February 14, 2004

I think marriage is another

I think marriage is
another one of those relationships in our lives that teaches us about sacrifice.
R and I were having a conversation this morning about some very specific
going-ons in our own relationship that need to be tweaked and adjusted. Two
kinds of deposits are available for immediate withdrawal from my emotional bank
account: words of affirmation and receiving gifts. Anything else may require a
waiting period in order to withdrawal said deposits. Many people who "feel"
loved with gifts are labeled materialistic and superficial. Yes, I admit that I
am. I struggle with it. I want it all for myself. But, I also want it all for
everyone else, too. I want to give whatever I can to anyone who needs it, wants
it, or has even thought about it. Living on a budget is absolutely depressing
me. I want to buy little things that I see that I know would bring a twinkle to
someone's eyes. I want to wrap up things neatly to disguise the lovely surprise
beneath the pretty paper- it extends the anticipation. I want for a girlfriend
to walk out to her mailbox or hear the doorbell ring and see some of her
favorite people: a post deliverer and/or a UPS delivery person (how was that for
egalitarian treatment of non-gender specific jobs?) and be thoroughly surprised
and ultimately delighted. Many think the gifts must be expensive- not true! I am
personally more satisfied by a surprise of flowers picked by the side of the
road (yes, truly illegal in some states, but, oooh the added thought of risk
taken just for me....); a coffee; a crisp package of my favorite gel pens; a
Hershey's with Almonds or an Almond Joy. See, it isn't expensive. It's
thoughtful! To the lover of gifts, it expresses "I am thinking of you" or "You
were on my mind." As my spouse is gifted with not only making a budget, but
sticking to it, I have to remind him that I don't want something everyday and I
certainly don't expect a diamond ring or roses everytime (though I obviously
wouldn't refuse). His love languages are acts of service and physical touch.
Let's get one thing clear here, people: physical touch is not the same as sexual
touch. It means that when I reach over and put my arm around R, he feels that I
am thinking of him. If I rub R's neck while we are driving, or put my hand on
his leg, he feels appreciated and loved. He needs a hug- full bodied- when he
comes home from work each day. When I stop what I am involved in for a few
minutes to welcome him home, it communicates that I love him and am glad he has
returned to me. Holding R's hand when we are walking together or sitting close
to him when we are in the same room makes him feel close to me emotionally. Now,
sex does, too, but I am talking about non-sexual touch that communicates
thoughtfulness and emotional intimacy. I am not the best at this. He will often
tease me by taking me hand and rubbing the back of his own head while he is
driving. It is a gentle way of saying, "I am here. Please acknowledge my
presence." I think I struggle with remembering to touch him because my whole day
is filled with touch. I am at home with four children who I hug, hold on my lap,
pat and rub their backs and hands, etc. I sometimes feel "out-of-touch" by the
time he arrives home. Nevertheless, I am working on it. Acts of service is
easily accomplished. Our decision for our family structure takes care of it. I
choose to contribute to our family by providing child care for our children
myself. I educate them and plan the family meals and I take care of all the
laundry, house cleaning, etc. (by the way, I am not a martyr- these kids
contribute and R pitches in if I need help, too). He earns the money. He
provides financially; I provide practically. It works well for us (not
perfectly, but well). So, by doing these things, I make regular deposits in his
emotional bank account. It is at times trying and tiring. When I am angry or
disappointed, I indulge in the "Single Girl in the City" fantasy at times: my
money, my time, my decisions. I refuse to end this post in some trite "all's
well ends well" way. This is damn hard work. Sometimes I laugh more than I
breath, so I am glad that I married an extremely funny man and that makes it a
bit less laborious. I don't believe it will ever be flawless, but I do know that
we are committed to each other and it is relieving to know that one won't walk
out on the other for not being perfect. Trite anyway. And I said I didn't have
to have happy endings....

Posted by Rae at February 14, 2004 03:51 PM

Presents that capture the moment > Expensive presents.


Posted by: Joe at March 19, 2005 01:12 PM
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