In my last blog post, I warned you about comparing your wife to your mother... because your wife is not your mother. When you get married you unknowingly put a set of expectations on your spouse that you have learned over the course of your childhood. My poor wife, Nikki, was setup for failure from the start, not because she did anything wrong, but because I had an idea of what my wife was supposed to be like.
Don’t you wish we could have a job description from our spouse so you knew their expectations up front? For instance, for the longest time my wife folded my t-shirts differently than everyone else’s because it was the way my mom folded them. Wouldn’t that have been nice to know before we got married?
I often joke around about some of Nikki’s habits, like the way she leaves her clothes and other stuff laying around, or the fact that she can’t seem to find the trash can when she is on the couch and has eaten something in a wrapper. They always seem to find their way in between the couch cushions. It took a while for me to see this, but I am glad she is exactly the way God made her, which is perfect for me! I didn’t always see her that way; in fact we had some pretty bad arguments over these habits and more. There were several times I left the house because I was so angry, one time in particular I remember the fight was so bad I just wanted to end my life.
When we got our first devotional, God began to shed light on my anger issues and what I saw as her bad habits. It was based on Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages. We discovered that my primary love language is Acts of Service. I grew up watching my mother do things like having dinner on the table when dad got home, cleaning the house, washing the laundry, and doing the dishes. That was until “chores” came along, and I remember my brother and me sharing in some of the duties.
According to Webster’s Dictionary, one of the definitions of chore is “An unpleasant but necessary task.”
When we see something as being unpleasant, it's the last thing we want is to do voluntarily. But what if you had no way of saying the words "I Love You?" Most husbands would probably respond with buying a gift. But what if your wife’s love language is quality time? That would be like speaking Chinese to someone who speaks French. For some of you, it would sound even more ridiculous if I said do the laundry, wash the dishes, or clean the house.
Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. -John 13:1,5 NIV
Here we see Jesus demonstrating the love language of acts of service. Washing of feet was usually a task was relegated to a servant so it had to be shocking to the disciples to have their teacher doing such a thing. For a spouse who does not speak acts of service as their primary love language, they may feel like a servant while unintentionally communicating to their spouse that they don’t love him/her. Is that you? Consider using Jesus as your model and reflect on this scripture:
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. -Colossians 3:23-24 NIV
Now that I know Nikki does not naturally speak my primary love language, I have learned that her not doing some of the “chores” doesn’t mean she doesn’t love me. On the other hand, when I see her doing them I see her screaming at the top of her lungs I LOVE YOU!
NOTE: A dear Facebook follower asked if we'd write about chores, prompting me to write about our misunderstanding with acts of service love language. We love to hear from you!
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