Wednesday, February 29, 2012

It's a Two Way Street

I have to say, I probably married one of the most easy going men. Seriously, Brad will go along with just about anything. He tells me all the time that he just wants to make me happy. And that shows in just about everything he does. He always lets me choose where we're going to eat when we eat out. He lets me pick what show we watch at night. He gives me a foot rub almost every night. He helps with the housework on his days off. The list goes on and on.

And I love all of these things. It's obvious that Brad expresses his love through acts of service. And I am so glad to have a husband who is such a willing servant. However, that's not necessarily how I most feel loved. Brad and I have tried to pinpoint what my "love language" is many times and we both have such a hard time. I'm easy to please, but very picky at the same time. One thing that makes me feel loved is just random acts of thoughtfulness.

In high school and college Brad understood how important it was for me to feel loved. He knew that it was the little things that count: a note stuffed in my locker, a cookie from the cafeteria waiting for me at our table in the morning, a quick phone call before bed just to say goodnight. He was always so good about making everything special. He went all out. One time, he put together a scavenger hunt for us to go on that took us through all of our favorite places to go when we were dating. I remember one day when we were first married I had to work all day and Brad was not going to be home when I got home. He left probably close to 100 notes for me to find scattered throughout the apartment. The notes were hidden everywhere. I loved looking for all of them! When we were paining our front room, I went to bed one night before him. He painted "I love you" on the wall for me to find when I woke up the next morning. It's things like that that really just get me. That make me feel special and loved.

Now that we're married and have a child these things happen less and less frequently. It's not that I think Brad doesn't love me anymore. Or that I'm no longer special to him. It's that they take a lot more planning and effort. Probably my biggest complaint to Brad now is that he doesn't do those "special" things as often anymore. He doesn't surprise me. I'm not trying to harp on him, it's just the nature of where we're at in our relationship. It's truly harder to do those things. But that doesn't mean I desire them any less. So, every now and then I get upset and we talk about it and Brad says he will do better because he always wants to make me feel special.

Well, this week I discovered that it's a two way street. I've been working on cleaning out two rooms this week in order to prepare for moving Micah to his new bedroom. In the process, I've discovered Brad's "Amanda box(es)." You know, the box that has all of the special mementos from our time together: notes, cards, ticket stubs, etc. Let me tell you, he has several boxes! There's one box from when I went to New Zealand for the summer. I was gone for almost 50 days. I made him something to open every day I was gone. There's another box from when I did my student teaching in New Mexico. I made him different cards/notes to open on specific days (i.e. when it's snowing out or on a Sunday, etc.). There's countless letters from when we were apart at college. Cards to celebrate holidays, his birthday, our anniversaries, graduations, etc. Notes from high school. There's a scrapbook I made him for his 21st birthday that had several different "21 things" (i.e. 21 famous couples, 21 reasons he has the best birthday, 21 coupons to use, etc.). There are several picture scrapbooks that I've made him throughout the years. I mean, there's a lot of stuff.

Going through those boxes and letters made me remember how much effort I used to put into our relationship. I thought about him all the time and I wanted him to know it. I told him everything and since so much of our relationship was spent apart it had to be done in a letter (actually, we did talk on the phone every day, but I usually saved the really thoughtful and sappy things for our letters). I hate to say it, but I'm guilty of not putting the same amount of our effort into our relationship anymore either. Sure, I leave him notes in his lunchbox from time to time. Or I'll leave a card on his pillow for him to find when he gets home from work, but it's not nearly as often as it used to be. It's not that I don't love him as much. Or that I don't think about him every minute of the day. Because I do. It's that I have other things occupying my time right now. Another person. And while that is a legitimate excuse, I don't think it's a good one. Don't get me wrong, I'm not coming down on myself here, I'm just saying, I need to make more of an effort. I need to show Brad more often how much I love and appreciate him. I know he knows it, but sometimes you just need to show it.

So, that's my goal. I'm going to make more of an effort. I want to make my husband feel more loved. I want to show him that love in real, tangible ways. I also know that his love language is acts of service so while a note in his lunchbox is nice, I know that I have to make more of an effort to do something for him. I need to be the servant to him that he has been to me. It's not about doing it so that he does it for me. It's about showing my husband how much I love him. And reminding him that I love him even more today that I did four years ago when I left him mushy notes all the time.

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