I hear a lot of things while I’m out and about in the public square. I hear good things, like the sister saying to her brother at a pizza restaurant, “you play soccer better than anyone I’ve ever seen!” To which her brother gave her a hug…they were about 8 years old. I hear bad things too.
Walking past a window at an apartment complex and hearing a woman and man yelling at each other because he said she was spending too much time with her supervisor…she said, “at least he pays attention to me!” continued yelling, hurtful things said and then a door slamming.
I heard a man praying once. I was sitting in a Baskin Robbins, eating two dips of “Death by Chocolate” when I heard the guy at the next table. I thought he was talking on his phone, but …no phone in his hand! I try not to eavesdrop, but…you know, come on; I wanted to know what he was saying and to whom! When I finally DID hear what he was saying, I discovered he was praying for his mother…asking the Lord to give her a chance to know Jesus.
Curiosity; in my case, most certainly could get me in trouble if I am not careful!
Perhaps one of the most intriguing things I have heard hit me like a ton of bricks and I’ll explain why.
For some reason I have the ability to be aware of my surroundings in a “Hypersensitive” way. It is nothing I trained for or that I have learned…it was given to me…by a God who needs ears on the ground. All glory to God.
I say this because it is written onto my soul, to always be observing and listening to things going on around me. If it looks like I’m nosy…well, maybe I am…but I’m not trying to be rude, I’m trying to understand the STORY because the story is EVERYTHING!
So, back to the thing, I heard the other day. I was at Sonic, the highly health unconscious drive in of gastronomic delights…sipping on a 44oz Hwy 44 Frozen Limeade. I was listening to a message on my phone through my Bluetooth speakers in my truck. As I sat there listening to the message, the couple in the car right next to me were having a discussion. I put the phone message on “hold”.
The woman was saying something to her husband about their relationship. They could not see my window was down because of the gigantic menus the size of a drive-in movie screen that separate our cars, so they didn’t lower their voices. She began,
“You keep asking me if I’m happy in our marriage…and for the most part…if you want me to answer honestly, Yes, I am.”
Her husband, probed deeper asking “for the most part?” (which; in my opinion, was sort of like leaning into a right hook…brave man or an idiot.) She sat quietly, then spoke up. “You always SAY, “I love you so much!” You’re a really great dad…and when you say those things, I believe you…but…” her voice trailed off, maybe wondering if she should really say what she felt and risk hurting the man she loved.
“But ?” the husband asked, ( I realized he knew he needed to draw her out…give her the permission to say what he needed to hear.) She cleared her throat. I could tell she was trying so hard not to say what she wanted to say in a hurtful way.
“Well, if you love me so much”…she paused, “Could you maybe just wash the dishes every once in a while?” She had said it, but it was kind of like taking her finger out of the dike…because what was in her heart came pouring out…
“Would YOU, every once in a while…” I heard her try to choke back a sob,
“just do some laundry like you did when we were first married?” There
was no stopping it now…
“Would it be possible, just every once in a while…not always but maybe once a month, just take the kids so I could have just an hour or two by myself?” she cried now.
Revealing the heart does that…it brings cleansing and I admired her because she was trying to respect her relationship with her husband but speak her mind at the same time. I was proud of her. I got teary-eyed too which; is no surprise, since I tear up at the home reveals on HGTV.
Her husband WISELY let her cry and didn’t SAY A WORD!!! (Good job buddy!) I was cheering for him…it’s hard to hear truth, hard to hear where you’ve fallen short. This guy was no chicken and was wise enough to let her finish without interruption! We need more men like him I think…and more women like her.
“I want to know,” his wife continued, “that your words MEAN something, and…I know they do, I mean, I KNOW you love me but…” her head was down in her hands and she was outright boohooing. She looked up and said, “If you love me so much, could you just wash the dishes?” Her voice was pleading.
This may seem like a real invasion of privacy to you. I was the proverbial “fly on the wall” and not necessarily in a room, I wanted to be in. Now, I’ve been taught manners my friends, and I know when I should not remain in a room when two people have an issue to work out. But in this case, I had to hear what the resolution would be…I can’t tell you why…it’s like I was supposed to be here…or maybe I AM nosy.
