I wrote one of my first posts
a lifetime ago (literally - things were so different!)
my senior year, spring semester at Belmont Abbey...
Its so funny to re-read those old posts of mine. Slash embarrassing. ;)
Different as my life is from that time (can it be only 3 years ago?!),
the sentiment is the same. I still love Valentine's Day.
My poor husband.
I have a Dad who loves - like love loves - Valentine's Day. More than my mother!
He called me just last night all excited about the gifts he had gotten my mom and sisters. Even included my baby brother in the V-Day goodness with a little gift.
How many mornings did I wake up to a whole Breakfast table of my Dad's (awesome-looking)
homemade valentines for all his family?! A lot. A lot of mornings.
He ruined me.
My husband on the other hand, is kind of like my Mom about this day.
Overwhelmed, slightly intimidated, and trying to swallow how unnecessary it feels.
And always, always thrown for a loop on what to do! Fifty "hints" the past 2 weeks to the contrary.
It was tough my first year of marriage, I'm not gonna lie, trying to get used to the fact that I did not marry my Dad. I did not marry my best friend's husband. I married Jason. Who, through no fault of his own, is not a gift-giver by nature. His love language, or whatever, is very different.
It freaks him out trying to give me something or put together a whole little event for a special occasion.
This sometimes can translate for a young woman, in a weak moment,
slightly affected by the proud displays of love other women are rushing to post,
as a Pam & Roy type problem.
"Just wait, baby!... Tonight you'll get the best sex of your life!"
- very old episode of the Office.
The past few years, I tried in vain to avoid Facebook like the plague on this day.
It did not help that I know a lot of people who delight in broadcasting the "best" things their husband does for them, evidently of his own awesome accord.
Pictures of huge bouquets of flowers, stories of massage certificates and outfits he picked out and bought all by himself, legends of surprise dates and breakfasts in bed...
Its sweet that these husbands do these things. And who could fault a woman for wanting to brag a little about how much she is cherished?
It just makes it tough if you happen to be married to a man who doesn't work that way.
Who instead stays up late many nights, no matter how tired he is,
to tell you all the things he loves about you...
who wants to share with you every little detail of his day at work,
of his frustrations and excitements at his job, including you in all this... even asking and acting upon your feeble suggestions.
Who makes you feel so important as a friend.
Who actively - never passively - listens to all your problems or anxieties or trivial challenges of your day... and provides encouraging feedback, positive reinforcement.
Who tells you daily how smart you are, or how beautiful, or how lucky you make him feel.
These are not things you can show in a picture on Facebook.
They are not things you are capable of broadcasting in a status.
Part of a successful marriage definitely involves that "compromise" of what you wish you had,
withstanding the temptation of looking at other people's relationships,
and instead accepting and appreciating what your spouse can give you.
Accepting their unique weaknesses and appreciating their unique gifts.
That being said, I do not believe it means "settling" or giving up asking to be loved in your
own love language. My love language is a mix of actions and gift-giving. I am totally touched and overwhelmed when someone puts some thought, creativity and time into a gift, no matter how small.
So the past few years have been a bit... sensitive. ;)
Last year, I really felt frustrated. And, tired of hearing myself whine and threaten, I finally insisted we "talk it out." With kindness. I did the very best I job I could to explain the inner-workings of a
gift-giving lover's heart.
I explained I would happily compromise grand gestures for simplicity. This does not include swinging into the grocery store 10 minutes from home on the evening of the 14th to fight other dudes trying pick up whatever shreds of Valentine's heart-shaped chocolate boxes and wilted flowers are left.
These poor guys. You have to laugh. But seriously.. Its not some arbitrary token gift that is demanded or expected. It's purpose is not something to be posted on Facebook. (This last clarification was, admittedly, more for me than for him). Its a sacrifice of time and energy. It can be a mix cd or a long love letter and one single rose. It can be chocolate. Just nothing last minute for the sake of doing something so you don't "get in trouble".
At least, for this gift-giving-love-language girl, that doesn't work.
After that conversation, though, I honestly tried to let it go. Like I said earlier, I grew up with a darling mother who is very similar to my husband when it comes to anniversaries, birthdays, Christmas, and Valentines. Who also married a gift-giving person and is totally intimidated and clueless about what the expectation actually is and whyyyyy its so important. And I get it.
I know its nothing personal. As with my mom, I know its just the way some people are wired or not wired. I do know its not out of a lack of love or willingness to put in effort.
I focused instead on the many ways my husband does show his love for me. Daily. And I feel so blessed. I know its not every girl who is in love with a man who is so darn good at talking to her. Who is seriously so exciting to have long conversations with over coffee or a Sunday morning walk. A man who literally never has to have his arm twisted to "tell me everything!"
After making that compromise on my part, saying goodbye forever to willful tantrums or pity-parties,
I went into this Valentines trying to expect nothing and determining it would be fine. (I am laughing as I write at how this all sounds so ridiculously melodramatic, but look its not a "girl" thing or the terrible effect of this evil Hallmark Holiday... this is a love-language thing!)
Then, I woke up this morning... and... I don't want to add to the woes of girls out there like myself
who are just trying to stay happily in love with the guy they're with
and not notice how very green (and pink. And red.) that proverbial grass is looking today.
(I know how you feel!)
But... lets just say, a heartfelt effort was truly made this year.
In the wake of the new dresses and romantic dates and fancy gifts,
it may not seem like anything to write the internet about.
But to me... from him... it was huge. It was in the cheesy language of my heart. And it worked.
So. Moral of the story... Love is patient and love is kind.
And the sacrifice of self in genuine, non-bitter compromise,
mixed with good, patient communication,
promises the fruit of in-loveness for both spouses. I think that's the magic formula.
No amount of pouting could've resulted in such a touching Valentine's morning.
Just some sweet, sweet compromise.
p.s.: the Heart Pastries in the picture were made by me last night as my Valentine to my two men. I rolled out the Pate Brisee dough (Martha's recipe) really really thin though, and just made up the berry filling with my own guess of sugar and cornstarch, so instead of tasting like pie, it tasted exactly like a homemade, from-scratch, Toaster Streudel.
Oh so good.
Labels: family, love, love language, something true, valentines day