Before I had a dog, I really did not understand the bond other people had with their dogs. In my mind, dogs were cute, cuddly, and simply pets. Until I got my own dog, I was blissfully unaware of how much work they are and how much time they take. Not only that, but dogs need their owners for almost everything – unless you live in the country and your dog hunts its own food.
Sometimes as we are playing with Ramsey (our golden retriever) or scratching her head, we ask her, “What do you do in return for all of this great care you receive?” (Not that we expect an answer… ~smile~) She eats the food we provide, plays with the toys we gave her, lives in the house we are paying for, and sleeps on the bed that she never has to make in a room she never has to clean. On one hand, she may seem like a useless creature, but she’s far from it. We gladly do all these things for her because of the happiness she brings to us.
When she gets into things – and that’s about seven to ten times a day (she loves dragging things out of the trash can) – I often say that it’s a good thing she is so cute because it keeps her out of so much trouble. When she comes running out of the bathroom with the toilet paper roll in her mouth, it makes me mad and… it makes me laugh. Then, when she drops it and flashes a big golden retriever smile, or when she drops it and runs to her crate with a pitiful look on her face, I melt.
I confess I’ve never stayed mad at her long. It is simply impossible. Then there is our favorite feature – her wag. On days when I feel like no one in the world cares, she is there to wag that fluffy tail when I walk into the room. When she gets really excited, she her body starts wagging along with her tail.
The simple wag of Ramsey’s tail instantly lifts my spirits – the power of the wag. Pets are good for taking a difficult day and making it just a little more bearable. And, when properly maintained, marriages can do the same thing. When a husband and wife work to keep their marriage clean of toxins (resentment, loneliness, neglect, etc.), they can provide incredible joy and support to one another.
Earlier, I mentioned that Ramsey we provide for Ramsey and, in return, she brings us happiness. When you look forward to your upcoming marriage, consider the things that your spouse will really need from you.
When Eric and I were first married I felt like a failure because I could not offer him the things I believed he needed (theological debate/highly intellectual discussions, skilled business advice, the perfect answer to all questions asked, etc.), but slowly I realized that more than those things, he needed me to be devoted to him. He needed me to love being in his presence and to cheer him on in his endeavors. He could have deep conversations on any number of topics with friends. He could hire someone for skilled business advice – and no one can legitimately expect the perfect answer to every question ever raised. What he needed was for me to be on his team. When he is secure in my devotion, he is also happy to provide the things that I need from him. I don’t have to jump through hoops to earn them.
When Ramsey’s face lights up and her tail begins to swing from side to side, I get the sensation that she’s my biggest fan. Your future spouse will need you to be his/her biggest fan. He or she will need this more than your perfectionism or highly regarded skills. Fans are excited about their hero. They are eager to do things for their hero. They are supportive of their hero’s endeavors. They light up when they see their hero.
As you enter into marriage, make it a point to learn what is really important to your new spouse. He or she may not even know yet, but you can learn together. For example, I was always taught that men need a few minutes to unwind when they come home from work and that it’s best to leave them alone for about half an hour after they return home from work. Well, I was sure surprised to find that when Eric comes home from work, he is eager to share events from his day and new ideas. Your spouse may also have some non-stereotypical traits, needs, and talents, and you can surely learn them “on the job.” ~smile~
Take some time and notice how you interact with the love of your life. Your “wag” may be one of the most important traits in your marriage.
How’s your wag? Does your body language show your future spouse that you highly esteem him or her?