by Simple Dykie
A look at what it really means to love someone.
| My twenty-third wedding anniversary is rapidly approaching, and it got me thinking about how my wife and I have made it this far on our long and winding journey of wedded bliss. I'm not saying that we haven't hit a few bumps in the road, had a few minor fender benders, or had to pull each other out of massive potholes once in a while. We have experienced some tough times over the years, but we've always managed to come through unscathed, still in love, and more determined than ever to make our marriage last. A good marriage certainly takes a lot of work. My dad once said to me,
"Son, marriage is like a job. It is also probably the hardest job you will ever have in your life. The one difference between a job and a marriage is that with marriage, you never get to retire."
It is said, that marriages last because couples truly love each other. I've often wondered about the concept of love, and what it really means to love someone. From William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet to the nuptials of Prince William and Kate Middleton, we have all been fascinated by love.
Throughout history; poets, novelists, playwrights, and songwriters have penned touching words, meaningful prose, and created magnificent music dealing with love, that has touched our hearts and souls. People often talk about love as a feeling in the pit of our stomach, resembling the fluttering of thousands of butterflies. Love has also been described as not being able to live without someone. I have even heard that it is a friendship which over time goes from glowing embers to a roaring fire. After nearly twenty-three years of marriage, I think I may have caught a look at what real love is. It has to do with hot water.
If your household is anything like mine, then the available amount of hot water to take a long and relaxing bath or a revitalizing shower is always limited. Add a few teenagers, and you'll find yourself taking showers at four in the morning, enduring cold, arctic like baths, or visiting your local gym to shower in a steamy room full of naked, middle-aged men.
A few days ago my wife came home from a long shift as a nurse practitioner in a local hospital. She was tired, her feet were aching, and I could see her need for a long and relaxing, hot shower. My wife is known for remaining for extended periods of time beneath cascades of water, hot enough to boil spaghetti. This often drains our hot water heater of even the last remaining ounces of precious warm water.
I had recently come inside after working in the yard, was covered in dirt and grass clippings, and needed a hot and cleansing shower. When my wife asked if I was getting a shower, I told a little white lie. I said that I had some more work to do, and would get one later. I also told her to take as long a shower as she wanted. I then sat down with, "War and Peace," a book I'd always wanted to read, and patiently waited for my wife to finish her shower.
As I finished chapter fifteen, I heard the water shut off, and soon my wife emerged from the bathroom in a terry cloth robe with a radiant smile, and a fresh and scrubbed look. She said she was sorry it took so long, gave me a quick kiss on the cheek, and headed to the bedroom for a much-needed nap. I headed for the bathroom with the hope that there might be just enough warm water to rinse off a thick layer of dirt and grime.
As the first icy droplets of water reached my head and shoulders, I stifled a scream, so as not to alarm my wife in the nearby bedroom. I frantically began scrubbing my skin with soap, to not only clean myself, but possibly to generate some life-giving heat. I have always wondered how cold water from a shower head is so unbelievably frigid. Maybe it's not even water. It felt like that liquid they use to cryogenically freeze people's heads to some ridiculous, negative temperature before storing them in the hope of future defrosting and the subsequent curing of disease, or age-related afflictions.
The water in my shower was so cold, I wouldn't have been surprised to hear tentative scratching on the shower curtain, and opening it to face a massive polar bear looking for relief from global warming. It wouldn't have been a problem. I have a large shower, and he could have relaxed on the iceberg that was floating in the back corner. Finishing my shower, I reached for a towel, and heard a gentle knock at the bathroom door. My wife asked if I was alright, and if she had left me enough hot water. In a slightly high-pitched voice brought on by debilitating cold, I managed to answer,
"I had plenty, sweetheart. Now please go back to sleep and get some rest."
I think I may have finally caught a small, but precious glimpse of what love really means – it’s the little things that matter the most.
This past Valentine’s Day, I was inundated by commercial after commercial, telling me to show my love for my wife, by buying long-stem roses, high-priced chocolates, and expensive jewelry. I’m not a rich man, and sometimes I feel bad when I can’t give my wife some of the things she deserves. I’m a lucky man, in that I married a practical woman with simple tastes and needs, who really doesn’t need much to know she’s loved.
Over the years, I’ve tried my best to do the little things to make her happy. Sometimes, I’ve failed miserably. What can I say – I’m a man, and women are a lot more complicated than people think. I believe that’s what makes them so special. Even after almost twenty-three years, I don’t fully understand my wife. I guess I never will. She still finds ways to surprise me. All I can do is try to make her happy. I’ve been told, it’s the effort that counts. You should also know, that I’m far from perfect. If my wife were to write down all the things I do to drive her crazy – we'd be here all day.
I have a few tips for any man whose reading this. Tell your wife, or significant other that you love them every day. If they ask you why – don’t over complicate things; just say you do. There could be millions of reasons, but just knowing someone loves them is enough. Tell her she’s beautiful, that she looks wonderful in her new dress, or her new hairstyle is very becoming. If you really love her – even after twenty-three years, you'll be telling the truth. In your eyes, she still is, the most beautiful woman in the world.
This next part is very important, and it’s the hardest thing for any man to do. You can’t tell her you did something. I know, I know; but the act loses it’s meaning if you try to take credit. You just have to do things. The best, are ones you may not normally do, or are totally unexpected. It might be cleaning the dishes out of the sink, vacuuming, doing some laundry, doing the weekly grocery shopping, or even something as simple has opening the car door for her. If she notices things you did, and thanks you; then just say you're welcome, and move on. She may not say anything. That’s okay. You’re making her life a little better, and that what’s important.
Before I end this – Here’s a few quick tips for all you guys out there. I hope you’re taking notes. If not, that’s okay. To be honest; most of the time I just wing it, and pray for the best. Be sure to leave her plenty of hot water, don’t flush the toilet when she’s in the shower, don’t complain when she tells you her mother is coming for a visit, and – make salads. If you surprise her with dinner, you can’t mess up a salad. My wife's favorite is a Caesar salad with: romaine lettuce, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, ripe cherry tomatoes, thin slices of cold chicken breast on top, and home-made croutons, baked with olive oil and garlic. Oh, I almost forgot - remember the little things.