Every Day Valentine’s

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Valentine’s Day is upon us.  Oh the glorious holiday that wreaks havoc on our relationships.  The day when most of us are unsure what is called for.  Do I make it a big deal?  What if I get her a gift and she doesn’t get me one?  Does that make things awkward?  Is a date mandatory?  If so who decides what we are doing?  Should I try to make it romantic?  (what even is romantic?)

Oh the consternation.  So much pressure for one silly day.  And that is the key to regaining some sanity.  IT IS ONE DAY.  We roll all this pressure into one evening to try to have the perfect night.  But what if we took a different view of days like this?

What if on Valentine’s Day you could do absolutely nothing for the love of your life because all the rest of the year you loved them so well?

What if you didn’t have to do something special because every day you try to shower them with kindness and small acts of service?

What if all the roses and jewelry and chocolate meant nothing because they can’t compare to all the washed dishes, mopped floors, and scrubbed toilets you give daily without complaining?

Don’t hear me wrong, it is great to be romantic, thoughtful and creative for special days.  But that should be an outgrowth of our daily love routine, not a massive break from it.  It takes way more thought and creativity to find little ways to love each day.  It takes serious creativity to maneuver an act of love between picking up kids from practice, getting dinner on the table and making sure someone changes the cat litter.  It really is romantic to unexpectedly vacuum and wash the car, or just get the kids out of the house so mom can take an uninterrupted bath.  Finding ways to love each day, that is the heart of any true romance.

Yesterday I was sick.  24 hour stomach bug thing.  In a house with seven kids, having one parent down (even if it is me) drastically effects the day.  My wife woke up and immediately had to make massive adjustments.  She was a little frantic.  She left the house with many kids in tow and I had no idea when she would return.  Next thing I know, I am lying in bed and my wife is entering the room with a drink in her hand.  A Sprite she picked up at Sonic.  When my stomach is upset, the only drink I want is Sprite.  I didn’t ask for it.  She didn’t make it a big deal.  She didn’t complain about the effort it took to get it with all the other things she had to cover for me.  But it’s more than just a drink.  It is love in a cup.  A relationship distilled down to a moment of kindness.  And for me, it is better than anything she might get me tomorrow. (unless she has convinced Led Zeppelin to reunite and do a private concert in our backyard, then that is better, way better, but short of that)

 

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Best Gift Ever!

V0040214 A family playing cards: the husband is looking over his wife

Valentine’s Day is a week away. (Warning-Warning, Alert-Alert, Gentlemen Reread That First Sentence!) Ladies, there is a chance he will get you the perfect gift.  The exact piece of jewelry you would buy for yourself, a big bouquet of roses if you are a flower person, a sentimental homemade craft (sure).  But there is also a pretty good chance he will botch it.  A waffle iron, a giant box of those antacid chalk hearts with phrases on them, a mix tape that would be wonderfully romantic if you owned anything that could play a tape.

So when he comes through or crashes and burns remember this; he may already have given you a tremendous gift, only you haven’t noticed.  This gift doesn’t come in a box or wrapped up in fancy ribbon.  In fact, this gift can never be purchased.  The gift: his view of you.

Over time I have talked with so many husbands who tell me the same thing, “my wife is amazing!”  They talk about how dedicated a mother she is, how hard she works, how well she does all things domestic, how beautiful she is.  One thing I try to always ask when these superlatives start rolling out is “do you tell her?”  Most guys say yes they tell their wife, but…and here is the kicker…”she doesn’t really believe me.”

We can all be really hard on ourselves.  It is difficult to look beyond our faults and failings.  We can be so aware of our struggles that we cannot hear someone’s compliment.

Sometimes it is helpful to look at ourselves through the eyes of someone who loves us.  To see what they see.  So ladies, this Valentine’s Day, why don’t you open up a Husband’s-Eye View of you.  If you did, it might look something like this:

1.  You are the hardest-working, most efficient wife in the world.  You see the specks and crumbs that you missed when wiping the table.  You notice the laundry which is dry but not folded, that rug you meant to vacuum last week, the clean room masking the disastrous closet.  What he sees is a woman who does more to keep a home going than he thought was possible.  A relentless, energetic wife who out of love does more than her fair share of the work.  He has no idea how you get things so clean so quickly!  Before he married you he never would have believed he could be so impressed with someone’s ability to fit dishes into a dishwasher.

2.  You are beautiful.  What you see is gym workouts skipped, too many cinnamon rolls, not enough time to do your makeup or hair like you want.  You notice the lines by your eyes that weren’t there a few years ago.  What he sees is a goddess.  A woman much more beautiful than he ever thought he would nab.  A wife who looks great in a fancy dress or a set of sweats.  You worry about your makeup, he prefers you without!  When you ask if your clothes still fit, and he says you look great, he means it.

3. You are an incredible mother.  What you see is the mismatched outfits and uncombed hair.  You notice that your six-year-old is not writing her e’s correctly and you keep meaning to work on that but where does the time go.  You feel you spend too much time correcting or doing and wish you played more.  Your mantra is “they grow up so fast”.  What he sees is a mother who nurtures and loves his children in ways he can only dream about doing.  A mom so dedicated to her kids that she will sacrifice much of who she is so a child can feel safe and loved.  He sees a woman who says she would do anything for her children, and often does.

For me personally, I am astounded by the routine things my wife does so well.  Like how much my wife can clean up with a single diaper wipe.  I have changed lots of truly horrible diapers.  I use handful after handful of wipes.  At the end I am dirty, the changing table is dirty, and the kid isn’t completely clean!  Yet my wife can clean a similar diaper with one wipe.  How is this possible?  It’s just one more way my wife amazes me.

What if, just for a few moments, you saw yourself through his eyes?  Would your stress level drop?  Would you feel different about what you see in the mirror?  Would you find no need to tackle those baseboards today?  I don’t know.  But rather than taking his compliments as niceties, what if you heard the truth in them?  That he really thinks you are an unselfish, hard-working, self-sacrificing, unbelievably hot, how did I get this lucky, wife.

Enjoy the gift ladies.  You deserve it.