The other night, I texted my husband while he was on the train home from work, and asked him if he could pick up a box of tampons. It was the end of a long day at the end of a long week, and I’m sure the last thing he wanted to do was stop at the grocery store at all, much less to pick up tampons.
His response? “What kind? Can you send me a picture of the box?”
There were no complaints (though he might have let out an exasperated sigh when he read the text), and 20 minutes later, he was home with tampons.
And you know what? I had never felt so loved. It might not have been a big deal – I mean, every man should buy a box of tampons at least once in his life – but it was a big deal to me.
These are the things that matter. These are the things that make a difference. These are the things that make a person feel loved.
It isn’t necessarily the big things – the grand gestures of love, the romantic dinners with expensive champagne and roses, the once-in-a-lifetime displays of affection. Don’t get me wrong, those are all well and good (I mean, I wouldn’t complain if my husband, say, surprised me with a last-minute trip to Italy), but these things are so rare, so fleeting, so (dare I say, cliché) that they lose a bit of their stereotypical luster.
No, the things that matter – the real signs of true love – are the everyday things that show a person that you care, that you want to make their day easier and their life better. Things like…
Late night trips to the convenience store for candy.
Being the first one to apologize.
Pouring two cups of coffee, instead of one.
Back rubs and inside jokes.
Giving them your last french fry.
Keeping your mouth shut and not saying “I told you so” even though you totally could.
Watching Love Actually for the 634th time (even though you actually hate it).
Not throwing a big 40th birthday bash, even though they’re all the rage, because what your beloved really wants to do is sleep and not talk to anyone.
Picking up socks. So many socks.
Tucking them under a blanket when they fall asleep on the couch.
Buying their favorite brand of yogurt.
Knowing what their favorite brand of yogurt is.
Taking the kids away for the weekend so your partner can get some elusive “me time” (even if “me time” is really just cleaning the house while 90s rap music blaring).
Listening to 90s rap music even though you’re more of a 90s grunge fan.
Tolerating taking couple selfies.
Listening when you want to talk, pretending not to notice the new wrinkles and gray hairs, and after-work kisses that still take your breath away.
These are the things that matter. These are signs of true love. These are the things that sustain a relationship when date nights are replaced with co-sleeping toddlers and spur-of-the-moment romance gives away to family outings to Chuck E. Cheese.
When my husband and I got married, we said the traditional vows. You know, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, yada yada yada. But those vows aren’t really the heart and soul of our marriage. Sure, they express a deep commitment, but they don’t really apply to the vast majority of our days together.
A relationship exists in the day-to-day monotony and random chaos, not the big flashy moments. It isn’t so much the big displays of love, affection or romance that matter, but the everyday little things that sometimes go unnoticed.
Like picking up tampons for your wife at 6:00 on a Friday night, and maybe even grabbing some chocolate bars for good measure.