In my pursuit of a better marriage, I have become a marriage book junkie. One of my favorite topics to read about is how spouses like to receive love. As a result, I've realized that one of my beautiful wife's favorite ways of receiving love is by "acts of service." Yet, I think my version of acts of service has been wrong at times. I tend to think that I'm showing my love for my spouse when I do the dishes. But is that really love? The Five Love Languages
Isn't taking out the trash a responsibility? Something that is a necessary part of maintaining a home? Isn't making dinner something I would do even if I lived by myself? Doing the laundry isn't as much showing love as it is showing that you realize tomorrow you'll be out of clean underwear if it doesn't get done. Fighting Over The Little Things
What I thought was love are the instead the basic responsibilities of life. The mere "price of admission" to the game of marriage. I'm not doing anyone a favor by actually stepping up and doing my part. Shouldn't I be doing these things without thinking I am doing anything wonderful, or overly loving? Stepping up to normal responsibilities isn't love. It is taking responsibility for the life you have chosen.
It's what we did as kids. For instance, when my son brushes his teeth, he likes to come and tell us, or have us smell his breath. He wants praise for it. He doesn't realize that if he goes without brushing his teeth, they will rot out of his head. When he finishes cleaning up his room, he'll ask us to come and look at it and see his accomplishment. He doesn't do it because he is trying to show us love. He does it because he he wants us to tell him he did a great job.
I'm like my son. When I do the everyday responsibilities of house maintenance, I expect my beautiful wife to give me a big reward for "helping" her out and loving her so well. But that's not love. Chores for Two: Why Men Don't Pitch In
So what is it? What is love, if it isn't giving something to get something in return? Love should be selfless. Without an expectation of an Atta-Boy, or Atta-Girl. Without the expectation of "let's go to the bedroom baby."
If you aren't with me on this, you might be asking: "I'm supposed to love like I’m not going to get a return on my investment?" Yeah. It's counter-cultural. It's almost crazy to think that we should actually love by serving and giving of ourselves without thinking of the outcome in terms of "What am I going to get out of it?"
Is being selfless a tougher way to love? Yes. It goes against human nature to do something without seeking something of equal or greater value in return.
All that said, I see a back rub in my wife’s near future.