Many, many years ago in the dark corridors of history before even there were children in the Snead house, I asked my young husband: “Why don’t you tell me you love me anymore?”
His response was: “I do, every time I bring the paycheck home.” Wasn’t that romantic?
Now, about four decades later, he has learned a woman needs to hear “I love you,” every day, and he even says it more often than that, but do you know how he learned? We didn’t have Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus books back then, nor did we have articles in Readers Digest, or Gary Smalley’s book on the five love languages—I recommend it, by the way, it’s great! I told him, over and over: “Honey, women are different, we need reassurance, we need to hear it.” Then, when he did say the words every woman so longs to hear, I made it worth his while J
Sex is the same way—we women think men are mind readers, that they somehow should know what we want/like/need and just do it. So we pout and say: “If he loved me he would . . .” Now, come on, gals, let’s give them a break! Can you just say: “Wow, when we watch a romantic movie together after you have let me soak in a hot tub while you got the kids to bed, it really is a turn-on.” Guess what? Even a man can understand that! And when he touches you, you need to tell him if it is a good touch or an uncomfortable one—he doesn’t know unless you do. This is a little foretaste of when I bring the sex-lex presentation later in MOPS: please tell the poor guy: “Wow, that makes me feel good,” or: “Oops, that’s a little uncomfortable.” (or even: “that hurts!”) They really do want to make it feel good, it’s better for them.
Now, have you ever had your husband walk around the car, kicking the tires? And they do that little thumb thing, where they stick their thumb in the tread and see how deep it is. Then they say, “We need to get you some new tires.” I want to interpret the Martian language for you, here it is: “I love you so much and if anything happened to you I would be devastated. I want to protect you because I just love you so much. I am going to get you new tires by the sweat of my brow so you will be safe and I can rest easily about you and the kids on the road.”
How about an oil change? Isn’t that romantic?
You see, God made men the protectors, and their way of showing love is by doing. We women are the communicators—that’s why God made us the primary keepers of the home—kids might never learn to talk if they stayed around men all the time!
Now my husband was raised by a father who was brought up by an abusive grandfather—his mother couldn’t tolerate the free-spirited, strong-willed boy that his dad was, so she sent him away from the farm and hunting dogs he loved to go into town and live with a stern old man who tried to beat him into obedience. Naturally, he never learned to communicate love. His mother lost her first son, a precocious child that she poured all of herself into for seven years, and suddenly a neighbor’s car snuffed out his life in a day. She had surgery to have Joe and his brother, but she seemed to have invested all her maternal instincts into the first son, or perhaps she was so afraid of losing them that she didn’t let herself love as deeply. At any rate, you can imagine with this background that Joe was very crippled when he came to expressing love. For many years I didn’t hear his expressions of love, I didn’t interpret the hard work to provide, those physical efforts to care for us. But through the years God showed me how truly deep and committed this faithful, loving man is. Awkward though his words might be, no woman was ever loved better than this gal right here!
And as the mom in the house, it is up to us to interpret Martian to our children. When stern Daddy disciplines, we must tell the children: “Daddy is afraid you will get hurt, that’s why he was so stern with you. Daddy wants his little girl to be safe.” For years especially our middle child resented his dad’s long hours—a combination of a drive to provide well for his family and the demands of his job as an orthopedic surgeon who must respond to trauma calls from 5 or 6 ERs in feeder counties around the town where he worked. One day I said to him: “David, Pop had a mom and a dad who never told him they loved him, and he
doesn’t know how to express himself, so you know what he does? He buys you a Dodge pick-up. He gets you the best skis. He gives you a $20 bill when you go to the movies.”
When we were all in Panama, going in different directions one afternoon—the guys heading out to get their tuxes, the gals to shop, we made arrangements when and where we would meet, and he reached into his back pocket and pulled out his wallet. “Now,” he said: “who needs money?”
In unison the boys replied: “We love you, too, Pop,” and I knew I had succeeded. Not only did I understand his love language, they did, too. Now, go out there and listen with more than your ears, listen with your heart, because they say I love you every time they bring the paycheck home.
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