“Can you do me a huge favor?” My husband’s text inquired.
Before I could finish typing my reply he continued with, “it’s ok if you can’t…”
I watched the texting bubbles continue and finally emerge, “do you mind taking a detour on the way home?”
I easily replied, “of course. I’d do anything for you.”
Then I sent an amusing Meatloaf meme. Meatloaf the band, not the entree.
What I didn’t do was think, “I can’t believe he asked me to do that!” Although I could have. After all, at the time I was currently on my fourth, twelve hour shift in a row, and he knew this full well. Twelve hour shifts are no joke anyway, but factor in more like thirteen at the critical care patient bedside, and it felt like a seventy-two hour shift. Well, it had been over fifty hours worked in a mere four days. Point being, yeah, I was tired.
When my husband (who didn’t work outside of the home) asked me to stop and pick him up something, I didn’t think the above for even a moment. It never entered my mind actually. He needed something, I had the only vehicle, and most importantly, I loved him.
You see, love is service. You serve in love and that’s the core of marriage. Here’s what marriage is not. It’s not comparison.
To say, “well, I’ve been working all day” is to suggest that he had not been working.
To say, “well, my job at the hospital is harder than his job at home” not only took away from the important tasks he performed in our home, but it also tried to value me over him. That’s not something we do.
Nursing is hard.
Parenting is hard.
Patient care is hard.
Homeschooling is hard.
Working outside of the home is stressful.
Working inside the home is stressful.
I’ve done both fulltime, so I knew.
I knew you can’t really compare the two, but I knew I wouldn’t want to anyway. You see, our relationship isn’t based on who does more. It’s based on the question we both ask ourselves daily, “what more can I do to serve my spouse in love?”
Love isn’t just a word, but it’s also not just a feeling. If love was only feelings I certainly would not have felt like making a detour that night. No, love was also action. You showed love by your service in love, without complaint, without comparison, without expecting something in return.
When I arrived home that night, after making my detour, I was hit immediately by the delicious smell wafting out the kitchen window. Waiting for me was homemade fried chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, corn on the cob, and freshly baked cookies. My happy, healthy daughters greeted me with a smile, displaying proudly their schoolwork from that day, graded by their teacher/principal/dad. I walked happily into the clean living room and noticed the empty laundry baskets sitting in the hall. He had done it all. After dinner he massaged my tired feet and got our daughters ready for bed. If we were keeping track, he had probably outdone me that day, but rather than tallying up a scorecard, I simply enjoyed the feeling of being taken care of so well. Of being loved so well. Of being served in love, and serving in return, not out of obligation, but because of our shared affection. That was marriage.