My husband and I realized a couple of years that we have this pattern with home improvement projects.
1. I get “inspired” to do a project after watching too much HGTV and/or Pinterest.
2. I explain to Husband that we “just” do steps A, B, C and become so fixated that I don’t talk about anything else.
3. Husband explains that it sounds great, but right now is maybe not is not the best time to start said project, for long list of valid reasons.
3. I decide I don’t want to do any of the things on my current to do list (like fold laundry, work, clean….) and I am just going to start this thing.
4. Start project on my own without actually reading instructions (because instructions are boring) or measuring things (because measuring is hard).
5. Become a wreck because I’ve made a mess of everything and now this project is dead to me.
6. Husband is annoyed because he now has to (not only) finish the project, but first clean up my mistakes.
I know I’m not alone here.
Even in our pre-marriage counseling we got in a fight about painting projects. No joke.
Tony was out of town for work for four days, and the same morning he left I got the itch to finally tackle my office. It was a completely blank slate with walls that have never been painted. In the 11 months we have lived here, it became a crap catcher room, not the beautiful, functional office I dreamed it would be. Not only did I want it painted, but also wanted to add wainscoting. In every new thing we do to our new house, we are trying to upgrade this 3yo spec house into a beautiful custom home.
Because my husband was gone and unable to “fix my mess” for me, I thought to myself, what if this one time I take something off his list of stresses instead of adding to it? (His list of stressors isn’t long right now, but it’s heavy). What if I prove to myself that I can persevere and my ADHD brain can actually focus enough to measure and to learn something from reading instructions? This is hard to explain, but instructions are like my personal hell. My brain is not made for linear patterns. Instead of falling into my old pattern of deciding this project is dead to me and closing the door to my office, never to be opened again, I removed each obstacle (excuse) and got the job (almost) done. This is mostly thanks to YouTube, advice from my friends via Instagram, and friends who offered some tools and help! It wasn’t easy for me, but I tried my best to speak my husband’s love language, Acts of Service.
He got home late last night and was so excited to see my progress. (Post to follow soon about this project start to finish!) He could hardly believe I got the saw down off the top shelf in the garage with a ladder (this was a whole can of worms), much less then learned how to use it. He was blown away that when he left the room was one way and now has been completely transformed over the course of a couple of days. Not only did he not have to use the little spare time he has to do it, but he didn’t have to deal with my “backseat driving” throughout the process.
After, we sat in the kitchen over a couple of Miller Lites (our love story is a true Wisconsin fairytale, my friends), and he listened to me pour over every little detail of what I did and how I did it. He interrupted only once to tell me I looked pretty in white (I was wearing a ratty old tee shirt from high school) and later even said, “I am sure I don’t ask you enough, but what are your dreams?” He may as well have flown me to Paris for a romantic weekend and bought me diamonds. Asking me questions and initiating MORE conversation where I get to ramble about my FEELINGS?! Total mic drop. I can’t remember the last time I felt more loved, valued and adored.
What I’m telling you, with all of this rambling and side stories, is that my more-action-than-talk husband spoke my love language, Words of Affirmation. This does not come naturally to him, like using a saw and a nail gun does not come naturally to me.
These both might sound like small things — sure, I did a home improvement project and he said some nice words. But these are HUGE victories for our marriage. We are both still learning how to love each other best, even though it’s not our natural tendency. The more we do this, the more natural and easier it becomes.
I want to hear from you —
Do you know your love language? Do you know your spouse’s? What does “loving well” look like to you?