Remember when you were dating and you could talk for hours about nothing and everything? Now that kids and jobs and budgets are a part of the picture, our conversations tend to revolve around kids and jobs and budgets. I don’t know about you, but our conversations tend to be short, business-like and to the point. They go a little something like this:
What are you doing Thursday?
I have a team tennis match.
Again? There is a meeting at school and I don’t want to take all of the kids.
I didn’t see it on the calendar.
I forgot to put it on there, but I told you about it Sunday.
I’ll try to find someone to play in my place.
No, don’t do that. I’ll just take them all with me. It shouldn’t last too long.
This gripping dialog repeats itself several times a week with slight variations. We have drifted away from the meaningful conversations–those that are driven by a desire to know each other better and to encourage one another. Now our conversations are birthed out of a need for some kind of help.
On a recent kid-free road trip, we drove 5 hours to the beach and never turned the radio on. It was anything but silent. You must know I am married to a talker. He processes everything verbally. Usually road trips are full of conversation, but they tend to be one-sided–he talks and I listen. Or, he asks for advice and I give it.
This trip was a little different. We hit deep issues like the values we want to teach our kids and where his career is headed. He still processed things out loud, but we did it together, drawing from my strengths in organization and long-range planning and his insightful analytics.
My favorite moment was when he said, “All of this reading and writing makes you a better communicator.” My love language is verbal affirmation, so, as a writer, this compliment went deep. About a hundred miles further down the road he commented that he was enamored with me because I spoke life to him.
While this conversation was mostly about him, it went so beautifully for both of us because I fulfilled my role as ezer, or helper. Genesis 2:18 introduces us to the first wife, created to be “a helper for” Adam. It is not PC or woman’s lib to glorify our role as the helper in the marriage. Equality and rights scream for us to take the stage as a co-star and not a supporting actress. But in those moments when I am the ezer, I can feel God’s pleasure as I fulfill my created purpose.
One of my primary purposes is to make my husband the best him he can be. This requires my time, my attention, and my heart. Fulfilling that role sometimes means making a healthy sack lunch. Sometimes it is providing encouragement to pursue a goal. Sometimes it is marital passion. And sometimes it is a no radio road trip.
What ways can you help your husband be the best him he can be?
Once you identify and learn to speak your spouse’s primary love language, I believe you will have discovered the key to a long-lasting, loving marriage. (Gary Chapman, Five Love Languages)
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