During pre-marital counseling, Kyle and I were encouraged to come up with ways to love each other in big, noticeable ways. We learned each other’s language, so-to-speak, in the things that speak loudly to us and things that fall silent.
After almost three years of marriage, I confess, the ways Kyle loves me often fall on silent, dissatisfied ears. I am not proud of that.
We have been without a working dishwasher for a little over a year (first-world-problem, I realize). This means that one of us has to take up the task of the dishes. While I wish I could tell you that–in all my domestic greatness–I jump to it, it is
often always Kyle. After dinner, anyone can predict the sounds coming from our kitchen on a nightly basis: running water, Pandora radio, and a humming Kyle.
Yes, he hums. It’s adorable.
What’s worse is that perhaps until this morning, when I was doing the dishes, I have not given this a second thought. His nightly task and labor just became something he did. I never considered in the grimy act of scraping crusty food off dishes, he has been fiercely loving me.
As I was mindlessly scrubbing, I started thinking of all the conversations that sat alongside those stained dishes. Tense moments around our table, times we’ve laughed so hard our dog has started barking out of fear, mornings I drank coffee and then left the cup on the kitchen table all day long, creating a ring that Kyle has scrubbed out for over two years.
And never has it occurred to me that in this little, unglamorous act, Kyle has really been saying, “I love you. I love you so much that I’m willing to do this thing that I will never get credit for, and I’ll never ask for anything in return.”
I think this happens in all of our relationships, not just marriage. We begin to take the dirty work for granted, expecting it from those around us, instead of welling up with gratitude. And in my marriage, I can say with confidence that this has been our biggest challenge: we take each other for granted. We start expecting and stop appreciating. We start demanding and stop noticing. We say, “Love me differently, love me more, give me everything,” instead of, “Thank you for every way you already love me.” I hope, in the years to come, that I become better about acknowledging all the unglamorous ways Kyle loves me.