Yesterday I was handed an unexpected, astonishing gift. Some of you are probably thinking that my husband bestowed some superb surprise on me because it was our wedding anniversary.
After 33 years of marriage and 36 years of knowing one another, hubby and I are at the point where gifts don’t have the same impact that they once did. So he did not arrive home with a brilliant bouquet of flowers behind his back, a box of delectable dessert, or terrific tickets to a luxury vacation for just the two of us.
Several books have been written on the “five love languages,” [words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch] and there are seminars engaged and married couples can attend to discover which of those languages demonstrates the primary way one feels loved. Years ago I completed the love language survey. The result topping my love language list is acts of service, with quality time coming in a very close second. Receiving gifts was the lowest.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy receiving gifts or appreciate them and the gift-giver, I do. But if you truly want to show your love for me, do something for me or spend one-on-one time with me. Wow, that blesses my heart!
So my husband knows very well that presents, although they are lovely, are not necessary to demonstrate his love for me. Ever the practical one, I reminded him yesterday morning that flower arrangements, no matter how beautiful, just die and to me are wastes of money, and that judging by our bodies, neither one of us needs tasty treats. Therefore, I did not expect any of those from him to celebrate our special day. He presented a hysterically funny card to me which made me chuckle all the way to work.
Later that afternoon, hubby surprised me by arriving home from work at a much earlier hour than usual. That was a nice gift. I read yesterday’s blog post to him as that was my offering to him, and he was touched and pleased. (He said he’d marry me all over again too! Whew!)
Then we decided to enjoy dinner out – not expensive just a pleasant meal – and went to Applebee’s. Our evening wasn’t loaded with excitement because we just ran an errand to the pet store, but we took a minute or two to look at the sleeping kitties waiting for adoption there. Purchasing a new computer is something we’re considering, so we checked out some options at another shop. Then we headed home, watched a little television together, and called it a day because hubby needed to arrive at work very early this morning.
Most folks would think that was an incredibly boring way to spend an anniversary together. But it filled up my love language tank just spending quality time with my husband. And while that was very lovely, it’s not the unexpected gift I received yesterday.
In my work I interact with students at area high schools. Yesterday, I gave presentations to three classes about how to build healthy, long-lasting relationships. One of the issues we discussed was the marriage relationship. I told my students that I felt pretty qualified to speak on the subject because it was my wedding anniversary.
Of course, they wanted to know how long I’ve been married. When I told them my true love and I have been committed to one another and only one another for 33 years, these students looked at me with disbelief, but they congratulated me.
In one particular class, however, I was handed my unexpected gift – one that touched me more deeply than a lavishly expensive present could ever do. After sharing about my 33rd wedding anniversary, the entire class exploded in spontaneous applause! As I thanked them and scanned their smiling faces, it occurred to me that they genuinely were happy for me. But more than that, they appreciated, in this age of over half of marriages ending in divorce, that a married couple could reach such a milestone.
This was a class of youngsters, 8th graders, no more than 14 or 15 years old, but those young teens handed me a wonderful gift. The gift of appreciation. I can only pray that I handed them a gift as well – hope for their futures, hope for a true love, hope for a lasting and fulfilling marriage relationship. Now that is what I call a GIFT.