About to go to bed at eight
Outnumbered

Eleven years later

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.) 

Comments

lindsay

Love when you write about this stuff. Among all the other things, marriage and relationships are so neat just from an examining level if that makes any sense.

Sarah in Ottawa

*Kindred Spirits*. I am an "Acts of Service"/"Words of Affirmation" kinda gal, while Dave is totally a "Physical Touch" guy. Poor guy.

While I never really discerned my vocation either, it was the only real thing I ever felt called to do. And even when Dave and I were apart for a bit, I kept getting nudges leading me back to him. Even when I was in a really, really arid phase, I was still being led.

I've known Dave since 1982. He's been my best friend for nearly 20 years, and we still learn new things about each other, and work better together than we ever did. When people say things like "Why would I ever want to get married?" I want to hold this up as an example. The first flush of love is amazing and awesome but this? This is just so much better.

Anyway -- Happy Dating Anniversary! I am a nerd and know ours; it was 16 years on August 13th.

A'Dell

I haven't even read the whole post but I took the quiz and I am Words of Affirmation too, which I strongly suspected I might be upon hearing that it was even an option. Plus, every fight we have is how I need to HEAR things and not just KNOW them intuitively. Good quiz. Now I will read.

Dr. Maureen

My favorite part of this post is where you say "Weeks away from giving birth." HA HA HA!

Excellent post, though. I love when you write about marriage.

Hillary

So, I finally broke down and took the quiz: Quality time is my main language of love. I was a bit surprised by that, though, if I think about it, it's true. I want attention. I want our family to spend lots of time together. When that doesn't happen, I'm cranky.

Something that was not surprising to me at all: I don't care at all about gifts. Just doesn't matter to me.

Life of a Doctor's Wife

I love this. Love love love. You and Philip seem to have such a strong, mutually respectful and loving marriage. I love when you write about it.

I too am a "words of affirmation" and my husband is totally a Quality Time and Physical Touch person. Opposite opposite. But I think learning these things about each other and making them a priority (HARD) can do so much for a relationship.

HereWeGoAJen

I'm sure that there are lots of words that I should read in this post, but you do realize WHAT YOU WROTE IN YOUR LAST TWEET AND THEN DISAPPEARED FROM THE INTERNET, RIGHT?!?!

Jessica

I took the quiz and, as I suspected, physical touch is dead last for me, too. I'd like to know where it is on my husband's list. I'm extremely anti-touch, like I want him to sit on the opposite end of the couch instead of anywhere near me and can't sleep at all if his leg is laying too close to mine in bed. This hurts his feelings sometimes, but I don't think its necessarily his number one love language. It's definitely not last, though.

Elsha

So, I was going to comment on this post, but then Jen's comment alerted me to your twitter feed!!

lindsay

OMG!!!!Congrats on the new baby! Hope you are all well.

katie

Congrats to you on the arrival of your darling daughter!

The Sojourner

*squee* She is a little chunk! Congratulations!

Jennifer

Congratulations! She is gorgeous! Sweet name too!!!

Christina

OK... Holy COW! You had a baby!! I thought you still had a few weeks left?! WOW! And congratulations!!!!! So happy for all of you. :)

Katie

Thank you for sharing your life! I really enjoy reading your posts.

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