Did I have stars in my eyes when it came to marriage? More like lodestars. The idea of a marriage one degree short of stellar didn’t even occur to me. I planned on being the best husband this side of heaven and was confident I knew exactly what to do. Frankly, the competition wasn’t all that fierce. In those pre-marriage days, I had encountered many marriages I didn’t want any part of.
No, my marriage was going to be different. Lisa was going to be swept off her feet one day at a time. All that was necessary was Super Husband and he was here so, we’re good to go! Where should I start? Hmmm, how about washing and folding the laundry? Then vacuuming. Then doing the dishes, then folding some more laundry, then etc., etc.
Four months in, one of us thought I was amazing.
So who was in the kitchen after dinner with that look on her face?
That would be Lisa.
. . . with that look . . . the one that says, “I’m not happy and YOU are the reason.”
Seriously, how could she not be happy with me? This is just wrong! Time to put my foot down (which always makes conversations between husbands and wives more interesting, even if the result is more like stepping on something in the barnyard).
But, was that going to stop me? Ugh . . . no.
“Okay, so what’s bugging you?” I said in, well, maybe not the most loving, gentle way. Which is kind of natural when you know you are the answer to the question and she is 100% WRONG!
She didn’t answer . . . at least with her mouth.
The flames (the ones coming out of her eyes) and her hands did the talking as she vigorously dried the dinner plate and set it down with that decisive air you use just before the plate shatters.
Instead of breaking the plate, she shattered the silence.
“You take me for granted.”
“Take you for grant . . . are you kidding me?! I’m practically Superman around here. I don’t know one other guy that does the stuff I do ALL THE TIME! I help with the dishes, I help folding the clothes, I vacuum, I even tore apart that washing machine that came over on the Mayflower and fixed it myself. You couldn’t find five guys in the state of Oregon who do what I do around here.”
In this moment, I discovered something interesting. Pointing at your wife when you’re listing out how right you are can have a big impact. (ever dumped gasoline on a small flame?)
Talk about ungrateful. There’s no pleasing this woman!
It’s a good thing towels don’t break. She threw it on the counter and turned to face me.
“I don’t care if you do ANY of those things. I just want you to take me out for coffee more than once in a blue moon.”
“But we do go out for coffee, and other things, too.”
“Yes, when I suggest it.” I want you to take me . . . I just want you to want to be with me.”
“But, I am with you . . . all the time! That plate that just survived a near death experience . . . I was standing next to you washing it two minutes ago! Remember?”
“That doesn’t count.”
“Doesn’t count? Are you telling me that all my work around here to prove I care and love you counts for nothing?”
“I didn’t say “nothing” but, well, they are next to nothing compared to the feeling I get when you want to spend time with me, away from all the stuff that has to be done.”
“Wait,” I said, not sure I heard correctly. “You’re telling me that doing all the things I do isn’t loving you?”
“I do appreciate it but, I just want you to want to be with me.”
I’m not sure of the look on Benjamin Franklin’s face when he discovered electricity but, it may have been similar to mine in that moment.
Wow, who knew love was so easy? Just communicate that you want to be with her, that you want her – that you want to be connected and close. Time away with her from the demands of the day communicate love to her. It’s not complicated.
Sometimes we’re so busy “doing” and communicating to our spouse in ways that say “love” to us, we miss that she/he might be different. What says “love” to you may not say “love” to her.
And, the best part about it, it’s easy to find out what says “love” to her. Take her to some quiet place she loves, without distractions, and ask her . . .
“Hey Gorgeous, if you had to name three things that make you feel loved by me, what would they be?”