Y’all seriously, I have an UNHEALTHY NEED to combine words. I literally can’t stop myself. Like in the title there, do you see what I did? I have 2 questions today, both about tattoos, and I just couldn’t help it. It’s a sickness. But here we go with the questions.
What’s the tattoo, and where is it?
I think I mentioned in the answer to this question that I’d gotten a tattoo. Now, there was very little about that post that was serious, so I don’t know why this reader thought that the part about me getting a tattoo was true, but…keen eye, reader. Fine work indeed.
Let me just start by saying that I thought about getting a tattoo for YEARS before I actually did it. I was never opposed to them in any way; I just couldn’t think of something I wanted on my body FOREVER. Then it occurred to me that I didn’t have to get a design or a picture – I could get words, and y’all know how I love words. So then the question was, “What should it say?”
The first thing that came to mind was a song we used to sing in high school chorus (How many Madrigal Singers on the blog page???). The lyrics of this song came from the Song of Solomon 8:6, which King James translates as, “Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death.” Based on that, I wanted a name of God “sealed” on my arm, but what name? I thought about all the names used for God in the Old Testament – Elohim (God Almighty), Adonai (Lord), Jehova-Jireh (The Lord will provide), Jehova-Shammah (The Lord who is present), El-Roi (The strong one who sees), El-Olam (The everlasting God) – but they were all just a little too specific for me. I wanted a word that would encompass God’s very nature. And then I remembered 1 John 4: 8 and 16. “God is love.”
At this point, there were so many Scriptures that this one word reminded me of that an entirely different thing came to mind. In Deuteronomy, God tells the Israelites, “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.” I liked the idea of having God’s words attached to me so I can see them whenever I use my hands. Walking around with a box attached to my wrist all the time, however, was just not practical. Walking around with a box attached to my forehead was even less practical, and clearly I was not going to get a face tattoo, so we were back to the arm. And this reinforced my original idea based on the Song of Solomon.
So. Love on my arm. That part was set…sort of. To make a long story short, a week or two before I actually got it, I found Galatians 5:13, which says, among other things, “serve one another in love,” and it was then that I decided to get serve on my arm too.
So I think technically I have two tattoos. On the top of my right wrist, facing me, it says “agape,” which is love in Greek. It is there, facing in that direction, to remind me that I am loved unconditionally, selflessly, sacrificially, as the word in Greek implies. On the other side (the palm-side) of my wrist, it says “douleuo,” which means serve. Literally, it means “to make oneself a slave.” I liked the specific meaning of this one as well because I feel like it’s the proper response to “agape.” It’s an intentional act of sacrifice to serve someone else. This one faces out, toward my hand, in the direction service should go.
They’re both in Greek because I liked the specific meanings of the words in Greek, and because Galatians 5:13 was originally written in Greek. Plus, I think the Greek letters are really pretty. And I got them both in brown for two reasons. (1) I wanted them to look more like henna than real tattoo – organic and natural. And (2) as they fade, I wanted them to look more like birthmarks than old tattoos – like love and service are just a part of me.
So that answers question #1. Now for #2:
If one’s husband were, hypothetically, opposed to tattoos, but one wanted to get one, where would be the best location to ensure the husband didn’t have to see it in, um, intimate moments?
Dude, you are asking the wrong girl. I know nothing of, um, intimate moments, but I would imagine he’d have to see it at some point no matter what. I mean, unless you got it in some bizarre place where no one would ever see it (like in your crack or on the bottom of your foot), and then what’s the point? Plus, I just don’t think you should get one if your husband is opposed to them. I know it’s your body, but what with you and your husband being “one” and all, it’s sort of his body too. I think it’s just more respectful of him and your relationship for you to not get a tattoo if he’s that opposed to it.
I mean let’s say I was married, and my husband wanted to grow a mullet, and then shave Mt. Rushmore in one side of his skull and a swastika in the other. So essentially, now he has a mohawk down the center with long, nappy hair down his back, our founding fathers on the right, and a Nazi symbol on the left. On the one hand, hey, it’s his head, not mine. But on the other hand, I would kill him. Especially if we’d talked about it, and I’d said, “No. Absolutely not.”
It’s like when my friend Emily’s husband wanted to name their first kid (boy or girl) Beef Supreme Gibson. And he was serious. It caused a big fight because Emily felt that Nick wasn’t taking their kid seriously, and Nick felt that Emily wasn’t respecting his opinion. Ok, so it’s not really like that at all, but that’s a true story. They named her Magnolia, by the way.
So to recap: Don’t get a tattoo if your husband is so opposed to them that you’d want to hide it from him during times when you’re supposed to be the closest two human beings can possibly be. Consider it your act of unselfish love and service to him.