“I’m going to get this done for you today,” my husband said after asking me to mix the epoxy that would soon coat the garage floor.
“What do you mean, ‘for me?’ I really don’t care much at all about the garage or the shed, so it confuses me when you say you’re doing them for me. Those are the things that you care about.”
He thought a moment before responding.
“I want you to have a house you love. That you feel proud of. Everything I do around here is ultimately for us. For you. It’s like planting is for you. You do it because you enjoy the process and the result, but you also do it to make this home better for both of us.”
I thought back to my efforts to paint the living room before he returned home, my search for the “perfect” end tables to complement the new sofa and my carefully arranged and found frames on the new picture ledges. In each of those cases, I was thinking of what he would like. Because even though none of those details are ones that are particularly important to Brock, he enjoys and benefits from me tackling those areas that he would likely ignore if left to his own devices.
Yet, when he was engaged in similar projects, I tended towards annoyance at being interrupted for help (his projects always seem to happen when I’m in the midst of my own thing) and an utter lack of comprehension at his motivation.
What I sometimes perceive as a self-serving undertaking is often initiated as an act of service.
And now every time I pull my car over that newly epoxied garage floor, I whisper a quiet, “Thank you.”