort and that in reality this letter is in no way amazing, haha). With all that being said, and with using my first and last “haha, or lol, or any other common poor writing technique/slang terminology,” I would like you to know that I am smiling most endearingly at the thought of all the great times I have spent with you, and I hope that in your heart you too are smiling, if not because of the times we have shared together, than because you should read the rest of the letter knowing that you have made me a better and happier man.

Lastly Krista, I know that you are knowledgeable in the field of writing, so please do not critique me too harshly, please and thank you!

With pleasure and love,
Your Secret Admirer

PS — within the line beginning “Lastly” there is a clue as to who I am, if you figure it out and you believe me to be the writer of this letter and you present said clue to me from that line, I will have no choice but to tell you the God’s honest truth as to whether or not I wrote it, but just to be clear, you must know the correct clue that I have given you, and you must be sure of it. Therefore, you should not present the accusation of me being the “secret admirer” as a question, more so as a statement and the correct clue as your reasoning.

“I told her, how he pin’d and ah!

The low, the deep, the pleading tone,

With which I sang another’s Love,

Interpreted my own.

She listen’d with a flitting Blush,

With downcast Eyes and modest Grace;

And she forgave me that I gaz’d

Too fondly on her face!”

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