Since Valentine's Day is this weekend, I have some thoughts I want to share with those who are still
crazy kind enough to read what I have to say. I decided to write this post because I know there are girls like me out there. Girl's that need encouraging. I've been married almost 10 years (oh.my.gosh) and it has been wonderful, but also rocky at times. I feel like I can write this now because I am finally at peace with where the Lord has us. He has grown and stretched our marriage in the last 2 years in ways I never expected. There was a time that what I'm about to say would embarrass me, it would hurt too much. But not any more. And so, because of that, here's a part of my story...
Mr. Clean and I have known each other since I was 15. We were friends for a while before we dated. We had a great foundation, we knew each other. We knew each others strengths and, of course, weaknesses. Our friendship is one of my favorite things about our relationship. But, and there is always a but, we are very different. Very, very different. Besides the fact that I'm a mess and he's OCD, that I'm carefree and he's careful, I'm a dreamer, a hopeless romantic, I love giving gifts to people and I'm nuts about surprises! I'm a GIRL! My husband, bless him, is...well....he's none of those things. He is practical. In almost every area of his life...except for cars. He loves cars. He's a GUY!
Because of the differences I listed above, you can probably guess where I'm going with this. Every night before my birthday, or Valentine's Day, every night before our anniversary, and yes, Mother's Day, I would think up what wonderful things my husband could do or might do for me. I'd build up these thoughts and expectations in my mind. The special day would come and nothing. Not a thing. I'd see girls post on social media their beautiful flowers, stunning jewelry, and the gushy, lovey dovey notes their significant other would leave for them telling them how amazingly beautiful, and wonderful they are. #Blessed. I would be pea green with envy and my husband would have to endure the wrath of ME!!!!!!!!! Didn't he know how amazingly wonderful I AM?????? Didn't I deserve a daisy or 2, for cryin' out loud?!?! A dedicated Instagram post, at least?? For a while I tried to treat him the way I wanted to be treated and shower him with notes and candy, with nothing in return. It hurt. So I quit.
Before you write my husband off as a jerk, don't (I did that for years after every holiday). You see, I spent many years telling him that I don't care about gifts and that I wanted time. I want to do things. I want dates. I want trips. I'm not one of "those girls" who needs little tokens of adoration. So those statements, combined with a practical husband, matched with the expectations he didn't even know were going on in my head, was a recipe for disaster. When those little day dreams I had in my head didn't play out, it was an unhappy night at my house. Never mind the fact that we always did "celebrate" by doing something even if it was a month later due to money or bad timing, it just was never quite what I had imagined. Unmet expectations.
A lot of things came to a head in our marriage over the last year or so, and this is one area that I had to face head on. The area of unmet expectations. The Lord is good and gracious. He knew who I would marry and while it's ironic to me that I would marry someone who has no clue what to do in the romance department, it's not to Him. While talking through and working through some big problems we were having, it dawned on me that I do like gifts and I needed to tell him that. He's not a mind reader. And it's not superficial or greedy, it just is. Once I was able to communicate that, it has been a big ol' lifted weight. I also needed to be reminded that my hope and happiness is not in a man, it should be in Christ. He never fails, He is always good and He is who I can count on, His ways and gifts are far greater than my imagination could ever dream up. That is my hope.
And you know what else? My husband may never buy me flowers or cutesy gifts, or surprise me in the ways I have dreamed in my head (I have a huge imagination), it's not natural to him. I will tell you what is natural to him though - and it wasn't until recently that I could truly appreciate it - I have come to realize that there has never (I mean never) been something that I have asked for, that I truly wanted, that he hasn't done everything in his power to make happen for me. It may not come in the form of a surprise, or with a big bow, but it comes. Does that mean he shouldn't try to be a little more romantic? No, and he knows that. But boy, have I been ungrateful?? He is beyond supportive of my goals and is my dream catcher. How have I been so blind?
I say all of this to say, if you are a girl who has expectations that are constantly squashed and are never met, I feel for you. If you are someone who is pained by these Hallmark holidays because you know you'll be disappointed, I feel ya. I encourage you to search your heart and try to find the root of your issues. Then, remember that it is Christ that never fails, not our husbands. Pray about it and then talk about it with your loved one. And then, I encourage you to think the best about them. Show grace.
For the girl who's husband/boyfriend tries and always seems to give you something that may not be your favorite? Be thankful he tried. Men have it tough. They can never live up to the men we see in Nicholas Sparks books and movies. And then think the best of them and show grace.
And to the girl who has the guy that all girl's wish their guy's were more like, you are one of the few. Thank them and then thank their mother...or whoever trained him in the ways of being romantic, and then remember when you share his wonderful ways to the world that there is a girl who's hurting. And show them grace too.
Happy Valentine's Day to you, and if you are so blessed to even have someone to share this holiday with, even if you get diddly squat from them, be thankful. My practical husband and I will be killing 2 birds with one stone this weekend by celebrating both Valentine's and our anniversary... 2 months late.