Shayne and I like, we've discovered, to talk about our "love tanks." We like to discuss what makes us feel loved and appreciated and we like to tell each other when the other person has done something that has made us feel loved and appreciated.
We like to have full love tanks. It makes deciding who's going to wash the dishes a lot easier, for one thing. And, I think, having a full love tank is one of the best feelings in the world (it's the kind of feeling that reminds me of really soft fuzzy blankets and warm chocolate chip cookies. I really like chocolate chip cookies.). It feels like safety and protection and knowing that someone else has your best interest in mind. This, perfectly, leaves you free to have that someone's best interest in your mind.
It's kind of magical.
Unfortunately, it's not always easy. In fact, sometimes it's really, really hard. Because sometimes if I'm not running around with a full love tank, I have a (gasp) tough time not deciding to take my personal wellbeing and put it on the top of my task list. Which, strangely enough, tends to make other people want to do the same.
It's a big, looping, circle of love and un-love and empty and quarter-empty and full.
So simple, and yet so incredibly complicated.
Our learning curve started (fortunately) well before we were married. In fact, it probably started well before we ever met with family relationships and friendships and slowly figuring out what made each of us feel loved and valued by the people around us.
But I'm not going to lie to you. Before we got married, we were nowhere near figuring out the balance, how to truly love each other, how to keep ourselves from slipping into that oh-so-uncomfortable un-love circle. And since we've been married (all two months that it has been since our "I do"), we still haven't figured it out.
I'm telling you all of this because I am feeling very well-loved today. I'm a quality-time-kid and Shayne and I spent our day running errands, making food and watching a football game. Which, for me, is very nearly a perfect day (I'll admit, I would have also enjoyed watching Friends. But I'm beginning to think that football is Shayne's love language.). And very nearly perfect days happen a lot, but that doesn't mean we don't have to talk about it and work at it. Which, really, makes it all worth it.
I'm picturing us, on a porch swing somewhere, fifty years down the road and Shayne turns to me and says "Baby, my love tank is feeling really empty right now."
To which I, of course, will respond: "Oh honey, I love you more than anything. How can I make sure that you know it today?"