For my second-to-last act of love, I gave you a back massage because you love them so. (It’s my second-to-last act, but I’m doing a final post, “day 366,” after day 365.) This was a great reminder of several things. (1) Loving you isn’t about me. I still don’t like giving massages, though I can now tolerate them after so much practice. Still, you love getting massages, and that should be enough for me. (2) Doing something for you, even if it’s something I don’t like to do, is much more enjoyable for me when I know that you’re enjoying it. That motivates me to do such things for you. (3) Massages don’t take that long, they’re not that difficult to give, and you get so much out of them. I should just man up and give you them. Anyway, you enjoyed your massage. There are many more where that one came from.
For my act of love on 7/13, I gave you a back massage. Your back was really sore, but you didn’t ask for a massage. So, I offered to give you one. Of course you took me up on the offer.
Today I gave you a back massage in a candle-lit room with our song—“Out of My League”—playing on our laptop.
When I prepared our room for your massage, I told you I would be upstairs for a few minutes, but didn’t tell you why. I also didn’t tell you that I recently bought our song from Amazon. (We haven’t listened to it in several years because we lost the CD.) So you were really surprised when you came into our room, saw the candle, heard our song playing, and I told you that I would give you a massage.
For this act of love, I stuck with something tried and true: a back massage. If ever I want to make you happy, this is all I have to do. The trouble is, getting myself to do it is the tricky part.
Since you love massages so much and I still don’t love giving them, I decided to buy you a gift card for a professional massage. I picked one in our price range—a 15-minute neck, shoulder, and upper-back massage. When I gave you the gift card, I braced myself because I knew you’d jump into my arms once you realized what it was. You did.
When we played that die game on Monday, you asked me if you could switch your prize from a chocolate bar to a back massage. I refused your request. So on Wednesday, I decided to make up for it by giving you your massage. Though I try to vary my acts of love, I don’t think you’d mind if 365 Acts of Love consisted solely of back massages.
Your sixth of seven back massages went down without a hitch.
I’ve been wondering whether some think that a blog like this, by its very nature, cannot be done with pure intentions. Maybe they think that it goes against an appropriate humility. There might be some initial plausibility in what they say. After all, I’ve made this blog public, which means I’m intentionally doing my good deeds before others. But even if it wasn’t public, perhaps cataloging my loving acts, then presenting the finished work to you, necessarily involves some bad motive on my part like an inappropriate desire for recognition.
However, I think that it’s not the nature of the blog that makes the difference, but the nature of my heart. If I’m posting my loving acts here in order that others might think, for example, that I’m some sort of swell guy, then that’s bad (Mt. 6:1). But, if I’m doing so in order that God might be glorified and lives might be changed, then that’s good (Mt. 5:14-16).
I’m not saying my intentions are pure. It’s difficult for me to determine what’s in my heart, so I’m not even sure what my intentions are. But I do pray often that God would use this blog for his glory, not mine.
Saturday’s back massage almost didn’t happen. After dinner, we worked on stuff for several hours. Then 11 rolled around and I went to bed, while you stayed up to go on pinterest. Around midnight, I shot up from my sleep because I somehow realized that I didn’t give you your massage. Though I thought about the fact that I had to get up in six hours and though I wanted to stay in bed, I didn’t even consider skipping the massage. I simply got out of bed to do it, without hesitation and almost instinctually.
This is exactly the result I want from 365—that doing loving things for you would be so ingrained in me that I can’t help but do them. I guess this needs to be further ingrained, though, since I went to sleep before I even realized I missed my daily loving act.
Back massage #4 went okay. Just before I started, you said something that really got under my skin. I gave you your massage anyway, but my heart wasn’t in it. Instead, I bit my tongue the entire time and tried to put the remark out of my mind. The massage changed neither of our attitudes, though we did work through our issue afterwards.
This morning I talked to a good friend on the phone. When the conversation came around to you, he told me that I married up. I certainly did. You do get under my skin on occasion, but that’s what happens when two imperfect and very often selfish people try to make a life together. I love you, Francine, and can’t believe a gal like you married a guy like me.
Three massages down, four to go.
Since day 131, I’ve given my intentions for this blog some thought. I’ve asked myself questions like “Why am I doing 365 Acts of Love?” and “What do I hope will result from it?” Here are some answers. For one, I want to express and increase my love for you and that for many reasons, including the betterment of our relationship, the growth of our character, the good of loving you, the glorification of God (which I take to be primary), etc. For another, I want others to be spurred on to love their spouses deeply and to praise God for what he’s doing in our relationship. So maybe this sums up my intentions: I want to express and increase my love for you for our sake and others’ sake, and all this for God’s sake.
But the above is ideal. I’m sure other, less noble intentions creep in. Like what? Well, perhaps I’m doing 365 because I want you to recognize what I do for you. Or maybe, I want to use it as leverage later in our relationship (“Remember I wrote that blog for you? Can’t you do this one thing for me?”). Maybe I’m blogging because I want recognition from others. I hope that none of these motivate me. Frankly, none are worth the effort 365 requires.
I do recognize that I’m prone to some of the above ulterior motives. But that’s part of the reason I keep this blog anonymous.* Sure, I’ve told some friends and family. [Hi, “Danielle” and “Kyle”!] But for the most part, I’ve kept it a secret.
At any rate, I want my motives for this blog to be good, rather than bad. May God’s grace put and keep me on track.
*Disclaimer: I’m not sure I’ll always keep it anonymous.