Valentine’s Day is upon us and I’m doing something I want to do…all alone. The best gift my husband could have bestowed upon me is happening now at our local CLIMB café. I’m sitting in a quiet corner, writing and sipping a hot cup of coffee.
When Valentine’s Day rolls around on the 14th my Husband and I will send the kids to school or the babysitter’s and head to work. At the end of the day we will arrive home tired; dinner will be left overs followed by homework with our Sweet Pea. There will be a bedtime routine of pajamas, brushing three tiny sets of teeth, and a bedtime story. If we are lucky, we will spend a few quiet moments together cuddled on the couch with a cup of tea and each other.
When I venture a look at Facebook, I will find the feed full of fancy dates and bright, shiny gifts on display in boisterous contrast to the quiet routine I will experience. It’s not because my Husband doesn’t care, but he is relieved when I let him off the Valentine’s Day hook and release him from the expectations and pressure. Still…there is a temptation there. When I see the sparkles and special dinners and roses…the power to steal my happiness lies in the undercurrent of ingratitude and envy. Suddenly jealousy and discontented emotions rise up from the corners of my mind and I hear the lies of the enemy speak with venom into my heart; for a moment, I want those things.
A younger version of myself did want those things. The fun night out, the thoughtful expensive gift, the dozen roses and loads of sappy expressions of his love. Yet, the practical side of me could never quite fully enjoy them. The money has always been tight and there are more practical everyday things I really need and want. The kids have needs, the bills need paid, the car needs fixed… For goodness sake, we are still recovering from Christmas! Is it all necessary and does it answer the real question that rises up within me: Does he still love me?
You see, the one day a year that is supposed to highlight and celebrate the love between two people has the power to create doubt and dissatisfaction in the relationship. The symbols of love flashing on the computer screen mock the insecurity within me. And yet, do I really doubt the love of the man who gave me his heart simply because my ring isn’t as sparkly as the one my friend has? In my mind, I can hear the instant retort, “it isn’t about the gift, its about the thought.”
Because prior to Valentine’s Day, I can list a thousand ways that my Husband loves me in his quiet, un-flashy and sincere way. Every day he goes to work and every evening he comes home, he loves our kids and makes time for them, he supports me in all my endeavors, even the ones that make him roll his eyes and he laughs at my quirky jokes. My husband takes his turn with dishes and laundry and lets me sleep in. My Husband tells me I can shoot for my dreams and if it costs us every penny we have he won’t regret supporting me; he loves to see me succeed. My Husband is a good man. And no amount of fine jewelry or fancy things could prove that more than how he spends his every day. I have to ask myself if all his efforts are really worth nothing on the one day my friends are flashing their enviable gifts in my face?
There was a time when I thought those gifts were important, but I see it differently now. I see what I have more fully. And, when I doubt my Husband’s love, it hurts him. There are very few ways I can hurt him more than to accuse him of not loving me well enough. And, truth be told, I never really wanted those material things. I never wanted the giant house or the pricey jewelry or the elaborate dates because what I have always wanted was, and still is, more than that.
I want a companion to dream with and walk with and face life with. I want someone faithful enough to stand beside me through the thickest most painful years of life. I want someone who will take up the sword and fight when we need to fight, and laugh when we need to laugh, and cry when we need to cry. I want someone who will climb the mountain, travel the world, or stay right where we are when needed. I want someone strong enough to refuse to give up on me and someone I can trust and cling to when I feel like walking away. I want someone who will pray with me and for me.
Not every dream comes true. Not everything is sunshine and roses and magical rainbow clouds and …not every gift sparkles in the sun. There are days and periods of time that are very difficult in every relationship. Neither one of us is perfect and we both make mistakes and misunderstandings happen; hurt and angry feelings rise up. But, I think in the end, I actually have the best Valentine’s gift of all: someone who takes my hand and weathers the challenges of life with me. Someone who won’t give up when the road gets hard. When I remember that, then I don’t need the diamonds, or the balloons and flowers, or the special gift or fancy date night because what I have is actually more precious than that. Now that I can see it, there isn’t anywhere I’d rather be then curled up on the couch next to the gift that God has given me: a faithful and loving man. No matter what the future brings we will hold each other tightly and face life together because what my husband has given me is the gift of longevity, and that has been the sweetest gift of all.
To the dear wife who doesn’t get everything she hoped for on Valentine’s Day, let me encourage you to search your heart for the gifts your Husband gives you every day. Please, don’t let this be a day of division and sadness and hurt, let this be a day of remembering and a day of celebrating the things that are good and the things in your relationship that can’t be defined or quantified. It’s ok to want to be recognized and appreciated but don’t let the enemy win this day. Tell him to take his lies and beat it! Then try to focus on what matters and what’s truly worthwhile. Focus your eyes on the things that are lasting and then practice thankfulness for the gifts that can never be lost or stolen. Most importantly, love and celebrate and remember the one thing your husband has given you that can never be purchased: his heart.
“Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away. If one were to give all the wealth of one’s house for love, it would be utterly scorned.” Song of Songs 8:6,7
Author: Jacqi Kambish