My husband doesn’t surprise me with bouquets of dewy roses flowers or lavish me with expensive diamond bracelets. He doesn’t plan elaborate surprises or whisk me off on exotic vacations to those over water bungalows in Bali. He’s not what I envisioned in my dreamy 15 year old mind. A man so in love with me he was constantly showering me with gifts. Instead, my birthday gift is usually something like a blender and my Valentine’s card is made from a manila folder he cut up at work. It’s not the showy romantic love of the movies– instead he gives me a blank check (no, not that kind of blank check).
He gives me freedom, with complete trust and unquestioning support. He encourages me to take opportunities that often take money, time and energy.
He doesn’t get fame and fortune in return. Instead he gets to come home to an empty house while his wife is traveling to some exotic locale on a medical mission, or to take a day off work and manage our three young boys sightseeing in New York City while I present at a conference. It means unloading thousand of things from the car after art shows and various PTO extravaganzas, and sitting on the bed in my studio (however boring it may be) to keep me company on a Friday night when he knows I am dying to paint.
He spiffies the house extra nicely so I can throw a baby shower or host a party, or have women over to paint. (Right now he is scrubbing the dishes so I can compose this post –oh the guilt). He doesn’t flinch when I spend money on a class, a workshop, a trip, or a cause I believe in. He’s wound up cutting many a wedding cake, and re-sewn many a pesky seam when I’ve gotten too frustrated with a sewing project; all this to let me feel the joy of accomplishment, the happiness of experience, and fulfillment from using my skills.
He’s not beholden to my beckon bidding, some obsequious follower. He’s the one who stands behind me and spots me when I get ready to jump. This is an important distinction.
He works behind the scenes making ME happen. Me, Leslie, the woman, the individual. He sacrifices things he’d rather be doing for my joy. He gives me the courage to jump, to take risks, to lose the self conscious fear, knowing he’ll always catch me and applaud my attempts no matter the outcome.
His example has taught me to love this way, to extend this love back to him, to our children, and to others.A personal love—born in serving, giving, and growing. A tribute to divine nature and individual worth. It’s not clipping their wings, putting them in a cage. Love is giving someone the gift of becoming their best self. It’s about letting them unfold into everything they can become.
So for all that I’ll accept the empty ice cream container on the counter, and the “sorry I’ll be late tonight”, and the absence of flowers and anniversary rings, knowing I have something the movies rarely show, something far more endearing and precious.
So tell me what do you know love to be? What people and experiences have expanded your understanding and definition of love? What powerful demonstrations or aspects of love have you experienced?