This is the reason that I don't get all upset when we don't make a big deal out of anniversaries, birthdays, Valentines, and other traditional holidays. Unlike some women who only have those few days to look forward to being treated special, I am blessed to have married a man who treates me with love, respect, and kindness every day of my life. And then he goes and throws in just enough silliness to keep me laughing most of the time.
How did I get so lucky?? Well, partially it is because he's a man with a good heart. But I bet most of you married your husband at least partially because you loved his heart. The only thing that I have done differently than most of the women I know is that I have spent years nurturing and honoring any and all efforts he's made at being kind, loving and respectful. And I have never yelled, nagged, or complained about his mistakes.
Only once in 27 years have I returned a gift he bought me. It was a pair of diamond stud earrings he bought because he knew I liked small ones. He didn't realize that he'd purchased baby earrings and the posts were too small for my lobes. I exchanged them for the exact ones in grownup size. And he was right, I loved them.
I wore a man's bathrobe for 6 years because he bought it for me for Christmas. Silly? Not when you know that the reason he bought it was because the color matched my eyes and he thought I would look good in it and that it would keep me warmer than those flimsy robes that generally populate the women's racks. He actually put thought into it, and I honored that. And I loved him for it so much that I put my own silly opinions aside and wore it until it wore out. If I hadn't listened, really listened to his reasons for selecting it BEFORE I made some harsh comment about the fact that it was a man's robe, I'd never have heard him tell me that he loved the color of my eyes and thought the robe was perfect because of that match... and I would have forever killed a piece of his willingness to ever try again.
Over the years I've worn a few things that I didn't particularly like all that much. But instead of frowning or scoffing and making him feel bad about the purchase, I'd spend the next year or so showing him catalogs and playing the guess which one I'd like best game to teach him more about what my taste was (and to learn what his was, also) whether it was in watches, rings, clothes, or sleep wear. By the next time he decided I needed a new something, he'd pretty much have my preferences figured out. And if he was slightly off again, it didn't matter because I knew he was making the effort and THAT is what REALLY mattered.
These beautiful roses are a prime example. For years, he would bring me the traditional cut flower arrangements. And I'd put them in water and oooo and ahhhh over them (even the really gaudy ones in the early days), but when it came time to throw them out I'd always comment on how sad it made me lose them. That's when he started bringing me live plants knowing full well that I'd probably end up killing them anyway - I have a brown ... no make that a black thumb. But that's OK because they will still last longer than the cut kind. I don't recall ever saying, "please stop bringing me cut flowers and only bring me the kind that I can kill on my own." He heard it, though, because I hadn't taught him to shut his ears to everything I said in order to avoid hearing me nag and complain and belittle his efforts.
Each of us teaches the people in our lives how to treat us. If we accept abuse, we get abused. If we give respect, generally, we get respect in return. If we expect love and kindness, and show that by giving love and kindness, it will come back to us. Relationships are all about teaching and learning how to bring out the best in each participant.
What are you teaching your husband about the person you think he is? Have you taught him that you value and honor him, warts and all? Or have you taught him that he can't do anything right and is too stupid to allowed out of the house alone to shop for you? If you constantly find yourself disappointed with what he buys or does for you, maybe it's time to stop and figure out how to change your lesson plan.