As my husband left for work ton February 14th , he sent a kid in to make sure I’d seen this handmade card he’d left for me on my desk. There is a lot of story that goes into a Shane-made card on my desk Valentines 2017…
In the beginning, before children and home repairs and the stresses of life, I was perfectly content in the fact that I loved my husband and he loved me. No flowers, cards or presents necessary. I looked down on women who seemed to demand tokens of affection from their husbands. We didn’t need those trappings to trumpet the reality of a lifelong commitment to each other. They paled in comparison.
An average day at that time had both of us working, then coming home to have a meal and spend time together. Our only weekend obligation was church. We wiled away hours curled up reading together or just holding hands
Then we started having children. Life got busy, then it got busier. My husband works 6 days a week. So do I. That commitment we made to each other became a star that continues to draw more people and stories and drama into its orbit.
This week, I’ve given you a glimpse into what we do during a day when Shane is at work. Monday nights the kids have bell choir, and tonight Shane and I go to Bible Study. Yesterday was one of our freer evenings. I didn’t make it home from Music lessons/library run/Lego Club/errands/grocery shopping until 6. We made waffles, but it was 7 before we’d gotten everyone fed and supper cleaned up. Shane read the little girls a book while I worked on some paperwork for our home business. By the time we got everyone to get baths and jammies, it was 8, almost time for Shane to pick up Emily from the rescue squad. We watched half of a TV show and finished it when he got back. I exercised while we had the TV on, so no cuddling on the couch. Then we stocked the fire and collapsed into bed, worn out from a busy day. Three children sprawled out on couches in the living room with us, as we are in the process of putting new floor down in their bedroom.
A few years ago, I think it was probably when we were fostering and were even busier, tokens of affection started to matter to me, like, a lot. Not that I’m a gifts person, but in the face of an overwhelming to do list and an absence of quality time, I felt like I needed…something. Some sort of cracker jack or consolation prize. One Mother’s Day, as I prepared to make lunch and he sat with a self-satisfied smirk that we don’t waste time and money on a made-up commercialized holiday, I had a meltdown.
It didn’t really help. My dear husband and I were both in the same boat, both just trying to make it through another day. When did he actually have time to go get me flowers?
Shane tried (and still does). Being an immensely practical person, he got online and ordered me cookware. It didn’t help, and I felt bad that he’d spent the money. (although I am still using the pots)
Through the years, we are discovering ways to bless our marriage that are more consistent with our lifestyle and budget. One of the biggest things that has helped is me making time for self care, so that I am not expecting my husband to do for me what I am not willing to do for myself. It is hard for me to pull back when my tank starts to run on empty, but it is vital for the wellbeing of our family. An hour several afternoons a week to write goes a long way in helping me stay engaged in reality the rest of the time. This also goes for Shane, we’ve realized that he needs time each day just to sit quietly or read.
Right now, home repairs have a higher place in the budget than date nights, but we do TRY to make time every day to spend time alone together, and do go out every couple of months and take time to just sit and dream.
It’s not perfect. There are still times of tension and frustration, but it is Good…
and I really do love that he thought to make me Valentine