It’s the Little Things: Recognizing the Unique Love You Have
A colleague once shared some insights into her marriage, telling me that every week of the thirty plus years she had been dating and married to her beloved, he brought fresh flowers to her as a testament to his love for her. That’s the sort of comment that makes the rest of us tilt our heads to one side as we tally the number of testaments we’ve received. Our men usually come up short–at least in flowers and weekly gifts.
Another woman told me that her husband always wakes before she does, makes the coffee, and returns to wake her with a back rub, hot coffee steaming on the bedside table. As she spoke, I imagined romance and flowing négligées before flashing to my own reality, one wherein obnoxious DJs crack wise while one flannel-cloaked arm reaches to hit the “snooze” button at least three times.
But here’s the thing. As that husband rubbed her shoulders and let her sniff the warm caffeine, he was falling in love with another woman. Not long after she told me of his morning devotions, he left her with nothing but his memory, left her to awaken alone into a new tomorrow, one she dreaded until she could no longer recall his touch. And that first woman, the one with more flowers than she could count, also told me about one weekend when that husband snatched her flowers from the vase, threw them to the floor, crushed them under his feet, and walked out. When I, aghast, asked “Why?” she shrugged her shoulders and said, “A man’s gotta stamp his feet now and then.” She even smiled as she spoke.
Upon reflection, my daily and weekly gifts shine in comparison. If my husband has the first clue about what I truly need or want, he will shove all obstacles from his path to deliver. He never fails to ask, “How did you sleep?” and seems to care about the answer. Through sickness and in health, for richer and poorer, he has told me I’m beautiful. And no day passes without the following exchange:
“Have I told you that I love you?”
“No,” I answer. “You never do.”
“Well, I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
Are these words worth more than flowers? I think so. Are these words a balm to my sore shoulders? Absolutely! Do I always register his many gifts? Sadly, no.
I am single-minded—a one-track train with such concentration and so many powerful filters that I can tune out everything around me, including him, so quite often I return mentally to a room that I never actually physically left without the foggiest notion of what has just been said. I’ve learned to ask him to repeat himself, and yes, he could stamp his feet when he has to repeat himself, but he doesn’t. That’s a gift, wouldn’t you say? A great gift.
One other gift that my husband gives me is the gift of “thank you.” He thanks me for the food I prepare, for the life we’ve shared, and for gestures that I think most other people would take for granted. Last year, I agreed to two weeks on the Mexican coast, a place that has loomed large in his imagination, a place for which he has studied Spanish, and a place I had no desire to go. He was like the child whose Santa wishes have just been granted ten-fold. He thanked me often and continues to do so.
So, Readers, I urge you not to wish for what you do not have, but to tally the fleeting moments that wrap you in love. These endure through the coldest winters and shadowy uncertainties. These make us rich and whole.
Oh, and happy holidays to one and all!