For the past ten years my motorcycle has been parked out in the garage covered by a big blue tarp in the hopes that it will be exquisite when I next get the time to unveil it. It desperately needs a new carburetor; something that I am totally unequipped to handle and my ever loving and sweet husband has been promising to fix it for a decade. Also in the garage is a brand new dishwasher that I got for Christmas three years ago from a man who was sure it would be the perfect gift. (No comment there) It is sill in the box and yet every day of my life I am still washing dishes by hand. Both of these things are in some realm important to me, yet the man who is supposed to love me the most has long forgotten them both. Does this or rather is this a silent indicator of how much he really loves and respects me? I hope not!
There is the saying that actions speak louder than words’ and most of the time that can be found to be true. If someone tells you they love you yet continues to engage in behavior that continually hurts than it is easy to surmise that their love is off kilter. If our spouses seem to cater to the whim and need of every other person in this world yet find it difficult to make time for us than it too could be a true indicator of their deepest feelings. But taking a frank, honest and simple approach to the often confusing state of marriage may just show us a side of the coin that we haven’t considered. Rather than taking these ‘injustices’ as some sort of lack or insult perhaps they should be seen as some sort of evidence that our spouses are in a comfortable position with us that allows them the freedom and privilege to ‘come as they are’ and still be loved and accepted in return. After all, isn’t that what marriage is about?
One of the biggest mistakes that any person can make is to form assumptions or conclusions as to the feelings of another person. Even and especially if we are married to that person. We are fooling ourselves if we think that for one minute we can even begin to understand the inner workings of someone else’s mind or intention. Not only is it impossible, it is not wise to try to. With that said, trying to always understand why someone does what they do or read into the unspoken words or actions is as irritating as walking in around in wet socks. When someone loves us – the bottom line is that we know from a part of us that can’t be explained, and we shouldn’t always have to be reminded, offered tokens or stroked like kittens in order to feel it. To me, that is just insecurity rearing its ugly head and should be buried as quickly as the supposition that sex after marriage is always going to be great.
Part of the beauty about married life is that we don’t have to be anyone else but ourselves. We can fart in bed, wear ugly clothes on the weekend if we want, not always use our manners, be slightly selfish at times, get moody at will, be frustrated around each other – and finally settle down with someone who doesn’t want to talk all the time. Men and women are afforded the opportunity to not have to try so hard and to be loved completely and wholly (notice I didn’t say unconditionally) for the person we really are; not the person we dated. Marriage lives at home and at home we are supposed to be able to kick up our feet and relax and enjoy. If we can’t do it there – chances are we won’t stay around for long. Either spouse who puts too much pressure on the other to perform, to live up to expectations, to constantly show, remind and nurture a love that is already evident is quite simply asking for trouble.
This does not mean that we should take each other for granted; however it does mean that we should be able to over look many of the unspoken words or acts of indifference that serve to hurt us. Maybe I have just been married too long, but when my husband holds the door open for another women yet allows it to close before I walk in, I choose to read nothing in to it. The only thing that I could gain is possibly an argument or a lump in my throat that would eventually question his love for me. Yes, it’s rude- but it is not some deep and dark indicator or sign that this marriage is not meant to be. Especially when I mention it to him and we can both laugh about it later. See, with other women and other people he has never felt safe enough or free enough to just be himself – with all his flaws and wonderful traits too- in fear that he would be rejected or judged. But with me, his wife he already knows he holds the softest spot I have and that he is safe there. As a wife that makes me feel pretty good and allows me to stay nag free!
The unspoken words in life are usually not meant to be said out loud anyways. Each of us carries around thoughts, ideas or longings that we don’t want to share with our spouses and sometimes saying everything or talking too much just causes pain unnecessarily. As for actions speaking louder than words – I have been able to realize that the fact that my husband comes home to me every night, that he works hard to provide for me and our kids, that he knows exactly when to rub my back and when to leave me alone, that he doesn’t care when I look like hell or that he doesn’t refuse to kiss me with morning breath – speaks volumes to the state of our love. I have begun to see the motorcycle sitting in the garage collecting dust and the dishwasher that is still in the box as useful reminders of his intention toward me and the butt of many jokes.
As I stand in my kitchen washing dishes and warming my hands with soap and water my husband always comes up from behind me and gives me a hug. He speaks no words as he wraps his arms around me and holds me for just a moment or two. He will plant a soft kiss on my neck and stroke my hair as if it the softest thing he has ever felt – usually smelling it before he lets go. I always realize in that moment that his unspoken words are speaking to me in the kind of way that real words couldn’t. I think about the dishwasher in the garage still packaged tightly in the box and wonder if perhaps he hasn’t put it in because he- like me, treasures those moments at the sink. All at once, I don’t mind the dishes and don’t feel any negligence for the things that he doesn’t do, yet rather the gratitude that he feels safe to come as he is.