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PHENOMENON

Bare with me and try not to let the title confuse you. It’s from a movie starring John Travolta and Robert Duval. A quick recap, the story is about a man (John Travolta) who has powers which are believed to have come from a strange light when in reality it is from a life ending tumor which consumed his entire brain, and given him the highest functioning brain in recorded history. Robert Duval is a small town doctor who has been a part of John’s life since he was a little boy and since he has no kids of his own has taken John on as a son.

I’ve watched this movie many times and there is one important part which has struck a new epiphany within me and led me to ask Shannon if I could write this blog.

make spouse happyJohn is smitten with a small town woman with two adolescent children. She wants nothing to do with John seeing how she has been burned in the past. Her sole source of income is making chairs which she sells in town and at John’s automotive shop. Obviously the small town does not offer a lot of support, but to her surprise her chairs sell like hotcakes! She did not know who was buying them, but she was elated to say the least. Well the person buying all the chairs is in fact John. He did not need the chairs, but was doing so out of love and support. Now I have gone a long way to get to my point, but here it goes.

In life we all have our “chairs” that need bought in order to support us. The ‘chairs’ are an example of her love language and John catered to her love language unselfishly.

I’ve struggled in the past with getting my own ‘love language’ catered to and it made me think ‘when is the last time I bought Shannon’s ‘chair’ and did so unselfishly?’ I know at times it is easy to get so consumed with whether or not our ‘chairs’ are selling (or for clearer terms if our own love language tank is being filled) that we can’t see the fact our loved one has a room full of ‘chairs’ unpurchased (their tank is just as empty!!)

John’s desire to purchase the woman’s chairs with no hidden agenda for her to reciprocate in the same way to ‘fill his love language tank’ is truly beautiful. Now to be fair, usually in filling another’s tank it will ultimately lead to your own tank being filled. Now this is one life-giving cycle that is not only healthy, but encouraged.

I’ll admit I have unfortunately not been John in my own marriage. I assume like me there are a bunch of others who fall short on purchasing their loved ones “chairs” or fulfilling their ‘love language tank’ in the way that is life-giving.

less of selfMy weakness has not been that I don’t support or unconditionally love my wife, but that I try to fill my wife’s tank in the way I want my tank filled. Truly a rookie mistake since we do not speak the same “love language”.

To enter into the ‘life-giving cycle’ I needed to find what truly filled my wife’s tank (how could I buy her chairs without her begging me to?) and make an effort to without an agenda for reciprocation but simply because I desire her to be fulfilled in all ways. It’s taken these mistakes to realize that when I fill my wife’s tank unconditionally and out of love and support my tank gets filled to the brim!

Another lesson I’ve learned is to acknowledge that I can’t read minds. I needed to ask exactly what she needs to be fulfilled in love. I vow to try my best. I can’t say I won’t mess up or miss the mark, we are all human. My heart is in the right place, not looking inward but out to the one I love.

By the way, in the end the woman falls in love with John and is there with him on his deathbed. I would say he successfully filled her tank!

Take care and God bless each and every one of you!

Neal

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