She fished into her purse for a tissue, and was becoming frustrated, when her husband, handed her a handed her a handkerchief…a HANDKERCHIEF!!! And it was clean too! She looked at him and smiled and wiped her eyes and nose. That’s when I peeked a little lower (that dadgum menu was in my way!) and saw tears in his eyes. He reached over to his wife and held her hand. He didn’t speak, although she looked at him as he looked down at their hands and fingers intertwined.
“I’m so clueless!” he said to her raising his eyes. He continued. “Yes, of course…of COURSE I will do all of that and more!” He pulled her into his arms and said, “Sweetheart, can you ever forgive me?” “I’ve been too busy…just too busy!” They hugged and she sighed a sigh of relief. She had been heard, and in humility, he had seen his error.
We need to revisit the Love Languages.
To this woman, her love language was “Acts of Service”. She didn’t need to HEAR he loved her, she needed to SEE he loved her by doing things for her.
A summary of the Five Love Languages from “gotquestions.org” gives a pretty good summary. I encourage you to purchase the book by Gary Chapman, “The Five Love Languages.”
The following is a brief explanation of each of the five love languages:
1. WORDS OF AFFIRMATION. Some people are more attuned than others to hear both positive and negative words from those whose opinions they cherish. While negative, critical words can tear them down, positive, encouraging words make them flourish. People who need verbal affirmation also tend to be freer with their own encouraging words. They assume that, because they so need verbal praise, the loved ones in their lives also need it.
2. ACTS OF SERVICE. “Why can’t you help me around here?” Lanna complained. “I’m starting to wonder if you really love me.” Lanna’s frustration with her husband’s lack of household help may be due to her love language. When acts of service is a person’s primary language, he or she interprets the help as a sign of someone’s love. When Tom pitches in with chores that may normally fall to Lanna, his efforts are interpreted by her as love, even though no actual words of love are spoken.
3. GIFTS. We all know someone, often a woman, who brings gifts everywhere she goes. She is always “picking up a little something” for the people in her life. She thrives on gift-giving, and, when she is given a gift, it fills her love tank. Sometimes people misunderstand her need to express love through gift-giving and interpret her constant offerings as bribes or the expectation of something in return. When gifts is a person’s primary love language, he or she places a great deal of weight on the quality of the gift and the effort that went into obtaining it.
4. QUALITY TIME. “I feel most loved by you when we’ve spent a long time talking about important things,” Dale told his wife. His need for soul connection is closely related to his way of receiving love. Quality time is usually linked to meaningful conversation for the people with this primary love language. Hours of deep conversation create an emotional connection for them. “If this person cares enough about me to spend all this time with me, then they really love me,” goes the reasoning.
5. PHYSICAL TOUCH. Physical touch is crucial for the health and well-being of every human being. Babies who do not receive enough loving touch in infancy do not thrive and can have lifelong difficulties. But for some people, the need for physical touch is greater than it is for others.
To end my story with a happy ending, the husband said he was going to put on his calendar every week to take the children and let his wife make plans. She told him, “Oh, I don’t need THAT much time alone…I want to spend it with YOU!” A big smile broke out on her face… “Maybe just a few hours a month to myself!” He promised and I saw him take out his phone, in front of her and put in a reminder.
She began to laugh, and at that moment, she gave him HIS love language…”I just knew you would hear me out…YOU ARE THE MOST WONDERFUL MAN…GOD HAS BLESSED ME SO MUCH WITH YOU!” (Words of Affirmation), now he wept as she held his head in her hands. “I always want to take care of you sweetheart,” he said, sobbing in her arms. His actions healed her heart, her words healed his soul and I have no doubt that other activities took their course later that day that I would have no business being privy to.
Talk to your spouse… Listen to each other. Learn their love language! You know, I ruined one marriage by not doing it…I will never make that mistake again. How about you?