Valentines day was on Wednesday. A few days later was our ‘engagiversary’. From looks of the squares on the calendar this was romance week. It was also a week where every logistical upset that could happen did happen and I spent most of it overwhelmed by all the little things that piled up and made each day overtly complicated and exhaustingly chaotic. Stress took over and romance almost got lost under its overbearing presence.
People say Valentines is a Hallmark holiday and that mature relationships don’t need flowers and cheesy cards. And maybe that’s all true. Maybe we put too much emphasis on fancy chocolates and candlelit dinners. But by the time we got to the end of the week, by the time we had weathered through a dozen disappointments and set backs, there was nothing I needed more than a little romance and a few moments set aside to celebrate the intense delight and privilege it is to love and be loved.
I knew from the start the core of our relationship would not revolve around romance and roses. It would be about hearty work, shared ministry, and mutual interests. When a friend asked me what I was looking forward to most in marriage a few months before my wedding, spending daily life with my husband was my answer. I knew it would be the egg scrambling, grocery runs, brushing teeth, and showing up for each other through our day-to-day work that would bring us together as one. I cherish every morning that I coax him out of bed with coffee and back rubs and he wraps his arms around me while I scrub the frying pan and we give a quick kiss as a send off. This shared life – the ups, downs and in betweens, is the best thing about marriage, by far.
When was the last time I went out of the way to turn on love songs and light some candles?
When was the last time I wrote down a dozen things I love most about him?
When was the last time I took time to look into his sparkly blue eyes and marvel at the wonder that he sees me fully and loves me completely?
When was the last time I put all the adulting projects on hold, turned off the phone, closed the computer lid, let the dishes sit dirty in the sink and throw a love party?
In this man lies the clearest evidence of God’s kindness I have ever received on this earth. He is lavish grace in tangible human form. And most days I let meal planning, floor sweeping, and bill paying become more important than taking his face in my hands and telling him how much I love to love him.
So the cynics can dismiss February 14th as anything special. They can roll their eyes at my incessant need to mark every anniversary with a sappy Instagram post. They can say the best kind of romance is the ordinary, day-to-day kind. And I will agree, mostly.
Because I can’t help but think we could all use a good excuse to love a little bigger for a day.
But when you find someone who sees you at your worst and loves you at his best, when you find someone who starts and finishes all his days with you, when you find someone who takes your hand and chooses to go through all the ordinary parts of daily life at your side, you push pause on all the stacks of grown up to-do lists. You put everything else aside and you devote yourself to treasuring the gift of love.