True Romance

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This morning, when I was really annoyed because I’d been trying (unsuccessfully) for 20 minutes to drink a cup of coffee while dealing with kid demands and interruptions, I said to my husband, “It’s a good thing I have low expectations for Valentine’s Day, because let’s face it – it’s a holiday for people in relationships, but without children. It’s not for the rest of us.” After the kids went to school, my husband ventured out into the snow, and when he returned I heard him clattering and banging around in cabinets, so I went out to the kitchen to investigate. He was busy putting 4 beautiful roses – 1 from him, and 1 from each of the kids – into a vase. I asked him why he didn’t just get a vase from the florist, and he replied, “Because they charge for them, and I knew you would think it was wasteful to buy a vase when we already have plenty of vases at home.”

I heard on the news this morning that the average person spends $130 on Valentine’s Day, but I personally think that a man who pays attention when his wife talks is showing love in a way that is much more valuable.

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When you’re married with children, romance looks different. It’s less about flowers and jewelry and grand gestures, and more about small, quiet, everyday expressions of love. My husband shows his love for me every morning when he brings me a cup of coffee with exactly the right amount of cream, because after 13 years together he knows just how I like it. I could get my own coffee, but he knows that I’m not a morning person, so he enjoys serving me in this small way. He shows his love for me by keeping my car filled with gas, and mopping the kitchen floor because he knows I hate doing it, and jumping up to fetch me a glass of water when I complain of being thirsty in the middle of the night. He also works really hard to provide for our family so that I can stay home with our children and have the life I always wanted. I think that’s a pretty grand gesture.

You know, the gifts and special occasions – that stuff is the easy part. It’s easy to be a couple when life is carefree and fun and everything seems grand, but nobody has a marriage that is one big holiday. Sticking together through the everyday crap that life throws at you is the real challenge, and when you’re fortunate enough to have a person who will go through it all with you, someone who is always on your side, and will always stick up for you (in my case, even when he knows I’m wrong), well….that’s when you understand what real love is.

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One morning, in an effort to get out of a P.E. unit she hates, and a LEO presentation, our usually good-natured Bee was behaving in a very tweenager-ish manner. She was claiming to be sick, and she argued and argued that she should stay home, but I knew she wasn’t really sick so I said, “Forget it.” When she continued to argue, I made her call her Dad, who also said she had to go to school. After she hung up, she resumed her argument with me, but she didn’t realize that my husband hadn’t hung up yet (on purpose), so he heard our entire conversation. She was very surprised when he called back and asked to speak with her. He told her, “I heard everything you just said to your mother. If you say one more word to her, going to school will be the least of your worries.”

And that was the end of it.

I called him back to tell him how much I love him, and that he kicks ass, basically, because when you’re married with 3 kids, this is what true romance looks like. There’s not a single cliched Valentine’s Day gift that can beat it.

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15 comments… add one

  1. Kate February 14, 2014, 7:00 pm

    Amen, sister!

    Reply
  2. Roxie February 14, 2014, 8:20 pm

    You could not be more right. I will take the deep love of my husband over ‘romance’ any day of the week. I wish I had your way of putting things in writing, I would love to let my husband know in writing how much I appreciate what he does for me, but I can not put things into words that sound ‘right’ to me. I hope I show him my love everyday with the small things I do for him. I do his clothes just perfect so he looks great at work, I fix him meals that are suited to his special diet, I tell him each and everyday I love him and that I know he is God’s gift to me.

    Reply
  3. Jennie Lynn February 14, 2014, 8:50 pm

    This. Exactly this. I am literally applauding.

    And my daughter is looking at me like I’m crazy, which is a terrific segue into her reading it.

    Reply
  4. Laurie February 15, 2014, 12:06 am

    Love this! That is the portrayal of a true relationship. Tonight for Valentine’s Day, my husband picked up a $5 Little Caesar’s pizza (so I did not have to cook tonight and our budget stays intact), a box of chocolates for me and one for our kiddos to share and he is currently bathing them and and getting them into PJ’s and letting me have some down time tonight. After 11 years of marriage and two kids, I could not have asked for a more perfect valentine’s day gift.

    Reply
  5. bella February 15, 2014, 1:54 am

    I love what you wrote. It is so true. After 41 years of marriage I could not have said it better. You are wise beyond your years!!

    Reply
  6. Jenna February 15, 2014, 3:06 am

    Yes! You SO get it! I am extremely thankful that you posted this tonight. If I see another Facebook friend post a picture of the generic dozen roses and box of chocolates she gets, I will surely vomit. True love is not about gifts you can brag about. It’s the hundreds of loving gestures that you do for each other all the time. My husband is also the mopper in our home, because he knows I hate it. And I handle the finances because I know he can’t stand keeping up with them. It’s things like that that keep us connected through the stress, chaos, and exhaustion that comes with raising our tiny people. Our romance doesn’t look like anything from the movies; but it’s real, honest, caring, and lasting.

    Reply
  7. Lan February 15, 2014, 1:57 pm

    My favorite post from all the Valentine’s Day posts I’ve read so far!

    Reply
  8. Alice McGee February 16, 2014, 12:56 am

    I had that kind of a marriage for 40 years before cancer claimed his life. We didn’t have money, but he never forgot me with flowers or some kind of a gift he knew we could not afford always. Just this evening I was reminded how a simple thing from the past several years ago was still a treat to my family Good will always follow good. It blessed me to hear of her memory.

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  9. Tiffany February 16, 2014, 2:57 am

    LOL! Same here. We’ve been married for 15 years, have 5 children together, and like you, have low expectations for birthdays and holidays. My husbands big gift to me for Christmas this year was an Abe Lincoln finger puppet with a magnet in it so it can sit on the fridge ready for use at any time that I wish to preach a great quote. Ha!

    Reply
  10. Angela Moller February 17, 2014, 12:23 am

    You have the BEST pictures of you and your husband. This one is so sweet – the way he’s looking at you adoringly. True love. You guys are such a cute couple. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  11. Amy Roberts February 17, 2014, 12:25 pm

    You are so right. This is my 12 year anniversary as well. There is so much freedom in being able to give and not desiring anything in return. We show love everyday in the little things, so when Valentine’s rolls around we don’t feel a need to spend money we don’t have. It’s so comforting to know our love is not in these types of things.

    Reply
  12. Kim Sholar February 17, 2014, 3:28 pm

    Heather,
    I just have to say thank you for your website. I’ve been following you for a couple of years now, and it’s been a real blessing. I especially loved your post for Valentine’s Day. There are very few husbands around who understand that “little things” concept. I’m blessed with one of them. Thanks again Heather and God bless!!!

    Reply
  13. Karen B. February 18, 2014, 4:00 pm

    You are so right, that is a picture of true romance and a great husband! I was married for 19 years and my husband (ex now) never knew how I took my tea or coffee. When he bought me a cup at an airport or hotel when we were traveling, he’d always bring sugar packets, fake sugar packets, honey, creamers, the works. It made me feel so alone, unimportant and un-cared for. Eventually, I figured if I was going to feel that way and do all of the work a marriage and kids required, it wasn’t worth it.
    You two are a great team and show that good marriages are possible if you make a good choice in your mate!

    Reply
  14. Alana February 19, 2014, 9:11 pm

    Lol, I love it! My husband kicks ass too, lol. Love your blog.

    Reply
  15. Joy February 20, 2014, 2:55 am

    What a wonderful an romantic husband! You are so blessed!

    Reply

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