When I was in high school, I dated a boy who would go all-out for Valentine’s Day - balloon bouquets, long-stemmed red roses, boxes of chocolates, candlelight dinners.
Every afternoon, for a full week, some grand new token of his affection would be delivered to my doorstep. But as soon as Valentine’s was over, he would seemingly forget I even existed.
Two years older and away at college, he’d go entire semesters without so much as a phone call or a postcard. Granted, that was in the era before cell phones and FaceTime, but the stark contrast jaded my view of all things cupid.
In my mind, Valentine’s Day is just window dressing. It’s a public display that may or may not accurately represent what is truly stored up in one’s heart. Our most telling declarations of love aren’t made on Feb. 14 - they are made in the days and the weeks and the months that follow.
When my husband brings home heart-shaped candy boxes and fancy flowers this time of year, I know that it’s (at least partially) because he knows the nurses at the hospital are going to quiz him about what he got me. But when he brings me hot tea when I’m sick? Or starts a load of laundry for me when I’m busy? Or runs my bathwater when I’m tired? Or makes a list of things at work he wants to tell me when he gets home? He’s not doing any of that for show. Nobody will ever ask him about it. He does all those things purely because he loves me and takes pleasure in demonstrating that fact in practical, everyday ways.
I love that about him. Unfortunately, wives can be just as guilty as my old boyfriend of pouring so much thought and energy into a single day that little is left over for later.
If you enjoyed an extra-special evening of romance with your husband this week, terrific. But don’t that to last until next Valentine’s Day - or even until next week.
Too many married couples try to survive on sporadic samplings of gourmet delicacies, when they’d feel far more satisfied with a steady diet of meat and potatoes.
So, this is a plea for perseverance. Did you kindle some sparks with your spouse on Feb. 14? Then fan them into a flame … and do your best to keep it burning all year long.
Jennifer Flanders has been happily married for almost 30 years. For more tips on making your marriage thrive, read her book Love Your Husband/Love Yourself or visit her blog http://lovinglifeathome.