Yesterday was Brian's birthday. The weeks leading up to it are stressful for me as I try to figure out what to buy or do for him. When I ask him, the answer is always the same--"Don't buy me anything."
Now, when most people say that, they don't mean it, but when Brian says it, he means it. Over the years, I've ignored it and tried to be creative with my gifts. Last year, I was out of town for work on his bday, so I had his favorite bbq place in Tulsa send him their bbq sauces. But, I'm not usually good with coming up with those kind of creative things.
This year, he allowed me to invite 3 of our favorite family friends over and we had a fish fry and sat around the fire pit. So simple. So relaxing. So fun. So US!
Even with that, I still felt myself feeling the need to come up with a present.
As I was out gathering twigs for a project (more about that later) and clearing my head--don'tcha just love how being out in nature does that for you?--I had an epiphany. What if the best gift I could give is nothing. What if I actually honored what he wanted and didn't do anything else?
What if we didn't make a big deal at the fish fry that it was a birthday celebration? What if we didn't sing and make him blow out candles? What if we didn't do a present?
Those little voices in my head that tell me what a loser I am started speaking up and telling me I HAD to do something or else I was a bad wife. I had to have a surprise element of the night so that he would feel celebrated and loved.
And that's when I just STOPPED. Brian would NOT feel celebrated and loved by being the center of attention and feeling the need to give a speech. If I did that, it would be to make ME feel better.
How often do we do this in life? We say we are doing something for another people, but we are really doing it to make ourselves look and feel good. We don't want to look like the loser wife who didn't buy candles or a card.
But in doing stuff that makes us feel better, we dishonor those we love most?
So, while my love language is acts of service, it's not Brian's. Love gets past our own hang-ups and expresses itself in the way others' feel celebrated--even if it would make us cringe.