Recently, my husband, Jason, took our son out for some guy time. Joey needed a few things: a haircut and swim trunks, a rash guard, sunglasses, and swim shoes for Beach Day at school. It seemed mundane but Jason was going to make it fun for Joey. So, when they came home, they showed me the cool stuff that they had bought at the store, and I oohed and ahh-ed over Joey’s adorable haircut. Then, unexpectedly, Jason shows me a bag of peanut butter M&Ms – my favorite.
I smiled, said thank you to him and gave him a hug and kiss.
I will be the first to admit that I am guilty of taking these things for granted. Sometimes I don’t even give it a second thought after I have said thank you, unfortunately. This time, however, I consciously reflected on how it makes me feel when he does these things. I allowed my mind to wander about the meaning of him doing these sorts of things and why it matters so much. Some would say, “A bag of M&Ms? You can get that yourself if you want them for less than a dollar, weirdo!” Some would laugh it off being so small and insignificant, but to me, these gestures mean the world.
It means I am thought of when I am not around. It means someone loves me enough to pay attention to the things I like, small or big. It means that I matter to him.
I started recollecting the events recently just to have further examples and they are flooding to memory: this morning, I had a flat tire (on our new car!) and he rushed to get my mom to watch the kids, so that he could drive 45 minutes downtown to go to my parking garage to change it for me, since he knew I would be swamped and wouldn’t be able to sit with the Roadside Assistance crew if I called them.
Another time, he purchased a Funko Pop Neville Longbottom that he had reserved at Barnes & Noble after checking the website daily for almost a month (I found this out after the fact). He rented Sisters from Redbox because he knew I wanted to watch it. He will do the laundry before I get home from work so we can focus on family time, and cleans the bathroom because he knows I am not a fan. He bought gym shoes for me, when HE needed new ones, because he saw them and thought I would like them, made me sweet tea without asking, wrote me love notes here and there just because; sent me texts when he thought about me throughout the day…the list could go on and on. We have been married almost fifteen years and the spark is still there and I love him more and more each day.
Would we still have a strong relationship if he didn’t do these things? Maybe…but I doubt it. I need those signs every so often to show me that he cares and, fortunately for me. don’t even need to ask him, and that is huge.
For me, this sort of attention was lacking in my life growing up from my parents. When they got divorced, it equated to even more seclusion for me – I didn’t feel like I fit anywhere, and that no one really cared about my needs so I withdrew. I was young and became accustomed to certain things in my environment, so as I grew up I didn’t know if I deserved any attention. In a weird way, I kind of found comfort in that lonely place, even though I craved much more and felt like I was missing out. I am sure my parents didn’t realize it, but I just didn’t have that connection growing up to the people who brought me into this world.
And sometimes that’s hard in my marriage. But when he does these little things for me, I feel very secure in our marriage. I know he goes out of his way when he doesn’t have to, just because he wants to. And even though we have had many hurdles along the way, these little bright spots in our days that surprise us – that shows us that through the hustle and bustle we are still a team, and we are in this for the long haul.