Last week a friend asked me what my husband, George, had done for me this Valentine`s Day.
I had to smile.
For the first time in the nineteen February 14ths we`ve been together, he did absolutely nothing to acknowledge this day, supposedly for lovers. I didn`t mind. Here`s why…
Our first Valentine`s Day, back in 1997, was three weeks after our first and (at that point) only date. George, currently living a million miles away in Liverpool, had a bunch of red roses delivered to my house in Leeds. For me and my scrunty student housemates, that was a Big Deal. None of us had ever been sent flowers before. He also sent a card. Inside the card was a poem he`d written. A poem. The poem was funny and sweet and it made me fan myself with the card and swoon a little bit as my friends declared that we were “absolutely, definitely going to get married”.
Since then, the total number of poems George has written me remains at one. He has given me a couple more bunches of roses over the years, but more often than not if I want some flowers I buy them myself. Despite the impressive start, I have not married a man given to grand romantic gestures. And he isn`t really one for small to medium sized gestures, either.
But. I can honestly say it doesn`t bother me. Because grand gestures, by their very nature, are an occasional thing. That leaves a lot of marriage to span the gap between those extra-ordinary moments. And who wants surprise holidays, expensive jewellery and singing beneath your balcony when you can have a cup of tea? Or, in the case of nearly two decades together, about six thousand cups of tea?
Every single night George is home, an hour or two after our evening meal, he makes me a hot drink. If he`s in the middle of doing something, he stops to make me one. If he has a late meeting, he makes me one when he comes back. Even after running an exhausting Friday night youth group while I`ve stayed at home and watched TV. Even in the early days of our marriage when after flaming rows he would be furious with me. And not only that, he brings me a piece of cake, or a cookie, or maybe even some chocolate.
Six thousand times, my husband has done this to show he loves me.
In the everyday, ordinary, often tiring, sometimes hectic, ups and downs of married life, his cups of tea are unconditional. They are consistent and dependable. There is no 50:50 and no taking turns.
Yes, it`s quick and easy. But it is an everyday commitment that declares our partnership is precious. That he thinks I am precious. One that means I don`t have to wait for the day the card manufacturers decided he should make his feelings clear.
So, while I wouldn`t say no to a surprise trip to Paris (hello, husband?)…
Or be disappointed with an eternity ring…
And, if I`m honest, I`m curious to see who he might compare me to in a poem these days, `cos it sure as heck wouldn`t be Victoria Beckham…
I`m happy with six thousand cups of tea. And really looking forward to six thousand more.
So – how about you?
What are the everyday gestures that you and your family or friends use to show you love each other?
What would be your dream “ordinary” gift? The oven cleaned? A home cooked meal? A lie in while someone else looked after your kids?
I`d love to hear from you. If you are reading this on my home page, click on the heading to share this post or leave your comment.