What can I do for you?
These words passed my lips before wholly giving them my full attention. I was a tad surprised. Nonetheless, here they were. Out. There.
Their presence weighty in the silence which ensued.
Hubs and I were on an early morning walk, hoping to get some outside exercise before the heat settled in for the day—near the three digits.
At 6:30 am, the air still held a bit of crispness, and I wanted to genuinely enjoy the coolness knowing I wouldn’t see temperatures this refreshing until October. Or, September—if I was lucky.
Lover-boy—aka my husband of twenty-five years—was sharing his thoughts punctuated with animated hand gestures and body movements. These mannerisms never fail to make me smile and give me a bit of comfort for they are so familiar to me. They are part of him.
As we walked, our synchronized feet crunching on the dirt trail, I intently listened to his words—spoken and unspoken.
Closely paying attention when people talk is something I aim to practice and which admittedly does not come as quickly to me as talking.
Talking requires little practice. It’s a talent I was endowed with at birth to the dismay of all my teachers throughout kindergarten, elementary, and secondary school. Thus on my report cards, they eagerly—and often—shared their displeasure of my innate ability of gab with my parents.
Talks too much was apparently part of my persona the same as dark hair, hazel eyes, and a peppering of freckles.
For whatever reason, my college years escaped this theme.
As I genuinely paid attention to my husband’s words, my body angled slightly to the left so that I could also look at him, I felt an intense emotion. Gratefulness blanketed my being and love flooded my senses.
And, it is in that moment, the words “what may I do for you?” were uttered.
I have been married to this man I call husband and friend longer than I was single. He has sacrificed much for our family and me—as do all good-hearted people who live with integrity.
Relationships can indeed be beautiful, enriching, fulfilling, passionate, happy and yes, magical.
A gift really.
We are all similarly acquainted with the fact that not all relationships are thriving. We are well aware of their darker sides.
The thing of it is, relationships are in and of themselves blessed or cursed by our actions and the intentional work we put—or don’t put—into them.
Pet Peeve Alert
At this juncture, allow me to share a pet peeve.
I strongly dislike the saying “50-50.” As far as I am concerned, 50-50 is for the birds, not relationships.
A relationship takes all you’ve got. As in 100%. However, the energy an individual puts out isn’t dispensed linearly.
For instance, on a good day, a person might give 125%. On a dreadful day, her 100% may be more like 1% as in “all I can handle today is breathing.”
The energy we give ebbs and flows like an ocean, and we must be willing to give more on some days, believing that when we can’t, the other person will pick up the slack.
Life is hard.
We give our best every day no matter what this amounts to without—at the end of the day—calculating to see if indeed it was an even 50-50.
Hubs gives his all while asking so little in return.
What Can I Do for You?
To show him my love and appreciation, I do many things for him. My acts of love are just that my acts of love for him—most often—spoken in my love language. Since hubs is magnanimous, he takes them all and is grateful for them.
Nonetheless, the fact remains that I filter my acts of love through my heart, my view of the world, my female brain, and my emotions.
My question: “what can I do for you?” was meant to ask him what actions would be viewed and received as an act of love for him. I wanted to speak his language. Go into his world.
After a pregnant pause, he answered: “be my wife.”
“I am that already,” I quipped. Then, I added: “Seriously. What can I do to make your life easier today?”
“Make lunch while I work on the car,” he said.
“I can do that.”
“And, sit with me a bit while I work.”
“Okay,” I replied.
Acts of Love
Lunch was some leftover chicken breasts cooked into chicken alfredo—heavy on the garlic (on purpose).
Request number one: check.
At some point in the afternoon, I made my way to the garage and sat on a chair munching on a favored snack—a raw carrot with a chunk of Dubliner cheese.
I fleetingly wondered if my hubby felt he had a date with Bugs Bunny as my chewing seemed loud to my ears.
Crunch crunch crunch.
However, he seemed oblivious to my masticating while acutely aware of my presence.
Request number two: check.
Simple Acts Done with Great Love
Wow. Seriously. Making my man happy and full of joy wasn’t hard. However, left to my own devices, I would not have picked either of these actions.
I would have profusely showered him with the words of affirmation I so love.
The love note.
Or, the kiss.
All acts of love he would have welcomed and which I nonetheless freely gave.
Who knew that six little words—What Can I Do for You—could be so meaningful?
I was blessed that day because I blessed my man.
Indeed, it is a blessing to give.
I felt like a million bucks because I had made lunch and sat in a hot garage? Come on. Who knew showing love and appreciation could be this simple?
Seriously, I’ve got to ask this question more often.
“What can I do for you today?”
Note: You can learn more about love languages here.