Day 335: Weekly Article: Friendship in Marriage

October 18, 2012

For this act of love, I read this article from Focus on the Family on friendship in marriage. How important for a marriage is friendship and how important for a friendship is spending time together. Through 365 Acts of Love, we’ve developed the habit of spending our evenings together. Whether we’re watching something or reading or talking or cleaning, we’re intentional about being together and enjoying each other. I’m sure that this habit will pay great dividends in the years to come. It already has. Like C. S. Lewis said, “It is when we are doing things together that friendship springs up – painting, sailing ships, praying, philosophizing, and fighting shoulder to shoulder. Friends look in the same direction.”

The article warned against not nourishing and nurturing your friendship with your spouse. When people let the busyness of their lives get in the way of their relationship with their spouse, their friendship with their spouse can wane and the relationship becomes more like a business partnership. For us, I remember thinking of us as roommates. It’s in a situation like that that infidelity is apt to occur.

I’m glad that I’ve seen the importance of maintaining our friendship. It’s been beneficial for our family and relationship and it’s been a lot of fun.


Day 147: Your Valentine’s Dress

February 23, 2012

Yesterday you received a dress from Amazon that I secretly ordered for you for Saturday’s Valentine’s date. I was curious to see your reaction because you almost never like the clothes I pick for you. You opened the package, pulled out the dress, and shrieked with delight. So far, so good. But—and this unnerved me—you smiled nervously when you tried it on. “Do you like it?” I asked. “Yeah,” you replied hesitantly. “Oh, man. I wonder if Amazon does returns,” I thought. “Tell me the truth. Do you like it?” “No.” So, we sent the dress back having found that Amazon does returns and ordered the dress of your choosing with two-day shipping (thanks, Amazon Prime!). Here’s the one you chose:

I’m not putting up a picture of the dress I originally bought in case it’s truly hideous.

Ideally, I wanted to surprise you by showing you the original dress for the first time on Saturday. But that seemed too risky: I knew that you’d wear the dress whether you liked it or not if I gave it to you then. And I didn’t want that. Oh, well. The date’s still going to be great!


Day 110: Coffee Card

January 17, 2012

Per my commitment on day 107, I brought back the wildly popular five-dollar coffee card yesterday. Each time I’ve bought you coffee or a coffee card through 365, you’ve showered me with gratitude and affection. Last night was no different.

I needed to do some work after dinner, so I went to my office. Afterwards, I stopped by Starbucks and bought you a five-dollar coffee card and grabbed an empty coffee cup. I put the card in the cup, then came home. When you answered the door, I said, “I know how much you like Starbucks, so I brought you this paper Starbucks cup for you to put coffee in. Do you want me to make you some right now?” “Oh, thanks! I’ll use it for the hot chocolate I just made,” you replied with a comically exaggerated smile. I handed you the cup. You saw the card and shrieked, jumped up and down, and flung your arms around me, hugging me tightly.


Day 109: A Rose

January 16, 2012

For my second act (of the acts you seemed to most enjoy from the first 100 days—see day 107), I gave you a white rose. You certainly enjoy your weekly flowers, but you’ve come to expect them (which isn’t a bad thing). So I wanted to surprise you by bringing you a flower I don’t usually bring on a day you don’t usually get flowers.

With the rose, I wanted to give you a line of poetry written by me (which is something I haven’t done before through 365). Nothing big, just a single line of poetry. I spent a bit of time while doing chores trying to think of something nice, something elegant. I’m definitely not a poet, so I wasn’t expecting Pushkin-quality writing. But everything I came up with smacked of sappiness. So, I started over and embraced and even exaggerated the sappiness. Here’s what I gave you:

Less beautiful is this here rose,
Than either of your little toes,
And when I look upon your knee,
I’m filled with rapture and with glee,
No elbows found in all the land,
Are finer, neater, or more grand,
And if one looks upon your chin,
His adoration does begin,
No man nor child would hesitate,
Your uvula to adulate,
No waterscape with moonlit sand,
Could rival your pineal gland,
Your ears do strike each passerby
As prettier than earth and sky,
So all in all, you see, my dear,
You’re beautiful from toe to ear.

PS: Perhaps the world’s not ready for my poetic genius.


Day 108: Back Massage

January 16, 2012

On day 107, I decided that, for the next week, I would commit the kinds of acts from the first 100 days that you liked best. Well, I’m starting a day early. My first act was a back massage. You practically beg me to give you these, so I almost can’t go wrong by complying.

