fourteen years ago he vowed to be with me forever. to love only me. he bent down on one knee and placed a pearl bracelet on each of my three girls. he gave his word that he would take care of them and love them as his own.
he’s kept his promise. he’s been loyal and kind. he’s selfless and romantic. he provides and encourages. he pays the bills and takes out the garbage. he cleans the kitchen after meals and saves money so we can enjoy seven holy days on the gulf coast each year. he’s shown me and the girls what unconditional, intentional, selfless love looks like.
the first time i married i was 25. at 25 i guess i was still in that bubble where i assumed “we’d” have forever. i spent the next 5 years having graduating from nursing school, having 3 babies, buying and selling a small business, buying a selling a home and burying my first true love. life’s biggies in 5 short years.
i realize if you’ve read my blog for the last few years you’ve probably heard all that before. & while i never wish to exploit “my sad story” , i do wish to share a tiny bit about what i learned. primarily about loving your man. and maybe bottling up what i guess i figured i already knew at 25 but clearly did not.
i look at the marriage i have with dan & am completely aware that the majority of our “success”, if you will, lies in the fact that he is an incredibly good man. he makes it easy to love him & do all that i’m about to share with you. you can ask my three eldest daughters & they’ll back that up for sure! you’ve probably heard the commercial about being highschool skinny. & while i’ve clearly not figured that out, i may have figured out a few ways to be in love like that love you might have felt at 17. all dreamy. hands holding. blushing when he walks in the room. proud to be his girl. can hardly wait until he calls kinda love.
obviously at 47 i’m also aware that some days the laundry and the bills and the “if one more person touches me i’ll go bananas” can be more of a reality than if your man leaves you a love note….but nonetheless….here goes….
1. we try to climb in bed together almost every single night. laying down together and talking about our day or just falling asleep on his shoulder can help you feel more like lovers than roomies. obviously with jobs, meetings, etc that can’t occur 100% of the time, it’s a great goal to strive for.
2. since we’ve been married, i’ve always worked. either at the hospital or now for myself . so this takes a little creativity and intention. i try to be done with as many chores as possible once dinner is done. i try not to spend the evening in the laundry room while he’s hanging out. i try to turn off my iphone and my computer as early as possible. we usually spend the last hour before we turn in just hanging out together.
3. while i’m not in heels & pearls at 5pm every evening, i do try to freshen up a bit before he walks in. you’ve heard me preach all about the power of lipgloss! do what ya gotta do. being a tad compulsive about neatness this is probably for me as much as him, but i try to be aware of how our home appears before he & the girls blow in. i want our home to be a peaceful respite where they can unwind and relax after a busy day. so, i try to not have laundry all over the kitchen table, bathroooms tidied up, etc by late afternoon.
4.while we women need to feel loved, men need to feel respected. never make him the brunt of your jokes. find sweet ways to thank him for being a provider. i’ve told dan many times over the years he should run a little workshop on how to do what he does so well. the boy mails me letters. like in the mail. with stamps. how cute is that? he’s done that since we began dating. i’ve saved every single one. he doesn’t leave the toilet seat up and he asks me out on a date-weekly. i kid you not. see, i told you it’s all him!
5. on that note, i know it’s hard when the littles are truly little or when you’re breastfeeding, or when you’re so tired from PTA board meetings and tennis practice with the girls, but i strongly encourage you to carve out date nights with just him on a regular basis. for the entirety of your marriage. period. the end. weekend getaways, even better.
6. the best gift you can give those babies truly is giving them the assurance that mommy & daddy are a team. and love each other. and will be there for them. you go nuts over them, so go nuts over him. they’ll gag & tell you that is so gross, but they love that you’re in love. they do. email him, text him, hold his hand, write on the mirror, shave your legs, whatever it takes.
7. he needs to come first. if you need to have accountability through your bff, or a mentor mom, or your own mama, then do it. but please make him first. those baby birds will fly the nest before you can utter ” did you brush your teeth?” one more time. and the days of just you two will be here before you know it. believe me, you’ll want that commitment even stronger during those days.
having said all that, i am very tenderly aware that there is divorce, there is abandonment, there are men who do not keep promises, there’s men who don’t come home at night so how the heck are you supposed to climb in bed with them if they’re not there. there is being a single mom. there’s sickness, there’s addiction. i realize that you guys could write a book, eloquently no less, on many many more secrets to keeping love alive. there’s wisdom at 67 that i haven’t learned yet. when gregg passed away, i was only 30 but my heart felt like it had already lived to 80. i did. my desire today was clearly not to be able to touch on every possible issue but simply to share what i’ve learned and how i’m trying to simply live it out . not a day goes by since that easter weekend in the garden, april 3 1999, where i fail to thank the lord for dan. he’s the gift i never dared to ask for….
dan i love you more today than yesterday but not as much as tomorrow!