I met Bridget in the autumn of 1997 and married her in the spring of 1998. Somehow, I just knew there was something different about this girl. She had a spirit about her that you didn’t (and still don’t) find every day. And I liked it. I was drawn to her like a moth to flame.
Now, almost 18 years later, I’m still drawn to her. She’s fascinating, and I am bewitched. She is by far my most favorite person in the history of ever.
Please don’t misread what I’ve just written. A) We have had plenty of problems – ups and downs – in our almost two decades of marriage, and B) she is not my God. I go into greater detail on that last one here and here. But, she is great, and I love her.
How I’ve loved her has evolved over the years, too. For example, I like to receive gifts; I feel loved when someone gives me a gift. So, I like to give gifts. A lot. I like to give my wife gifts. I used to show her love through a lot of gifts. Sounds nice, right? Except when she doesn’t receive gifts very well. Hasn’t really been her thing. Typically, she felt a gift came with an obligation, i.e. “I’ve given you this gift, now you owe me something.” Crummy way to view gifts. So, over the years, we’ve both conceded some of our ground – I give fewer gifts (that is to say that I show love for her in other ways), and she now receives gifts better (that is to say that she doesn’t immediately assume the gift comes with strings attached).
So, how have I adapted to show my wife love? Glad you asked. In no particular order, here are a few ways in which I show love to my wife:
- acts of service – That is, I serve my wife. Oh, please don’t get the wrong idea – I don’t do it perfectly. But I am getting better at it. For instance, I don’t always have to be told to wash the dishes; if I see dirty dishes in the sink, and since I want to show love to my wife, I’ll wash them. This sounds small and silly, but I guarantee you, ask any wife, a husband is never more attractive than when he is washing the dishes, vacuuming the house, changing a diaper, or doing some other “mundane” task that the wife would otherwise have to be doing. Without having to be asked. That is key. If she has to ask, then no matter how willing you may be, she still had to ask. Again, I don’t do this perfectly. Sometimes she still has to ask. But I’ve gotten better about it.
- I help her with her projects – To be honest, my “helping” is really just staying out of her way. I know my wife, but I don’t always know how or what she thinks. I know me, and I know that I will try to do something the way I think she would do it (What Would Bridget Do?), and inevitably, she would’ve done it another way. So, I give my full support, and I back away. Now, I will certainly jump in when she asks for my help, but I won’t just get in there and go. I just realized that this one is about as opposite from the first one as it can be. I do things without her asking in the first one, and I don’t do things without her asking in this one. Oh yeah, marriage can be tricky.
- we walk together – This is probably my favorite. We just walk. We hold hands, we talk, and we just enjoy being together. Outside. With the kiddos riding their bikes around us. It really is a kinda sappy family scene, but it’s precious. Sometimes we walk for exercise, and sometimes we take a leisurely stroll. She loves the attention and willingness to just be in her presence. So do I.
- I share the Lord with her – In other words, I share what the Lord has been showing me, and I listen to what the Lord has been showing her. We’ll even spend time with the Lord together. This can look like praying together, being silent together, reading a book together, and even watching a movie or listening to music together. We both love Jesus, so we share Him with each other.
- physical touch – Don’t get the wrong impression – while “getting physical” was the primary physical touch I used to give her, I’ve learned that that can start to feel cheap and shallow when not followed up with some of the other things I’ve listed here. So, what I mean by physical touch is just that – physical touch. I’ll hold her hand while walking. I’ll rub or scratch her back while she’s working on something or watching TV. I’ll kiss her on the back of her neck while passing by. I’ll hug her as we walk past each other. I’ll give her little physical touches without any hint of getting sexual. This goes a long way, folks. Admittedly, a lot of my touches in the past had a hint, or at least a motivation, of getting sexual. Now, I touch her just to touch her. No sex implied. And it means a lot to her. This shows her love more than my sexual advances ever did.
There you go. Simple, practical, real. Those are just a few ways in which I show love to my wife. I haven’t always done so. I showed her how I wanted to show her. Now, however, I’m learning to show her in ways that aren’t always the most appealing to me. Does that make sense? I love her how she wants and not how I want. It’s less selfish this way. I’m not concerned with getting something back. I don’t show love to try to get a certain reaction out of her. I just love her. And love on her. Not always easy when she acts like a pill, but always worth it. She’s worth it.
So, what are some ways in which you show love to your significant other?