March 18, 2014

do you have a secret code?

do you have a secret code or language you share with your partner? 

yangkyu and i made one up when certain family gatherings became a little overwhelming. don't get me wrong. i love yangkyu's family members and they are a great bunch of folk who know how to love, have fun and take care of one another. despite them being such loving people though, i have often felt like fish out of water. i think most of it stemmed from not understanding the culture. his family is a bit more rooted in korean culture, while mine isn't, and so it was hard for me to understand and get used to traditional male and female roles during certain holidays and ceremonies and the usage of honorifics {there are so many titles}. so in order to let yangkyu know when i was having a hard time {without making a big scene or being rude about it and at the moment i was actually feeling in a pinch}, we decided that every time i pull on my ear it would be a sign, a code, for him to know that i was feeling a little like fish out of water.

the first time we tried out our little code it didn't go down too well. i was tugging at my ear for a good while until yangkyu finally noticed. and instead of being discreet about it, he froze. then his eyes got really big. and then he did this little head nod {while his eyes were still big} as if he was silently asking me if that was our code or if i was just tugging at my ear for the heck of it. i am literally laughing out loud as i recollect this moment because his face expression was just so priceless. but at that moment i wanted to kick him in the shin. needless to say the tugging ear trick didn't work and so now i just simply text him. usually a confused faced emoticon. and it works. now i'm able to get away from the bigger crowd and just have space to breath or yangkyu pays closer attention to help me understand the awkward culture shock moment i am going through. 

i was wondering if other couples also have a secret code or language they share. not necessarily to get themselves out of a pinch but something special that only they know. i've heard of few couples who make up codes to let each other know when they wanted to leave a certain type of gathering. or this other couple - they would say "shut the door" to each other to mean i love you because it sounds like "je t'adore". 

i asked around to my blogger friends to see if they had any secret codes or languages. here is what they said: 

i wouldn't say that eric and i have a secret language per se, but since we are self-avowed geeks we do have a tendency to speak in cultural references and quotes that many around us don't understand. our first date was punctuated by a mutual agreement that "han shot first," and our recent obsession with supernatural has led to in-jokes so convoluted that attempting to explain them would just make us sounds incredibly dorky, even to other fans of the show. which i guess just comes down to the fact that we share a very special sense of humour, one that means that eric understands that when i say "i hate you," i really means "next time you go to the store you should buy me a treat instead of just chocolate for yourself that you eat in front of me." --- mariko from gamerwife. married 3 years this may. montreal, canada. 

when you've been with someone for 20 years, you gradually learn to communicate in non-traditional ways. over time, my husband and i have developed a "language" of our own that's made up of english and chinese words and phrases that are basically a series of nicknames and shorthand for things which only makes sense to us. along with that we also have a nonverbal system of gestures and looks. this allows us to have private conversations wherever we go and we also use it in our text messages. it's nice having our own code but i have a feeling that anyone who overhears one of our conversations would probably think we were nuts. --- rowena from rolala loves. married for 12 years. new york city.  

being married for eight years made us even more n'sync than ever. my husband, yohann and i are celebrating our 8th year anniversary this month by the way. more often than not, i don't need to say what i'm thinking out loud, he can read my body language from a distance and he's able to listen and decipher what i really mean because i'm not very direct and tend to sugar coat things. his mother tongue is french and i, filipino. over the years, we both learned the basic of each other's native languages, which we use to our advantage. one example that comes into mind, when we're out shopping having found something we both would like to purchase that turns out to be really expensive, we try to convey our thoughts in a language that we both know the sales person wouldn't understand. in my case, i will say, "mahal" (meaning expensive). he replies back in agreement and without speaking, we'll know whether we'll  purchase it or not. if there's an opportunity to bargain in a souk or market place, then we communicate this way. at times, when we wanted to express our opinion to ourselves in a social setting with the intention of not sharing what we think with others, the discreet use of these two native languages are very helpful. now that we're expecting a new addition to the family, we're wondering how we will be able to teach our future child these languages. i'm keeping my fingers crossed. --- arni from travel gourmande. married for 8 years. dubai, united arab emirates.  

i almost wish i can compile these stories and make a little book called "love stories, secret codes and more" by various bloggers from around the world. ha. 

but before i get ahead of myself, please tell me. do you have a secret code or language you share with your partner? i would love to know. 

