My husband loves to tinker with vintage automobiles. In fact, he’s restoring an old car right now. When Jim talks about something having a 350 or 427 cubic inch motor, it once meant absolutely nothing to me.
Until a few years ago, I wasn’t even interested in whether he had a Chevrolet or a Buick. But that all changed after a friend at work asked, “Now what make of car is Jim working on?”
“I don’t know,” I said. “I think it’s a Buick.”
A car buff himself, he was stunned by my reply. “You should know things like that,” he said.
At first his comment offended me, but deep down inside, I knew he was right.
Changing my ways
If Jim and I were much younger and dating, I would have made a real effort to know what a 350 or 427 motor meant. Why? Because I would have tried to show him that I cared about what he cared about … that what was important to him was important to me.
Realizing I had been self-centered, I changed my ways. And the next time I asked my husband about the old car he’s restoring, I didn’t just hear his words. I listened with the intent of remembering.
Then one day I shocked Jim when we parked by an orange truck. “I really don’t like that color,” I said, “but I will like the Ruby Maroon Metallic color of your 1941 Master Deluxe Chevy.”
Jim looked at me in total disbelief.
Sometime later I asked him, “How did it make you feel when I knew those details?”
“I knew that took extra effort for you,” he said. “It said you love me.”
Who would have thought that a few details about something that interests my husband would say “love” to him?
How do you show your spouse you care?
Yes, love can be expressed in many ways.
After more than 40 years of marriage, Jim says he loves me when he makes coffee in the morning and gets gas in my car … when he surprises me with fresh flowers from the yard or cooks a special meal. He shows that he loves me when he goes on some crazy “field trip” with the grandkids that was my idea. Or stops the car because I want to take a picture of a barn.
What about you? How do you show your spouse that you care?
Do you leave little notes on the dash of the car or jot messages on the bathroom mirror. Do you pray for them out loud before you go to bed? Do you put their needs ahead of your own, encouraging them when they are feeling down?
Do you make an effort to enjoy one of their favorite activities, just so you can be together? Do you remember the details of their first car?
We have some good advice about love in 1 Corinthians 13. In verses 4-7, the Bible paraphrase The Message says: “Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut. Doesn’t have a swelled head. Doesn’t force itself on others. Isn’t always me first.”
Simply put, love in marriage is caring more about your spouse than yourself.
And sometimes the color of true love is Ruby Maroon Metallic.
Mary is the author of One of a Kind Grandparent Connection: Building a Legacy with Your Grandchild and the co-author of The Grandparent Connection: 365 Ways to Connect With Your Grandchild’s Heart. She is a former writer for FamilyLife, and her articles have appeared in numerous publications.