And now I will show you the most excellent way. – 1 Corinthians 12:31b (NIV)
DH and I don’t do Valentine’s Day. For some reason, it’s never been an important event on our life calendar.
Oh, I tried to make it an event a few times. One year I cooked up a special dinner: roast beef heart and pink mashed potatoes, a meal we endured only once. A greeting card never seems to say what I want it to say, even when I make the card myself.
Perhaps it’s that what I feel for my husband of forty-nine years goes beyond words.
And I think the forty-nine years has a lot to do with it.
In the early years, I looked for what I could get in the relationship: companionship, love, support, a listening ear, sympathy. What I got was a man who worked ten- to twelve-hour days five days a week, provided firewood, fixed things (an unending job because something always needs fixed), and built me a house. He’s been a good father to our three children—a softy, I always called him. But his softness balanced my harshness.
I’ve never seen him angry—upset a few times, but never angry. Even when I tried to pick a fight, he never took the bait. And he’s always supported me in my dreams. I dedicated my second book to him with these words: “To the man who fixes dinner, washes the dishes and clothes, dusts and vacuums, shops for groceries and puts them away, does the ‘kid runs’—the myriad of daily tasks considered ‘women’s work’—so that I could have the time to write. To the man who told me that he felt God’s will for his life was to free up my time so I could follow God’s call for my life.”
And whether I decided to go to work outside the home or quit the job I had, he’s always supported my decisions.
Although he used to “suggest” ways my cooking could be improved, he’s always eaten everything I’ve made, even when I couldn’t. Proving he told the truth when we were dating when he said, “I was in the service. I can eat anything.”
When the nest emptied, he still looked for ways to help the kids out—as a handyman, car repair guy, and consultant. Whenever they called, any time of the day or night, he was available to them. He still is.
But we’ve learned to do things for us too. We’ve set aside Friday night as our date night. Homemade pizza and a movie. Before he retired, he rarely made it through the movie. I heard his soft snores around nine. I didn’t even bother waking him up to go to bed. It never worked and he didn’t even remember. I just kissed him on the forehead and turned off the TV, knowing he’d get to bed eventually.
I used to feel sorry for myself when he neglected to say “I love you” every day. But—don’t tell him this—I’ve come to realize I don’t need to hear it. I see it—in the tired lines around his eyes, in his now white beard, in the increasing stoop of his shoulders, in the slower pace of his steps. I hear “I love you” shouted from the stack of firewood by the wood stove, from the packages of venison and vegetables and berries in the freezer, from countless items that he’s fixed so we wouldn’t have to spend the money for something new. The walls of the house he built are his arms around me day and night.
“Saturday’s Valentine’s Day,” I said one night a few years ago as we sat at the supper table.
He looked up. “What do you want to do?”
I smiled. “Nothing, really. I’m such a homebody anymore.”
He smiled and nodded. I knew he felt the same way. After a fifty-eight-hour week, all he wanted was a good supper and a soft couch.
“We never did do Valentine’s Day, did we?” I said. “I wonder why.”
We ate in silence for a few minutes. Then it hit me.
“Because with you,” I said, warmth coursing through me, “I have Valentine’s Day every day.”
Dear God, You gave me the perfect life companion. Not a perfect man, but the man perfect for me. Thank you. Amen.
Read and reflect on 1 Corinthians 13.
From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea for the Seasons, © 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.