Around the time that Hubby and I got married, my grandfather sent us a newspaper clipping from Dear Abby. "'Make love" every day wife's advice," shouts the headline. Hmm. Wow, how progressive of my grandfather to send us such advice!
Upon reading the letter, though, you find out that what the wife in question is really advising, after 50 years of marriage, is that it's the little acts of love that really hold a marriage together. A smile across a room. a hug, a "special look." Hand holding. If you do all that - and more - your marriage, and love, will make it through "better and worse."
Sweetie goes to bed every night, and I am done. I may be sitting there on the couch, but I am "done" for the day. Hubby tries to talk to me. Tries to make me smile, laugh, simply just engage in conversation with him. And I don't respond. Don't want to respond. Can't respond. Not in the mood. Just done. More nights than not, this is our experience. Hubby at the computer, around the corner from me, and I on the couch. Watching T.V. and playing on my Ipod. Or he gets the T.V. - usually watching nothing I'm interested in in the least - and I'm on the computer, or up to a bath, or doing dishes, or up to bed. Our interactions, as I said, are minimal at best. This, unfortunately, is our "typical," after Sweetie goes to bed.
But, as we close in on 11 years of marriage this fall, I have to tell you I love him just as much as ever, if not more so. And as the Dear Abby clipping hangs on our fridge to this day, we do abide by its teachings to "make love every day."
- Ever since I can remember with Hubby - before he was Hubby! - we have always kissed each other 3 quick times in a row. Our wedding day kiss was three quick kisses! (okay, maybe 2 quick kisses, with the 3rd being a bit longer, but still...) Every morning he still kisses me goodbye with those three kisses. "Why do you give Mommy 3 kisses and I only get one?" Sweetie recently asked him? "Because I've always given her 3 kisses. It's our thing," was his matter of fact response.
- If we do watch T.V. together after Sweetie's in bed, you can almost guarantee that it's a "murder show" (CSI, Castle, etc....) and we both enjoy our time together, figuring out the mystery of how the given murder was committed and by whom. We'll also usually be playing Scrabble together (well, together on our Ipods) at the same time. And I'll be fixing Hubby's feet with a foot rub after his long workday standing on concrete basement floors. Not my most favorite thing to do in the world, by any means, but something he loves and needs. After his working so hard, then coming home to cook us dinner (a great act of love on his part), he deserves a little love and attention from me.
- I'm almost always asleep by the time Hubby comes to bed. He stays up until midnight or so every night, and I'm out cold earlier in the 11 o'clock hour. But if I am awake, I'm just coherent enough to roll over in bed so that he can wrap his arms around me. He claims to not be able to sleep without holding me, and I can't completely settle for the night without his warm, comforting squeeze.
- Our new money management ritual is definitely an act of love. Every day we now hand over receipts, and generally let each other know if money was spent. Every Friday night we now sit together and look at our finances. For the now, for the upcoming week, and for the upcoming month. We figure out what we can send to certain "big debt" bills. We see together just exactly where we stand. I no longer solely take care of the checking book - a situation that often left me scared of our standings and afraid to admit to Hubby the truth of the matter. But, wow! It turns out this little act of what-doesn't-really-seem-like-love-but-definitely-is, is so amazing. It really is so much better to work together as a force than to be scared alone.
- And then, when we go out together, for any purpose - typical daily errands, the rare date night, whatever - you can bet that Hubby and I are always, always, holding hands.
Yes, I'd say that the number one reason for this little act of love is for him to help me get around easier. After all, I can be so much faster and more stable on my feet if holding someone's hand. And I almost require a hand hold when going up an incline of some sort. It just makes my mobility that much more safe and secure.
But even so - yes, you could say that he "has to" hold my hand to help me. So what?! After being together for more than a decade - and just like our 3 quick kisses - it's just become something we don't even think about. Just something we do. It's our thing. And it's a wonderful act of love. Not just him towards me, since he's "helping me out." But a mutual act of love toward each other.
Back in the days when he and I were newly dating, and I was still on crutches after major back surgery some months earlier, we were leaving the movie theater one night and he lamented not being able to hold my hand because of my holding onto my crutches. Later that summer when we went miniature golfing, we both realized how well I could get around without my crutches and just using the golf club as my walking stick.
I do believe it was from that day on - well, very shortly after that day, anyway - that I "graduated" to using a Hubby-made walking stick as my main walking support. No more crutches! And - finally - the ability to hold hands with each other.
And we're still holding hands. To this very day.
So as we approach our "Happy 11" anniversary (our first date was on the 11th of April, so month after month, we'd celebrate "Happy 11" mini anniversaries), I admit that, in several ways, our marriage has settled into a bit of a comfortable groove. A place where we don't necessarily talk meaningfully every day. A place where parenthood more often takes the lead over couplehood. A place where either - or both! - of us can just be "done" by the time we finally get Sweetie settled into bed. Work, and Sweetie, and life in general has tired us out for the day.
But it's all okay.
We still have my grandfather's newspaper clipping hanging on our fridge. We still heed it's advice. We still "make love every day" in so many little ways.
I wanna hold hold your hand for the rest of my life, Hubby. Thank you for holding mine.