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Love, Respect and Love Languages Did Not Save My Life!

Love Language

Admittedly I am envious of the fame and fortune of popular Christian books suggesting a better marriage in 5, 7 or 10 steps. Love languages, respect and his and her needs are all pieces of making great marriage.

But so much popular love advice today misses the love language of emotional connection.

On a good, trouble-free day some of these tools are useful. When in conflict or distress, counting on learned relationship skills or behaviors is not enough to calm the emotional centers in the brain. Quite simply, our fears and anxiety must be soothed before our cognitive skills will do us much good.
Some months ago Michael and I put this brain science to the test. A short 10-mile ride would normally be a warm-up for us. Not the case when our destination, the Mountain House in Badger, California sits at an elevation of about 3,000 ft. As is usually the case in uphill battles, my contribution was warrior-like.



Did we make it? Absolutely! So, you may ask, what’s the problem? Gravity! What goes up must come down!

With every single foot of elevation, my fear and anxiety rose to a level where I could no longer think straight.

 We powered our way up the mountain and dismounted our saddles on the porch of the rustic cafe (I know the sign says “saloon”). Our awkward arrival in our bicycle spandex was met by the quizzical glares from the establishment’s regular “bikers”.

Being of little concern in the midst of my panic, I roughly grabbed Michael by the shirtsleeve. My saucer-like tear-filled eyes and  quivering voice stopped him in his tracks. Though he did not understand my next words, he felt them…”I am TERRIFIED of going back down that mountain!”


I knew what kind of speeds were ahead of us, and I was prepared to walk down alone as an alternative to taking that terrifying ride on the bike.

 What Michael did next saved my life (or so it felt in that moment):

  1. He not only saw and heard my terror, he felt my emotion;
  2. He held me and talked softly to calm me and to get my brain out of its fear center;
  3. He cared more about my need for security than his desire to fly down the mountain at great speeds;
  4. Once I was soothed and able to move back into reasonable thinking, he explained how we would safely descend the mountain, braking as much as I needed;
  5. Once we remounted, he demonstrated just how slowly we could go…the speed would be up to me!

At the bottom of the mountain I confessed that without his care and attentiveness to my distress, that would have been my last ride. As you have likely read, we have since had many wonderfully successful adventures on the tandem!

So I suppose on that day anyway, successful marital relationship was about 5 magical steps and the love language of emotional connection!

Until next time,



If you are tired of pushing your way up the mountain alone, consider couples coaching or counseling for a marriage reboot. Call today to schedule your free phone consultation.


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