I remember one time, when I was first with my husband, he and I were at a shopping mall. We saw a woman walk by. He turned and looked at me, She looks like she'd be high maintenance!
So I asked him what he meant - he thought she would be expensive to take care of or maybe would require a lot of work to make her happy. Based on his quick assessment of her appearances and male intuition.
How often do we make those sorts of snap judgements? How often do we decide that because someone needs something from us, that we don't want to do, makes them high maintenance?
The Bible tells us to care for one another, as we would like to be cared for. To love. Did I just catch you thinking, "Heard this! Heard this! Know the verses!"
Okay. I'm busted on that one. And with the much promoted Valentine's Day looming this week I'm sure some of you are thinking of what to do for your beloved. Or wondering what he may be doing for you. It is okay to admit it, I won't tell.
I admit. I have a high maintenance husband. He has a high maintenance wife. But not in a bad way. It used to feel like hard work until a wise woman I know (read her blog here) introduced me to the Respect Dare, which in turn allowed us in a group setting to discover the Five Languages of Love.
What is high maintenance for your marriage may not be high maintenance in mine. My husband's love language is touch. Mine is time together. How we defined that those two things looked like changed us from feeling stressed at being or having a high maintenance spouse and brought us to a more loving place.
Taking time to learn what moves my husband's heart brought me to a better place. Instead of being frustrated at his needs I learned to appreciate how he feels love. Think about that. If touch is the way you feel most loved, then the absence of touch would give you the opposite feeling. What if you knew that and could respond with love instead of frustration? You could surprise him, and in turn be surprised, with what you long for most.
This isn't a romance movie recipe and it isn't a magic marriage fixer but it does help bring you together. When you learn respect in marriage, when you are open to communicating your needs without feeling or sounding needy and when you are willing to understand your beloved's love language you can find something new. Something special.
What did we find? A way to say, I love you without words. An intimate way to grow together through the two things we both need most - touch and time together. He has learned that sometimes I get to choose the touch. Just as I let him choose what we do for our together time. We have compromised and found a sweet spot in the middle.
I can read a really good book and rub his shoulders. He can watch his show while I hold his hand. I can do the dishes or cook and he keeps me company. I can walk out to the truck with him for a hug and a kiss on a wintery morning. We can be high maintenance with each other and have it not be a negative thing. Instead it becomes balance with strengths and weaknesses, wants and desires, being loved and beloved.
We still frustrate each other. No getting around it. Sometimes we even feel like the other is asking for a bit more than we can give. That is human nature. What is God in what we are doing is that we still show one another love, we still work for respect and we can come to a place where we can say, safely, I need a bit more today.
I need some time together, just us two, with no distractions.
I need a massage, the tension this week has me tight as a rope.
I need to hold your hand during church.
I need a kiss every time you walk by me.
I need to see your love in action.
God brought these two hearts together and like anything that is worthwhile growing love requires work. My husband is a farmer and he knows some crops are 'seed and forget' and others need almost daily checking and care for a bountiful harvest. The work you put in often, not always, comes back to you at the harvest.
Storms come. Floods too. Droughts. Insects. Disease. Tests and trials. But if we face them together we are stronger on the other side. Iron sharpens iron. Who better to be sharpened with than someone you love dearly?
For Valentine's Day I'm doing a coupon book for my husband and son. One each. Coupons for their favorite things from me that I don't always have time for when they ask. This week I'm going to be asking them what their favorite things are to do together. They go in the book.
We are in a good place now. We haven't always been here. God knows right where you are at. And the very best thing for us all, as His children, is that to Him we are never too high maintenance! How great is that? God never says, oh AGAIN! He is there. As close as our breath. The space between spirit and soul. How wonderful is THAT?
Please join us in sharing your thoughts, and as always, pray for one another sisters and brothers.