My husband is not the kind of guy who will come home with flowers, pretty much ever. I’ve gotten flowers from him 3 times in the entire time I’ve known him. Once he had a big bouquet of daisies wired to me for my birthday when we were in separate countries, before we were married. Once before we were engaged he screwed up bad and knew it and appeared with a hand picked bouquet, each flower symbolizing a different aspect of his apology and thoughts on the subject. Then there was the time we both forgot about our 4th anniversary. I remembered at about 9:30 pm while putting the kids to bed and thoroughly enjoyed greeting him at the door half an hour later and demanding to know where my flowers were. I let him sweat for about a minute as he said, “August…. Anniversary?” Then I let him know that I had only just remembered myself. He went out anyway and bought one of those miniature rose bushes that you can get at the grocery store and a big bar of dark chocolate. That’s it for flowers.
I’m not at all delusional when it comes to my husband, I know that if I want something, especially help, I need to ask him for it or he doesn’t notice. I don’t get upset over that or punish him or myself with unrealistic expectations of spontaneous gestures from him. He’s a guy. I’ve told him often enough, say leading up to my birthday, that I would like flowers, but I’ve never received them. A couple of years ago I started buying myself just because bouquets from the street vendors, because fresh flowers make me happy and I wanted some.
As much as some manly idea in him seems to rebel against the thought of buying me flowers, I have come to realize that there are many other gestures and actions that demonstrate love in very tangible ways.
He makes birthday cakes for me. This year’s was even more elaborate than the last one. He made several layers of different flavored dark chocolate ganache above a really moist, rich flourless chocolate cake drizzled with a very old port. He topped the whole thing with brownies and more dark chocolate. If you know me, you know that that is my dream cake, and he does it better every year.
On weekends that he is home he makes these elaborate breakfasts involving his perfect French toast, eggs, gourmet sausages, specialty teas, and he puts it out on pretty plates and then wakes me to come and eat it.
One year for my birthday he shopped everywhere for a set of keychain scissors like the set I borrowed from him the day we met. I still have them in my purse.
He rents movies he thinks I would like to watch, even if he doesn’t like them.
Once when I was away for a few weeks he redecorated our bedroom, complete with details like tea light candle holders and framed photographs and original art on the walls. He filled an album entirely with pictures of me that he liked and kept it next to the bed while I was gone.
He puts up with my parents coming to visit even though they drive him nuts; he even makes conversation with them.
He once took massage therapy and every so often he will set up candles and music and give me a long massage, and he’s very good at it.
He gets up early and goes to work every single day and works hard in order to take care of his family.
He’s still here, even though I have subjected him to extreme craziness during several pregnancies.
He always listens when I want to talk to him, or at least he makes eye contact and gives me his attention.
He may not write poetry any more or sappy letters, or give flowers, though the man knows his chocolate, but I know he still loves me even without these things. This Valentine’s Day I don’t expect he’ll even remember which honestly doesn’t bother me. I’m looking at it as a day to remember to be thoughtful to my fabulous husband. I will be making a meal that I know he will like, the kids will help me make chocolate dipped strawberries for dessert, I will light candles, I may even buy some flowers to dress up the table, and we will hopefully have 5 minutes or so to connect, and then the Baby will probably scream and cry until far into the night as she has been doing recently, and I will give him a tired kiss as he goes to bed and I try to help her sleep. Or maybe she will go to sleep for a change and I can go to bed too. I can always hope, right?