 // a very special thank you to mariko, rowena and arni for sharing your stories. 

 // read the first installment of these blogger story series, "how did you know (s)he was the one". 

this is part of a story series counting down to our 5 year wedding anniversary in august. 


  1. this is adorable! I really love this series, jane. it's such a good one. I was laughing out loud too when I read about the ear tugging and yangkyu's expression hahah.

  2. These stories are just too cute. So true that after a while each couple develop their own secret codes. Very unique and one of a kind. It would be so interesting to compile this into a book like you said Jane.

  3. Unfortunately I'm not in a relationship :(, but this is definitely something I would do. It's important for each partner to feel comfortable in situations.

  4. So happy to see the second part of this series, even more because the topic is so cute! :) I have laughed out loud with the image of Yangkyu frozen trying to understand your code and yourself afraid of everyone noticing you both acting weird, so fun! I understand what you mean about the family, Dani has a very large family and although they are all very kind it sometimes can be a little bit overwhelming when everyone is there and I am one of the few outsiders :P We don't really have a special code but like Rolala we have lots of nicknames and special sentences that we use for certain situations and also like Mariko we have lots of common geek references, so it can be a little difficult to follow a conversation betweeen us sometimes.

  5. LOL...your story with Yangku is toooooo funny:D
    Great series, Jane:) I love reading these snippets.

  6. haha,,
    i love hearing stories like this.

  7. oh wow this is SO interesting. It makes complete sense to have one. My husband and I don't actually have an official code. We do have these moments when we tend to see each other, and while our eyes don't move a lot, we lock eyes and they move ever so slightly and we have the same thoughts in that moment. It sounds so much more dramatic than it is and it also happens so fast that you can't really describe that moment properly but, it's there. We don't ever talk about it but after we are alone, we discuss that specific moment and we can confirm each other's thoughts.

    It's rather interesting to talk/write about it actually. Thank you for making me think and reflect on it!!


  8. Such a funny story about when you guys first tried using your secret code. I've never thought about this with my husband and I! We've clearly never discussed it but I think just through growing together we just KNOW what each other is thinking without saying it.. you know? xx Kat

    Love and Ace

  9. i imagined you tugging your ear and yangku's expression at that very moment as i read along! how funny! i loved this post jane! you should totally compile that book :)

  10. I love this series so so much, it's so sweet. I think sending an emoji is a really effective secret code...whenever Ilhan and I want to talk in secret we text each other haha. Although we also make jokes that others don't understand, like in Mariko's story.

  11. It's so sweet how this series celebrates love counting down to your 5th anniversary Jane. Thanks again for inviting me to be a part of it!

    Rowena @ rolala loves

  12. What a lovely story. I think that it's so interesting to see a couple grow together and learn how to communicate with each other.

  13. You should so write a book about this! It is linked so tightly to the bond that hold so many couples together! I love that you have a secret code...we have a bit of code...kind of a tap under the table! I got a chuckle at your ear tugging story!! Too funny! A wonderful week to you friend! Nicole xoxo

  14. Ahh this is such a sweet series and I definitely had to laugh at the ear pull that went unnoticed by yangkyu for too long :P Ben and I have one very specific code, it's sort of a charade action, it's a pretty funny story that involved his fly not being zipped up and standing on top of a waterfall looking down where lots of families were swimming, I still laugh that he didn't get my charade action :P I had to teach it to him after he came down off the top of the waterfall!

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  16. Gosh, I guess Scott and I are boring! We don't have a secret code! And that would be great for you to make a book about it! -Jess L

  17. Hilarious, Jane! I give John the "look" or we text each other.

  18. Thank you so much for letting me share my story, Jane. I love the image of you furiously tugging on your ear while Yangkyu looks at you confused. Hahaha.

  19. This would be a sweet idea for a book for sure. it's really interesting to hear about these little things and I can relate to a lot of it, in some way or form. We don't really have a code, which now makes me feel like i'm missing out. references is a good once, which i'm sure all couples use. relating normal situations to much loved programmes/books or even computer games in our world. i do get a swift kick under the table if i'm taking something too far, which usually starts with me either mis-hearing something or talking something the wrong way.

    Mat @ Buckets & Spades

  20. The story of you pulling your ear and Yangkyu's reaction had me in stitches!!! Priceless!!! I often just give Stu "the look" when I've had enough of any situation.


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