My husband is a quiet man. He is generous, kind, gentle, a great father and example, he has a kind of sneaky sense of humor, a brilliant mind and a protectiveness towards his family, towards me. He is a home body who loves spending time with me and his children more than anything else he could be doing. He loves puttering around the yard, planning new projects, drawing plans for our “someday dream home”, learning new things and solving puzzles.
My husband is not a spender of money we don’t have, not patient with stupidity, not a partier, he is not a public speaker or the first in line for anything, and he is not a romantic.
When I was a young bride I believed like many young women that romance was much like the movies, surprises, flowers, presents, love notes, all the important dates remembered. What I have learned is that most men are not romantics, don’t remember, but they are really good men who love with their whole heart.
An example: Most Christmases my husband and I don’t buy gifts for each other. It’s a habit we’ve fallen into because money has always been tight and we focused on the children, but one year there was a little left in the budget and we decided to exchange gifts. He was out of practice with the gift buying and there was a limited amount of money so he really didn’t want to make a mistake. He kept asking me what I wanted, I was a little irritated that I would have to tell him what to get me so I wouldn’t say. But one day he asked again as I was getting very frustrated with the doorknob on the front door always getting stuck and I said, “what I really want is a doorknob that works!”
Well Christmas morning comes along and I’m handed a beautifully wrapped gift which when opened revealed, you guessed it, a doorknob! My first reaction was…..what???? But I looked up and saw his face looking all proud and excited that he had listened to what I said and had gotten me exactly what I had asked for. At that moment I realized that his only thought had been to please me and make me happy, the look on his face said it all. So I said thank you with all the sincerity I could muster and our Christmas day went forward.
Over the years I’ve given it a good deal of thought and I have come to realize that not only do men and women think very differently but they have very different ways of showing love. So, did I want to force him to show love the way I wanted it or was I willing to accept the way he showed me his love? So I started really paying attention to the hundreds of ways he loves me. It was a long list and continues to grow and it’s this list that has helped us stay married for 29 years. We don’t get hurt feelings over superficial things, we don’t argue over forgotten details and dates, we don’t freak out over things, we pay attention to the small things.
So, a partial list of the ways my husband shows me he loves me:
When I come home with groceries, he jumps up to help carry them in, when I don’t feel well, he asks nothing of me and will fix dinner, when I want some gardening done, he does all the work while I supervise and he worries about me lifting or hurting myself, if I start a project, he will finish it, if I want to paint the house, he makes sure it gets done and done right. When I’m called upon to serve at a wedding or party my husband is the first one to come and help me, I don’t even have to ask, and he’s the last one to leave after all the clean up is done including the mopping. He wants to spend time with me, doing things, doing nothing, he tells me he would rather be with me than whatever it is I’m trying to get him to do. He doesn't argue or nag or yell or criticize, he lets me grow and become and do the things that make me happy. His attitude is, if I’m happy, he’s happy. He is 100% supportive of me and anything I desire to do, he is convinced that I am capable of accomplishing anything I set my mind to. He will stop what he is doing to help me, he organizes me in ways that produce a much better outcome, he works on ways to make things easier for me, (even when it really may not be).
But most of all, he holds my hand.
It doesn’t matter if its a short walk from the car to the church doors or if it’s a long walk around the fair grounds, he holds my hand. Better even than just holding my hand, he reaches for my hand. He stops or slows down and reaches back for my hand, I’ve watched for it, I’ve waited for it, it always happens. When his hand comes back and feels for mine I feel wanted, cherished, loved, cared for. It melts my heart every single time. When he holds my hand and pulls me close I realize that his wanting me near is worth more than any present or remembered date or any grand gesture I could imagine.
Would I give up all his daily acts of love for one surprise party or even a diamond? Would I treasure a dozen roses a few times a year more than his encouraging words or constant acts of service? The world would have us believe that if the romance dies the relationship is dead. The world would have us believe that unless we are constantly, overtly falling all over each other the love has died. The world is wrong!!! Daily acts of service and love, kind words of encouragement, being supported, being wanted, when the focus is on those things, when you see this person across the room and are filled with those warm feelings and memories of a life built together, then you begin to know what love is, what it has the potential of becoming.
We live together, we work together, we raise children together, we manage money together, we worry and stress together, we play together, we talk, we sing, we share. No matter what the day brings or the stress that life heaps upon us, no matter the frustration or the rude words that may come into my mind….. I remember…..this man loves me, this man holds my hand. At the core of our marriage is this……when he holds my hand and holds me close….I’m home.
I’ve decided that I feel sorry for people who don’t hold hands. I’ve decided that holding hands is a sign of where you are in a relationship, a sign of whether or not two people cherish each other. I’ve decided that if he ever stops holding my hand that’s when I will start to worry. It’s the barometer of where we are in our life and marriage.
This man holds my hand, therefore, this man holds my heart.