What a love as this…

Our first Valentine’s as husband and wife has come and gone now.  I bought her a short book series by Francine Rivers called “A Lineage of Grace”.  She bought me a pack of birthday cake icing filled cookies.  This is hilarious because she usually wants sweets and I usually want books.  We spent the day together doing laundry and cleaning, then celebrated a friend’s 40th birthday.  It was a great day (not to forget the heart shaped pancakes that morning).  It wasn’t lavish and over the top.  It wasn’t chocolates and flowers and fancy dinners.  Those Valentine’s may happen some years, but this year was about doing life together.  We lavish love on each other regularly, so there’s no need to “catch up” on one declared day of romance.  Gina could care less what I do on Valentine’s if I wasn’t loving her throughout the rest of the year.

I was in a grocery store on Friday and saw a group of very concerned men standing around a money trap laced pile of flowers and chocolates.  The stress on their faces was pitiful.  I’m sure not a one of them knew what their wife’s favorite flower was.  And I’m assuming even fewer had a wife who really wanted flowers on Valentine’s.  Nothing says deep love like expected obligation.  They can watch their wife’s vibrancy wilt just like the roses after a gesture like that.

In my opinion simple is better – simple that is, saturated with thoughtfulness.  And year-long consistency is key.  A wife wants to be cherished every day, and then wants just a little extra specialness on a day like Valentine’s.  It’s not complicated.  But far too many men don’t grasp that concept.  They spend a majority of their days focused on themselves, while neglecting to nurture their wives with overt tender care.  Then they expect that she’ll melt in their arms when they plan a rare treat.  Or worse, they see their wife’s need for romance as a burden.  If romance is a burden, it is not romance.

I wonder so often how such a woman as Gina could be so in love with me.  And my mind goes to shallow things that the world presents as important, when I’m grasping for reasons to explain why she is out of my league.  I’m not super handsome, I’m not very funny, I certainly cannot dance, and my paycheck is sad.  But she doesn’t care about any of that.  She just wants a husband who is committed to laying down his life for her.  And by God’s grace I’ve been enabled to do that so far.  Lord let me never turn back from it!

So on this first Valentine’s I am reflecting on how wonderful it is to be in a place with my wife where little books and cookies are the perfect Valentine’s gift; and where laundry and birthday parties are the perfect way to spend the holiday.

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