One thing my dad always did for me growing up was make sure my car was running and working well. It was his love language to me. From the moment I could drive, he was constantly inspecting it, taking it for oil changes, taking it to get the tires rotated – he always made sure it would get me from to work and to school and to wherever else I needed to go.
And that was quite a feat, considering I paid $1 for my first car, and that’s about what it was about worth. My dad still has the dollar bill hanging in his garage I used to pay for it. A 1997 green Ford Taurus. It got the nickname Green Machine by the end of High School. And that’s exactly what it was – A Machine.
So fast-forward to today where I’m driving a car worth a little more than $1, and my headlight goes out. And its pandemonium at 6 in the morning when I’m leaving for work. Because my headlight is out, and of course the first cop who sees me WILL PULL ME OVER AND WILL WRITE ME A TICKET AND MY LIFE WILL END.
So my first stop before I even get to work is Autozone, where I’m pounding on the glass like a mad-woman hoping they’ll open early for me so I can get this headlight replaced and go on with my life. And that’s exactly what happens.
Only the “replaced” headlight lasts 2 days before burning out. So again, I find myself running around crazy back to Autozone, on the phone with a mechanic, asking siri why headlights go out…all the while getting extremely mad at my husband Greg for not taking care of it to begin with. Because if he loved me, he’d take care of it, just like my dad did.
And by the time Greg gets home from work I have the boom box blaring in the garage, the hood up on my car, a baby in one hand and a phone in the other talking to my dad trying to walk me through how to fix this headlight.
And Greg gets out of his car, walks AROUND me, and goes into the house.
WALKS AROUND ME.
I just can’t take it anymore at that point. I finally blurt out how mad I am and how if Greg loved me he would have fixed my car. And he must not love me since it’s still broken.
And poor Greg is just blindsided by all of this. After my rant, he goes out to the garage at 10 pm and fixes the headlight. Because he does love me, but he can’t read minds.
And that day we both agreed that marriage is hard, but its harder when you don’t communicate how you’re feeling. And its even harder when you don’t understand what makes your SO feel loved. I learned that day, being loved for me is having a working, running car. And it’s so trivial and so ridiculous, but it’s so important to me at the same time.
And I think everyone just needs to get that, even outside of marriage. We all have our love languages: things we do to make others know and feel our love for them, and things we need to feel loved by others. Recognize that in your people and honor it. And communicate what that means for you too. For crying out loud, if you’re SO needs their car working properly to feel loved, MAKE SURE IT WORKS PROPERLY. The world is hard enough. OUR PEOPLE need to know how to love us well. And we need to love them in return. This is the greatest commandment that Jesus shares with us, after all.
So now Greg walks in the door every night and asks me if anything on my car needs fixed with a smirk. And I feel loved. And all is right in our little world in that moment.