So, love languages. I just took the quiz, for kicks, even though mine is bleeding obvious: "words of affirmation". But I was also reminded of how much "acts of service" mean to me. Especially now, when we're so close to having a baby and I haven't done things like, uh, make dinner, in weeks.
"Physical touch", which I guarantee is Phillip's primary language, is dead last for me. I'M SORRY, PHILLIP.
I'm reminded of this because Phillip and I have been talking about this Unbloggable Thing for a few months now, a sort of sticky situation that neither of us are quite sure how to navigate. However, I am always - ALWAYS - at peace and reassured and totally fine with everything when Phillip actually speaks the words, "I will put you first."
This has been true ever since I've met him. He's someone who does a lot of Helping Other People and there are often these obligations to others where I'm like: WHAT ABOUT ME? In college it was about the freshmen in his bible study. Now it's work and work people and even sometimes Phillip gets really caught up in wanting to help a relative or close friend and I'm silently fuming, all: WHY ISN'T HE LIKE THIS WITH ME?
He is, of course. In a different way, since everything about me strongly affects HIM, and for a 9 on the enneagram he tends to "merge" with me (oh wow am I font of personality typing today)... anyway, it makes a world of difference for me when he's able to articulate it and speak it out loud. "You. Come. First."
Other phrases that mean the world: "I appreciate you." "I know you do a good job." "I know you work hard." "You're a great mom." "I like you best." "Why would I want to hang out at happy hour with all my awesome work people when I can stay home with my hugely pregnant cranky wife and watch bad television?"
Acts of service... who doesn't like those? I think, for me, acts of service is about someone recognizing a need without me having to bring it up. There was a while a few weeks ago where I thought I might die of washing dishes. I wouldn't do them at night, then I'd be faced with this huge mess in the kitchen every morning which, believe it or not, would ruin my entire day. Like I would just feel overwhelmed from the get go, conquered the minute I got out of bed. Then Phillip started helping with the dishes a little more and OH WOW I haven't had a morning like that in a while.
I've tried to make a greater effort - okay, not necessarily NOW, when I'm weeks away from giving birth and sort of mad at the entire world - to respond to Phillip's love language. Which is HARD. I mean, I'm a pretty touchy huggy person, but it's not the first way I think of to take care of someone. Probably because that's not what I want when I'm not doing well. But all Phillip really wants is a massage. Seriously. Sometimes I think how much easier life would be if I just mentally scheduled a shoulder massage after dinner several times a week. I even remember the first time I finished rubbing his shoulders - because my fingers were ACHING - and Phillip turning around and saying, "I feel LOVED!"
I tell myself this is as legitimate as needing to hear that I am appreciated on a regular basis. Even though it's obviously not. I mean, a MASSAGE? Really? Can I just tell you how many times the LAST thing I want is for someone to grind their fingers into my shoulders? STAY AWAY FROM ME.
But none of the love languages are rated higher than the others. Sigh.
I don't think we had any clue about these things when we got married. I've been reading that VirtuousPla.net website and it's actually starting to irritate me. There's a lot of dating/marriage stuff written by people who are dating/barely married. Not that that means those posts aren't weighty or worthy or anything, but I'm just highly annoyed by how churchy they are. And I thought Phillip and I were churchy! All this stuff about preparing for marriage and asking the right questions and hard core grounding in the faith and all that - GOOD STUFF. I do not deny it. They are smarter and wiser than me.
But Phillip and I were two stupidheads who happened to be super serious about dating (as in, we considered the idea of breaking up and then having to find someone else a giant undesirable bummer). I met him at 19, I started dating him at 21, we got married when I was 23. I was the only person I knew who felt I wasn't old enough. But it wasn't about age it was about... well, I just knew I didn't KNOW anything yet. Who WERE we? I mean, I knew he liked massages, but come on, we were Churchy Waiting-For-Marriage Kids and that's all he was getting YOU KNOW? And man, do you know how long it took me to realize that I just needed him to say, "YOU COME FIRST"? Yeeeeeeeeears.
By the grace of God we've figured this stuff out. We fight and fight and fight. We know we're stuck with each other so we HAVE to figure it out EVENTUALLY. Believe me, eight years ago this Unbloggable Sticky Situation would have been a much much MUCH bigger deal. And now it's... hard, but talkable. Awkward but both sides are infused with major understanding of how the other one works, and why the other one is taking that stance. We didn't know this crap eight years ago. I wonder what crap we don't know right NOW.
I have to say, I spent absolutely no time discerning if marriage was my vocation. Well, I HAD prayed about dating Phillip for an embarrassing amoutn of time, but it didn't occur to me that we might actually get married. Honest. That was so... unfathomable. And then it happened. And we had a million things to learn about each other. We probably have a billion more.
Last night Phillip's phone beeped before we went to bed. He pulled it out and looked at his calendar and looky there - guess who has "anniversary of dating maggie" on his PHONE. Who has not mentioned the day since, oh, it happened? To be fair, I had no idea. So not on my radar. But I remember it: talking the night before he left for a four-week trip to China, to overlap with my two-month trip to Europe. He'd waited till the last minute (TYPICAL PHILLIP) and still didn't want to make a decision (TYPICAL PHILLIP) and we said we'd talk about it again when I got home.
Then he picked me up at the airport, with flowers he left in the car because he was embarrassed (no longer typical Phillip) and I made him walk around the lake at midnight and talk talk talk because I couldn't stand the idea of not being around him.
That's all I really needed to know, you know. That everything was lacking without him. Well, that and he'd always put me first (possibly dependent on massage frequency. But I can work with that.)