Do you remember the first time you said the phrase, “I love you,” to your spouse. I do. It was at night, on a beach, underneath a beautiful moon. Speaking the phrase was so significant at the time; it represented such hope, commitment and promise. Now, more than 12 years down the road, it seems the words have essentially become a daily habit, much like brushing my teeth. Have the words, “I love you,” become the slogan of our marriage rather than the expression of my appreciation, respect and regard?
Saying, “I love you,” is what you are supposed to do when he kisses you on his way out the door to work and before you both fall asleep at night. That repeated reassurance of your commitment and love can only be a good thing. Then again, I wonder if it has become, to some extent, a default, my generic phrase of choice that encompasses everything I feel for the man I share my life with.
This Valentine’s Day I want to give my husband something more than my default, something better than generic. That is why on February 14, 2015, I intend to go an entire day without telling my husband I love him. Instead, I plan to do these things:
1. Be Specific
What do I love about my husband? Does he even know? I tell him I love him every day, but do I ever tell him why? Well, for one day, that is all that he is going to hear. “Honey, I love your messy hair first thing in the morning.” “Man, you give amazing hugs,” and “Has anyone told you recently that you are the world’s coolest dad?” I want him to know I notice his efforts, his unique abilities, and his growth over the years. I want him to know I love him for trying, each day, to be a better man.
2. Show Him
Too often our outward displays of affection get lost somewhere between homework, gymnastics and basketball. With all the rushing here and there, do I forget to flirt with the man who stole my heart? Not this Valentine’s Day. Prepare to be hit on, honey. Let’s see what I can sneak in when the kids aren’t looking. Maybe I’ll give you one of those kisses that make our girls giggle, blush and turn their heads. Maybe I’ll rub your leg a little higher than is proper, under the table, at dinner. Whatever it is, I’ll do what I can to make sure you have butterflies in your stomach throughout the day.
3. Put Him First
My husband gave me the amazing gift of five beautiful children whom we both love and adore. They are precious, sweet, and very needy. There is never enough of my time to go around, and so I often end up assisting whoever is crying the loudest. Since my husband doesn’t cry and he can feed himself, his needs often get pushed back throughout the day. That won’t happen this February 14. Instead, he will be at the top of my priority list all day long, not just while we are out at night.
4. Take the Initiative
So often, I find myself putting my husband in the driver’s seat of our relationship. Where is he taking me on Friday night? What surprise does he have planned for Valentine’s Day? Has he scheduled our anniversary trip yet? This year, I called the sitter. I made the reservations, and I’m taking my man out on the town. It’s his turn to relax and enjoy an evening planned just for him. I want him to know that I am invested in this relationship too. I want him to know, that I know, it’s not all about me. I want him to know that he is worth planning for.
There are a good many things I hope to say to my husband this Valentine’s Day; however, “I love you,” will not be one of them. I will hold out not because it is no longer true, but because on this day that we celebrate our ever-growing love I want to give him something better than the norm, something superior to our default, something worthy of Valentine’s Day.