Showing love to Skywalker is an easier practice for me. I try to go through 1 Corinthians 13, the famous passage on what love is and isn’t, and do what it says. Of course following through on this isn’t so easy, but at least I know what to practice. Am I patient? Was that kind? Was I being self-seeking or looking out for him? And I can very quickly determine whether or not that word or action was loving.
I also try exercising love languages. Skywalker’s love languages include receiving acts of service and quality time spent together. I like to throw in little gifts once in a while…for variety…but it has to be practical ones as he’s not sentimental much. So I pack him good lunches (or try to), try to have nice dinners for him to come home to, give massages, occasionally surprise him with snacks he likes (but know aren’t so good for him) and I guard our schedules to ensure we have sufficient time to ourselves through the week.
As for respect…I DO respect him, but I’m learning this is a hard one to show. I believe it’s hard for a lot of wives out there too. Not nagging or mothering Skywalker is showing huge respect. It goes both ways but not speaking “down” to each other shows respect. I’m also learning to respect his sense of timing or trust his words that when he says he’ll take care of it, he’ll do it. It might not my way or in my exact timing, but he’ll do it. Me keeping quiet demonstrates my trust and respect for him. Of course, there’s been a couple times where he’s said he’ll do something, then DIDN’T do it…so then I have right to be mad about it, but even then, respect is about extending grace by not purposely trying to lay guilt on the other person.
I’m not one to compliment much…but am learning he NEEDS to hear that I respect certain things/characteristics/decisions he made or that I admire different qualities he’s shown. Hearing I respect him is as important to him as hearing he loves me is to me.
In general, I think it’s also in calling each other to be better versions of ourselves…in ways that motivate and nourish us as individuals. He is not me, I am not him. It’s easy enough to find buttons that set the other person off, but loving and respecting each other is about finding buttons that add boosts of energy, well-being, emotional nourishment, etc. Those are the ones a marriage NEEDS. So….learning and practicing.
How do you show love, and in particular, respect to your husband?
An article came out recently on how the idealise notion of romance is actually the biggest enemy to long lasting relationships. Timely considering the frenzy around Valentine’s Day. Is love shown through how much money you spend? I say no, love is shown through cleaning up after each other, through offering a massage even though you really want one, and through taking care of an anticipated need even before he/she expresses it. Soulmates aren’t born, they’re made…starting with the daily decision to be one to the person you’ve committed your life to.
So what are we doing this Valentine’s Day? Nothing actually.
Skywalker has to work a little later. I’ll make dinner…maybe vegetarian to keep with our eating goal of reducing our meat intake. Maybe we’ll go out for a movie, but if it’s pretty nuts out, maybe we’ll stay in. I’d much rather have a special night out with the person I love because he’s the person I love than to be pulled into the marketing that THIS is the day to show you love him/her.
I’ve actually told Skywalker that he should never buy me any combination of red roses, chocolates or stuffed animals for Valentine’s, anniversaries or birthdays. We should know what the person we love actually loves to receive (consider the five love languages) and not just get something because you’re “supposed” to get that. But that’s just my opinion.
Aight…Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!
This one time…in the first few months of marriage, I woke up a little earlier to put together a nice sandwich for Skywalker’s lunch. Practicing the different love languages. We had some whole grain buns, Havarti cheese, fresh leafy greens and some nice slices of ham and roast beef.
Under the light of stove hood fan, I slathered the mayo on, followed by some honey dijon. Rolled the meats into finger-sized rolls and stacked them on one side of the bun. Layered on the leafy greens. Topped the hearty sandwich with two slices of cheese for good measure. I know he likes Havarti. Then wrapped it up in plastic wrap and tucked it into his lunch bag along with his breakfast and some snacks. There. Made with love.
At lunch I get an email from Skywalker saying, “Thanks for making my lunch Hun…” (I’m feeling pleased that he’s enjoyed the sandwich. Gosh, I might do this for him everyday!) “…but can you check on the bread because I think it’s moldy. I just ate 3/4 of my sandwich before figuring out it tasted funny. And there’s little fuzzy black/blue splotches everywhere. ”
Well…he didn’t get sick thankfully. I’ve since made up for this with other redeeming sandwiches/ribs/steak/wings/quiche lunches. All made with love.
…Romantic love has two stages
Actually, I knew there were two stages of love. Maybe not in these exact terms but I knew there was a difference between the “over the moon” swooning & butterflies honeymoon phase of a relationship, and the deep, sustaining quality of love that lasts through the decades. I just wasn’t sure how one transitioned from one stage into the next.
The first stage is easy…you’d do anything to be with or make the other person happy. Being together was effortless. It didn’t matter what was happening as long as you were together. Because you were “in love”.
And then one day it seems all the little habits, mannerisms, quirks and styles of your spouse that you fully embraced when you were “in love” (and vowed you’ll always love this person the way they are) has piled enough to topple over into an outburst of why the other person is the way they are. You don’t get why s/he isn’t getting it…s/he doesn’t get why you aren’t getting it. And then a stuck sort of feeling emerges. “Wow, this is hard.” “Is it supposed to be this hard if I’m with the right person?” “What happened to the person I married?”
I honestly expected these questions to emerge when I married. I expected the difficulty and the hard work that would need to come with it. In fact, as much as getting into conflict tears at my heart, I still saw it as an opportunity to hammer things out until we reached a better and deeper understanding of the other person. And so far it’s been great! (Once the conflict was resolved that is.) I’ve had to learn our differences and preferences in conflict resolution, but otherwise, every argument has resulted in a feeling of deeper love and appreciation for each other.
The book references learning each other’s Love Languages (more on their website). We all speak a slightly different love language so how we show love might not be how the other person likes to receive love. This results in you feeling under appreciated or not well loved….even if the other person is showing the best they can (in THEIR love language) that they love and appreciate you. I believe speaking each other’s love language well is what will inject those “in love” feelings into your marriage long after the honeymoon phase is over.
For Skywalker and I, some of the conflict we’ve had certainly stemmed from our differences in love language. Speaking each other’s love language takes a lot of practice because it doesn’t usually come naturally to who we are. I’ve read somewhere that the honeymoon period for anything (relationships, new job, new house, new city) lasts about two and a half years. That’s EXACTLY where we’re at from the start of our dating relationship til our first anniversary. So we’re already transitioning from phase 1 to 2! We’ve made huge progress….and it’s always about progress right? Here’s to year two…and beyond!