Sometimes, I know you have a certain need, but I’m not sure how to meet it or I know how to meet it but don’t have the right resources to meet it. Meeting your need for a back massage is so straightforward and easy. I love it!


Day 107: Meeting Your Needs

January 14, 2012

Months back, you asked me to go through my tools to get rid of the ones that were no longer usable. I put off doing it for so long that you stopped mentioning it. So, yesterday, I decided to get it done. You were relieved that I finally did it, but still didn’t understand why it took me so long. I’ll tell you why—utter laziness, which stems from self-centeredness

I committed this act because I’ve been thinking lately about how I put a bunch of time into this blog and into committing acts of love for you, but I put off doing certain things that you want me to do. (I don’t put stuff off at work. So my procrastination seems very selective.)

Then I started wondering (thanks to this blog) whether or not the acts I commit through 365 fulfill your needs. Here’s a (fictional) example: if you really need me to spend time with you and you don’t care for gifts, but I neglect my time with you to buy or make you gifts, then I’m not loving you very effectively.

In light of this, I asked you the other night whether or not I’m meeting your needs. You said you feel completely satisfied with how I’m showing you love and with our relationship. Great! Still, I decided that this next week, I’m going to commit those kinds of acts from the first 100 days that you seemed to like best (starts Sunday, ends Saturday). In addition, I’m going ask you to make a list of the things you want me to do around the house or whatever. I’ll work on completing that list.


Day 106: S’mores and Stars

January 13, 2012

Last night, I asked you if you wanted to roast marshmallows and look at the stars from our backyard. You said you very much wanted to and even called me a fun person. That made me feel great

I took our daughters to the store to get marshmallows and graham crackers for s’mores. (We didn’t buy chocolate because we already had some (we always have chocolate).) This gave you a small break, which is what I intended. When we came home, I fired up the grill and set up some chairs for our fun evening put on by a fun person (me!).

And how fun and perfect it was. The girls ran around the backyard eating their s’mores as we snuggled up together on a chair and looked at the stars. Even though the viewable stars were few, we could still see the Big Dipper and were still in awe of our big universe.

Here is my honest, albeit cornball reflection on last night. Whenever I look at the stars, I’m driven to consider life and meaning and my own (in)significance. While the universe is dark and vast, and the prospect of finding my way in it seems daunting, I’m comforted to know that the one who made the universe lights my way and you, my friend, are holding my hand.


Day 105: Ecard

January 12, 2012

For my 105th act of love, I sent an ecard to your email account that says I love you and hope you have a good day.

On another note, I’m glad our relationship’s changed for the better because work is getting really stressful and will be continually stressful for a while. Before 365, stress at work resulted in discord in our home. Now, stress at work results in unity. Instead of taking my stress out on you, I look (in part) to you for support, encouragement, and comfort. And you provide it. Of course, there has been some tension in our home since work’s gotten more stressful, but it’s not as great as it would’ve been before 365.

PS: You just walked through the room, but didn’t see what I was doing. It’s likely you’ll find out about this blog before it’s finished, but I’ll work hard to make sure that doesn’t happen.


Day 104: Our Wedding Video

January 11, 2012

After we put the girls to bed last night, I popped some popcorn and threw our wedding video into the DVD player. When we were about to start watching it, we heard our girls talking upstairs in their beds. We agreed that, though it might be fun to snuggle up together alone while watching our wedding video, it might be just as fun (more fun?) to show the video to our girls. So we called them down and enjoyed it as a family.

While watching the video, you kept smiling at me while holding and rubbing my hand. Afterwards, when the girls were in bed, you hugged me and told me you’re glad you married me. For a while, you wouldn’t let go of me and kept repeating what you said. I’m so glad I married you too.

I said I would maybe talk more about Keller’s book, so here’s a great quote from it:

Our culture says that feelings of love are the basis for actions of love. And of course that can be true. But it is truer to say that actions of love can lead consistently to feelings of love. Love between two people must not, in the end, be identified simply with emotion or merely with dutiful action. Married love is a symbiotic, complex mixture of both. Having said this, it is important to observe that of the two—emotion and action—it is the latter that we have the most control over. It is the action of love that we can promise to maintain every day (103).


Day 103: A Simple Act

January 10, 2012

In my effort to tone down my acts of love (for now) so as not to overwhelm you, I committed a very simple act yesterday: I gave you a long hug and told you that I love you and I’m glad I married you. You very much enjoyed that act of love and reciprocated my words of affirmation with your own. Though my big acts of love are great memory makers for us, I think you enjoy the little acts of love almost, if not just, as much.