Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end. I Corinthians 13:4-8 (The Message)
With wisdom and years, my expectations of Valentine’s Day changed significantly. Three and a half decades ago, husband was expected to deliver the goods, defined dinner, gifts, flowers and meaningful cards. Always at a loss to find something unique and special, he generally relied on jewelry to make a statement. I have some beautiful jewelry from that period of our life. But, sometimes, he stumbled upon something different like the Valentine’s Day thirty years ago when he gave me a red Doberman puppy for a gift. (Of course, that brings to mind my own shortcomings. When he called to tell me about his purchase, I hung up the phone and told my parents I was “going to be a mommy.” Very wrong choice of words as our wedding was still four months away.) Now, times have changed. I spent the last two weeks absolving him of any need to buy me something. I told him, no chocolate, I don’t want to gain back any weight. No flowers, I just bought a bouquet at the grocery store when we had friends over this weekend. No gifts, he just bought a horse trailer for me and is in the process of fixing it up. Don’t buy anything. I would prepare a quiet dinner at home. Still and all, I don’t think he believed me, for despite warnings from our pastor two Sundays in a row, husband was caught off guard last night when he realized Valentine’s Day was on a Monday. As in today. He snuck home at lunch time to deliver a card and candy worried that I might be angry because he had nothing to give me this morning. I don’t know how much clearer I need to be, but then, after decades of treading lightly wanting to please, I guess I have pulled the rug out from under him by expecting nothing. I didn’t buy him a card or a gift either, but spent the last couple of days focusing on his love language, “Acts of Service.” I’ve spoken here before about Gary Chapman’s teaching that there are five love languages and while everyone speaks each language to a decree, we all have a primary love language. In order for you to feel loved, I must speak your language, not my own. The love languages are quality time, gifts, acts of service, physical touch and words of encouragement. Husband speaks and hears love in Acts of Service (well, one other one, but this is a PG rated blog!) So, in the last few days, I took his dry cleaning to the laundry, changed the sheets on the bed, cleaned the house, straightened his computer desk, paid bills, negotiated new insurance coverage, baked a cake, and bought ingredients for a stupendous supper. Youngest son is off to wine and dine his fiancée. I am very happy to have those days behind me. We’ll stay home tonight. No more need to impress, just the ability to speak the right love language.