A few weeks ago, my Sunday School lesson was about nurturing the friendship and love in your marriage. As I prepared the lesson, I thought quite a bit about the things that Doug and I do in our relationship that "speak" love.
Doug and I are both very practical people. We have different love languages, for sure. As a child, my mother never apologized. EVER. About anything. Rather than apologize, after taking out her (often justified, because of my unfaithful and absent father) frustrations on us, she would leave and then return an hour later, tossing a bag on my bed and say, "There, I bought you a shirt." As an adult, I can look back and see that this was her way of saying, "I'm sorry." Because of these memories, gifts are not my love language. I'd much rather have a lotiony foot rub each night or have Doug spend thirty minutes hearing about what I'm reading than bring me a box of candy or any gift, for that matter.
Doug would much rather see me cook him a homemade meal with whole wheat flour, lots of veggies and very little sugar than any gift I could possibly buy. Gifts are not important to him, but he does appreciate my time and positive affirmations... which are so easy to give because he's my Prince Charming and I love to let him know it! It works for us.
I digress...For my Sunday School lesson, I separated the spouses and asked them to fill out a little questionnaire, answering the following questions. Some of the answers were personal, but there were several shared with the class aloud. I loved it! I encouraged each couple to go home and discuss their answers together. I thought it would be a great opportunity to express a little love and appreciation for each other. Here were the questions.
What’s the most romantic thing your spouse has ever done?
What’s one thing that you know your spouse appreciates that you do for them?
Name three things you do to nurture your friendship and marriage.
Name three things your spouse does to nurture your friendship and marriage.
Would your spouse prefer - Receiving a gift? Quality Time? Words of affirmation? Physical Touch? Acts of Service?
Would you prefer - Receiving a gift? Quality Time? Words of affirmation? Physical Touch? Acts of Service?
One of the main points of the lesson was that marriage isn't like in the movies... The movies always end when Prince Charming and the Princess kiss, then the pop-up "And they lived Happily Ever After" heart. FACT: When you get married, you are at the beginning of Happily Ever After and you determine just how happy ever after will be. Marriage isn't all about romantic getaways and diamonds, it's about kids and finances and broken appliances and health issues and time and and and... AND, as the quote says, "falling in love over and over again with the same person" through it all.
While preparing the lesson, I'd been listing things all week that Doug and I do to show our love for each other. I came up with over a hundred, with very little thought at all.
- Doug watches chick flicks with me and never complains.
- I cook healthy and nutritious granola food for him.
- Doug does 90% of the vacuuming because of shoulder injury years ago.
- I keep the house company clean 90% of the time so that we can spend our together time having fun!
- Doug calls me every day on his way home from work, "Do you need anything from Lee's?" (our local grocer)
- I keep his socks clean.
- We write messages on the bathroom mirror with a dry erase marker.
- We work together... whether it's cleaning up after dinner or painting a room, we do it together!
- Doug never complains! He is always upbeat, positive and he's an extreme praisegiver!
- I try to make memories and keep traditions and make the little things count!
- One of Doug's responses... I make sure that no one sings "Happy birthday" to him. (He hates that!)
- We don't sweat the small stuff!
- We pray together.
- We laugh. A LOT.
- Doug is forgiving and tolerant (especially of my germaphobia!)
- Doug works sooooooooo hard to provide for us.
- I try to not spend too much of our money. ;)
- We leave little love notes for each other.
- We call each other and leave messages.
- We support each other's hobbies and likings.
- We kiss and hug and hold hands and sit close to each other and call each other "Babe".
- Doug lets me have the best bite of the watermelon and squeezes fresh grapefruit and orange juice for me.
- I make sure that he gets the "heal" of the homemade bread and cut the sugar in' our homemade jam (making it more like syrup but it makes him happy.)
Those are just a few. For us... more than the fairytale story, we try to keep it real.. We try really hard to show each other our love in the little things every day. We try to acknowledge and recognize that love often... probably the most important thing that we do!
I've never been a big fan of Valentine's Day. First, we shouldn't need one special day to say "I love you" if we are doing it every day. Even more though, I don't like the "pressure" that comes with it, beginning long before marriage. In Junior High School, many young girls go home from school feeling heartbroken that a rose was not delivered them in the classroom, in front of their peers, like "the popular/pretty/cool.... kids". Sadness. Those sentimental commercials on TV that show women receiving Valentine jewelry make women feel "less of a woman" or their husband "Less of a man" because he didn't go to Jared! For the past month, I've heard a commercial repeatedly that begins with "What are you giving your spouse for Valentines Day? A refrigerator? A range? A dishwasher? Why not all three?" Seriously? A fridge?! THAT's romantic?
Years ago, every Wednesday morning, my doorbell would ring and the florist would deliver roses to me. Doug sent them for almost two years!! It was thoughtful and romantic and fun! I loved it! However, every bit as much ...or more... I enjoy having Doug brush my hair while watching "While you Were Sleeping" for the eight-seventh time or going for a walk around the block! Given a choice, I'd much rather spend a few minutes each summer night, out on the back yard swing, watching our garden grow, talking about the kids and the highlights of our day than taking a big cruise. I'd rather celebrate our love in the every day moments than one day a year! I don't need the "bang", but I love lots of sparks! Just sayin'.
When Doug came home from work tonight, we had to work around two swim practices, a doctor appointment, a YW basketball game and my book group, but we slipped out for a Valentine's dinner date. (We never do the Feb. 14th crowds!) We drove, passing every place in town, toward Elements, one of the higher end, more "special occasion" restaurants in town. (ZJ had suggested it to Doug.) When we pulled into the parking lot, I said, "I'd really rather have Firehouse pizza and salad." (Same parking lot.) I was there for lunch yesterday, but, it sounded better than steak or salmon at the moment. We were together...that's all that mattered to me. We enjoyed a casual meal with loud music in the background while we discussed news, kids, the Book Group read and then I read him a BYU talk that Quayd and I had listened to a few nights ago as we drove home. Romantic? Absolutely! Those are the moments, for us, that are part of our "happily ever after".
I love this quote about life, but I love it even more about love and marraige....
Enjoy the little things in life...
for one day, you'll look back and realize that they were the big things.