Birthdays and Common Languages

This past week was hubby’s birthday, he turned 46. This year was a celebration unlike the past few years and for that, I am grateful! In 2015, I was so sick with my stones and pancreas that I didn’t feel like celebrating anything. Then in 2016, during TheChallenge, we were dealing with so many unresolved conflicts, I didn’t much feel like celebrating him. This year, we are making new memories and celebrating each step of the way is bringing back our joy as a couple. That being said, Hubby is out enjoying his afternoon off with the other Matt Ford, as we call him, playing golf and finding his own joy again too!

Life is so interesting, one day things are magical and the next you wonder why you’re even here, it’s a constant roller coaster. I don’t know if anyone else feels this way, or if it is just me, but the story I am living out is so different than the one I thought I would live. Today is a magical day for me, things seem to be lining up to the dreams I had for my life but I am fully aware of the curve balls that will be thrown out that I will somehow navigate tomorrow. Today, though, I am going to sit in the magical. Monday was his actual birthday and though I threw a party for him on Saturday night, I still wanted to make his day special as well. This year I wanted to make up for the last two years when I, as Gifts being one of my love languages, didn’t do much for Hubby at all. I put together an all day gift giving idea. He isn’t too excited about gifts for himself and I was in a place of deep hurt last year, so I reasoned that he didn’t care anyway so why try. The idea this year was a little corny, but I hope he saw it as a gesture of love. I planned a cake to take to the office as well, but I had so much help to make him feel special by our staff, my little cake didn’t stand out. When I got to work an hour after Hubby and our staff, I discovered that our staff wanted to celebrate him too! They had decorated the office and bought him a cake because they wanted our patients to celebrate him as well. It really was a special day!

This week, I’ve attempted to let him have time to do fun things and interestingly, his fun things make my life better. Something I learned about Hubby in the last year is that completing tasks is a good thing for him. During his birthday weekend, I decided we would complete tasks that had been weighing on him for some time and he loved it! Isn’t that funny? I think the tasks getting checked off was more exciting to him than the party and gifts, although he loves getting together with his friends too. I’m working to understand him more instead of trying to please him with the things that please me. Love languages are tricky sometimes and it takes a lot of effort to offer a language that isn’t personal to me. After 26 years of marriage, I didn’t realize how much better he feels when he spends time with me completing things that need to get done, but I’d say I am rather blessed by it.

When we get married their are five love languages that are common to humans and as spouses, they may match each other which makes it a bit easier, or they may take effort to learn each other’s because they seem foreign. Hubby’s first love language for many years was touch, affectionate hand holding or knee touching consistently was what he longed for. I was completely shut down to that love language for many years but I am grateful to say today that I offer that to him consistently. The other language that we have is words. How do we take two people from this world, raised in completely different environments, and create a common language? That one is even more tricky than love languages.

I am taken back to the beginning of our relationship when I went to eat lunch one day with his family. His mom invited me to dinner. In my home, dinner was served some time after 5pm, unlike his family where dinner was served around the noon hour. We ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner, his family ate breakfast, dinner, and supper. So, where is the common language that we assume all Americans, or at least Bible belt Americans, share? There isn’t one. We go into marriage and take our own family’s language into each and every area, and much of the time (if not all), there is a period of adjustment where we learn one another’s language so that we all meet together at the same time for the meal we will share.

I hadn’t really put a lot of thought into creating that language that is all our own. The same word can mean something completely different to two different people and I no one taught us about learning a common language. All these years, we’ve failed at our attempts to understand one another and I see how creating a common language year’s ago would have been helpful. For instance, what does rest look like in your home? Is it watching television, going for a walk, playing video games, reading? Right now, Hubby and I are in the midst of defining what rest is in our home as a couple. Even though we have lived together for more than 26 years now, it is so strange to me that we don’t really know the other’s definition for rest, and so, we are defining it. We are creating a common language.

I see this in the Church, this lack of a common language. I think many of the conflicts within the religious communities are rooted in the same ideas, only because of our lack of communication in a common language, discourse arises. The same rings true in marriage and as I’m learning to love Hubby well, we have to create our own common language for both of us to find joy in life. It is a process, life is just that, a process. We are learning a common language and joy is returning to our home and I cannot praise Jesus enough. Hubby is one of those men that seeks after the heart of God consistently so I am a blessed woman, because I know that I cannot fill the role of our Dad in his life any more than he can in mine. The only way to the center of true love is by letting God fill that role and us simply loving each other for who we were created to be in Christ. To get to the kind of love we were desiring from the beginning, we have now set ourselves on a journey of creating a common language. I pray that as God brings other couples into our lives, we can share this discovery and hopefully assist them in that process with our story.

I’m excited for all that God is doing in our home this year and I am grateful we stuck to TheChallenge last year, some days it seemed that was the only thread that was keeping us in the battle to win in our marriage. God has a plan in everything and He doesn’t waste a tear so I know it was a gift. Have a blessed weekend!