I was in our dirty bathroom with a snotty baby, giving her some medicine for a cold. My pajamas were stained and my hair wrapped up in a covering to keep it out of my face. I hadn’t even brushed my own teeth yet.
I felt like a mess. But when my husband walked in for his routine bathroom break, he smiled and offered to hold our baby. He kissed my forehead and said, “You work so hard. I love you!”
Another time, as I wrestled with our older child to brush her hair before bed, my husband offered to hold her and comfort her as I finished the job. Again the room was messy from a long day of work, and again he gave me a kiss followed by an affirmation of my work as mother and wife as well as his love for me.
Finally, after helping me research nursing degrees and planning out our future finances, he kissed me and told me, “You were meant for this. I love you so much.”
I began to take notice: Whether we had fought or were getting along, no matter how busy he was, my husband would take the few seconds needed to display affection and share kind words.
I noticed because this hadn’t always the case in our relationship. There used to be days my husband and I hardly spoke to one another. This wasn’t always the result of arguing or bad moods; we simply enjoyed being alone and didn’t feel the need to always interact.
When I asked him about his new practice, he reminded me about the stress that pressed on our marriage when we first moved into my father’s home. Being crammed together in a single room with little personal space caused the both of us to be snippy with one another. This eventually lead us to a huge falling out between us on Mother’s Day of all days, which left me feeling deeply depressed and disheartened.
We did make up that day, although my “special day” was less than special. As my husband recalled the events to me, he explained how that incident changed his perspective in how he spoke to me.
“Things shouldn’t have gone so bad that day,” he said. “From then on, I always wanted to remind you that I love you, everyday, no matter what.”
I initially didn’t think I needed that reminder. Even during depressive episodes or fights, I never ever felt unloved. Misunderstood or hurt? Sure. But I knew no marriage is perfect. Yet, these little displays of affection have made a difference. I really appreciated the effort my husband was making, so I began to do the same thing for him. No matter what, I started making sure to kiss him and thank him for working hard for our family.
I’m now realizing the depths of my husband’s insights when it comes to the power of little words and acts of love. They may be small, but they are sorely needed by any couple, no matter how briefly or long they have been together. These everyday words and actions make us both feel deeply valued, despite our flaws.
These displays of love remind my husband and I why we are together after all these years, and tell us of a future that awaits us when we continue to work together: lifelong love, with the two of us still together despite the odds.