By Suzanna Kaye
First, Can I just say how much I absolutely love reading all of your replies to my Love Letter emails? Seriously - my heart flutters and smiles when I see them.
One reply I got from the “My husband thinks he’s lazy” love letter got me to go deeper into the housework, energy and love dynamic. (I love it when these conversations create even deeper ones!)
Here’s what “A” wrote in reply to my Love Letter:
“No, I think my husband's just lazy. He works full-time, but so do I. Once he gets home, he wants to sit on the couch and watch TV...and wants me to sit with him! My problem is once I sit still for more than 10 minutes, I'm done. Lots of days nothing gets done around the house. I find it very frustrating and depressing to come home and look at the mess. Sorry for venting/ranting/raving.” - From A. (I’ve used only an initial for confidentiality.)
Well to start, A - never be sorry!!! You’re amazing. <3
And I can relate to being done as soon as you sit for 10 minutes. I’m that way, too. I can’t sit for any length of time unless I’m ready to be done for the day. (But that’s a whole other topic….)
Now, I don’t know what the deeper roots are with A’s relationship. I can never claim to be a counselor or an expert on anyone else’s life. But this brought back a lot of my own memories and experiences with my own marriage.
When my sweet Moose Pie (that’s what I call my husband Geoff) and I first really started living together, we had this issue a lot. He’d get frustrated because I’d be in what he called “mission mode.” I’d be working on several things around the house and wouldn’t just sit for a bit with him. It was the root of a number of fights. I’d feel frustrated if I did stop and just sit with him because nothing was getting done. I’d feel guilty if I didn’t stop because he’d be upset with me. And I’d feel resentful as I cleaned up while watching him just sitting on the couch. Trust me - it wasn’t good.
Sadly, I’d managed to fall in love with a “touch and quality time” love language guy. Not normally a bad thing. I, however am very much an “acts of service” girl. (If you don’t know the 5 Love Languages, it’s a good quick read that made soooo many things clear for me! Www.5lovelanguages.com)
This means a huge part of how I show love is keeping the house in order and managing our schedules. I do things to show I love him. It comes naturally, I don’t even have to think about it.
But what he NEEDS is time with me and simply to be touched. A hug, holding a hand, snuggling on the couch. Nothing fancy - just be there and connected. And when he doesn’t get this, his emotional love bank runs low. We all know how that feels - we get sad, don’t have the energy to go the extra mile for our partner, and don’t feel connected. We feel unloved.
This is how I feel when it seems I’m doing all the work around the house. When things are broken, trash is overflowing or I have an extra hard week and there’s nobody there helping to pitch in. The bank is empty.
That low emotional bank balance on top of clutter and disarray building add up to a very depressed and stressed wife. And one who’s not likely to want to cuddle. It becomes a vicious circle. I don’t have the emotional energy to give him in touch and time, he doesn’t have the emotional energy to help me around the house, and we spiral.
Then, someone notices…..
Once one of us recognizes the spiral we can reverse it.
Though we may not feel like it (it doesn’t come naturally) we start to show love in the other person’s language. He takes out the trash way before it’s overflowing. Or I stop mid-mission to give him a kiss and a long hug. It’s really hard at first, especially with a low emotional bank balance, but we force ourselves and push through. And it starts to reverse.
This is what I’ve learned….
When he asks me to sit and hang out with him for a while, I realize it’s because he needs that time with me. He needs those moments to help him brush off the world, let go of his day and feel loved by his wife. The outside world can be really hard on him and he needs a way to shake it off. His bank is empty and I can help.
Now, that doesn’t mean I stop what I’m doing and sit with him right then every time. As I mentioned, I’m also the type to lose all motivation if I stop for too long.
But… I can compromise.
The way I do it is to sit for a minute and instead of watching a tv show right then with him I give him a good long hug and talk with him for a bit. I take 5 minutes to just give attention to him. Then, I’m off on my mission and he feels a bit better.
I also take note and make sure I’m giving him enough touch and time during moments that are better for me. Maybe later that night instead of answering emails or reading a book on my own I ask him if he wants to cuddle and watch tv. Or, I hang out in bed a bit longer the next morning and just snuggle with him before I’m up and off on my day.
By helping him keep his bank full he has the energy to help me feel loved. When he’s energized he willingly and lovingly helps out a lot more around the house.
None of this happened by accident. This was learning about our love languages, talking about it and being really honest about what we each need. I had to let him know (more than once) that I feel loved when he does those little things. I communicated what types of things I really appreciate, how I feel when it seems like I’m doing it alone and how having too much clutter and chaos in the house affects me mentally. When he makes me feel loved I make it a point to return the love in his language. He fixed the doorbell and I gave him a super long hug and kiss. I let him know how much it meant to me.
It took a while, but those conversations have helped him realize it isn’t just a convenience thing having him take out the trash. It’s something I NEED as his wife. It’s something that gives me the energy to be there for him.
This is still a struggle for us sometimes. I have to remind myself often that he needs touch and time. When we get out of balance this is where I start to adjust again. And just knowing and working on this has not only helped our relationship become stronger and more fulfilling, but it has made our home more organized. I have help when I need it, and he knows that sometimes he just needs to let me be on my mission but I’ll be there for him later when I can.
And it’s through this communication we all become stronger.
Can you relate? What’s your love language? And your partner’s? I’d love to hear!
Comment below to let me know!
With so much love,
P.S. - Not getting our Love Letters in your inbox? Join the IN crowd and get on the list! Get exclusive conversations like this one by joining here: https://suzanna-kaye.mykajabi.com/Join-The-IN-Crowd
Want the inside scoop before everyone else? I'll sprinkle your inbox with the best organizing & productivity tools, tips and how-to's. And you'll get them first!
Plus, exclusive content and offers only for my insiders. Being on the list has its perks!