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Ebb and Flow: The Tides of True Love September 11, 2014

Posted by michaelnjohns in Uncategorized.

Tides are natural in everything in life.  There’s ebb and flow.  The sun has cycles of sunspots and quiet, cycles of solar flares and quiet.  The moon in its’ orbit has perigee and apogee, waxing and waning.  The tides in the oceans and lakes ebb and flow. And so does love.

I love my wife and kids.  But sometimes I love them more, and sometimes I love them less.  I’m certain the feeling is mutual. There are times when they are the focal point of my life and I would do anything for them.  And there are times when they are not, and I do what is necessary because they are in my life and I have to do the necessary things.

I love my wife.  Sometimes more, and sometimes less.  I love her more when we are communicating each others’ love languages.  I love her less when she forgets to tell me she loves me, and she starts feeling more like a consumer than a provider.  She likes the refreshing, epsom, mint and oatmeal footbath, and the hour-long backrub that puts her to sleep.  She likes not having to do the household chores.  When I do these kinds of things, I’m telling her I love her.  There are days when she loves me and tells me in my language, and there are days, I am sure, when she wonders if “til death do us part” is her license to kill.

I love to mow grass, wash dishes and vacuum.  I love the finished product, the finished project, looking at what is done and feeling satisfied, even if I’m tired, because I did the job right and it’s done.  I love having a job to do, doing it, and going home at the end of the day.  It’s fulfilling, even if the wallet doesn’t get far from barren.  In this way my dad used to love his family, and in the same way I love mine.  I get tired just like dad did, too.  I love to write, and I crave admiration from my loyal fans and my family, especially my wife.

There’s the rub.  And I don’t mean a backrub or foot massage.  She doesn’t care about my writing.  At all.  She says it’s good sometimes, but she’s not a fan.  One of my love languages is words of encouragement, and she doesn’t speak it.  Instead, she has inherited a critical spirit from one or both of her parents, and it’s hard for me to accept it.  She wants this and that, and doesn’t understand why it isn’t perfect, and points out the things I didn’t do instead of praising what I did, which would encourage me to do what I didn’t do faster than a critical word saps my energy.  And then she criticizes my lack of energy and “ambition.”  Insult to injury.  And then I say something mean too, and then I do less to help out because what I did wasn’t appreciated.  It’s the “ebb” of the tide of true love.  And it sucks.

Can I have a love that just flows naturally from her and back, tides that only rise, please?  Can we both just be supportive and encouraging instead of all this negative crap?  Can she say  something encouraging about my writing and my work, like, “I really liked the way you described that character” or “I like how you set that scene,” instead of “why isn’t the novel finished yet?” and “why isn’t the house clean?” and “why don’t you earn more money?”  The worst thing you can say to a writer is “you should quit writing and focus on things that will pay the bills.”  If she really wants to hurt me, she’ll say that last one.  I’ve heard it from “friends,” and consultants.  But I have to write.  Just like you need to breathe.

Writing has an ebb and flow too.  I’ll hit the groove, so to speak, and write a few thousand words without blinking.  I’ll hit a low tide, and write nothing for a week.  But I love to write.  It’s better than ice cream and chocolate.  She likes ice cream and chocolate.  Maybe I should spend some on that instead of just on the bills.  Soon.  After all, I love her even if she doesn’t love me back right now.

Today there was a chocolate bar she hid in my sack lunch.  It’s her language, but maybe she’s telling me she does love me. Today, anyway.


Readers, study the people you love and love them in their own language, not just in your own.  Tell the person you love that you love them, without using any words, or if their language is words, tell them with and without.  Love each other well and dearly and now.  You might not be able to love as well later.



1. Megazzi - September 12, 2014

You are right when you say love ebbs and flows. Sometimes love can likened to a rip tide. It’s dangerous. My wife and I have had 25 years of pure martial bliss: not bad for a 41 year old marriage.

michaelnjohns - January 7, 2015

“I don’t believe I’d-a done told that.”~Lewis Grizzard

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