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Of the 22 Valentine’s Days that hubby and I have celebrated together, this year was by far the most romantic.
Our first Valentine’s Day was spent in a snowstorm, without electricity, in a smelly cow barn complete with cow patties underfoot.
Since then, it’s been pretty much downhill.
On our first married Valentine’s Day we were too poor to splurge on a restaurant, so I made a special dinner of Chicken Tonight.
While dinner was simmering on the stove, we flipped on the local news and watched a segment showing a dead rat in a skillet, covered in sauce.
It slid right out of some poor, unsuspecting woman’s jar of Chicken Tonight.
I don’t think you’ll find that particular product on the shelves anymore.
I’ve spent Valentine’s Day waiting for hours in an unheated van while hubby made emergency HVAC service calls.
I’ve spent more than one Valentine’s Day sitting on the sidelines of a bluegrass jam. And one year we spent the lover’s holiday thousands of miles apart.
Last week I attended a training conference on Biblical counseling.
I learned an incredible amount of information that will help me help others, but I also learned a lot of stuff that I can apply to my own life.
One session I found particularly helpful was on the subject of marriage. I was so inspired that I bought a recording of the session, and asked hubby if he would listen to it with me on Valentine’s Day.
Amazingly, he agreed.
He probably figured it couldn’t be any worse than standing in a heap of cow manure or eating rat infested chicken sauce.
The speaker began by telling a story about how his wife is always late, and how he has made many unkind remarks to her about it.
I sheepishly admitted to hubby that this was the first time I’d heard that story because I was actually late to the session.
Needless to say, the speaker’s words hit home in many areas.
Afterwards, we grabbed a pen and notebook and headed to our favorite restaurant, Parky’s Smokehouse.
We spent a couple of hours setting some goals, discussing the future and arranging the calendar.
Then we laughed and chatted while enjoying fried mushrooms and Buffalo wraps.
Our time spent together was sweeter than the Comfort Bread Pudding.
As we walked to the car, hand in hand, I had a flickering thought that maybe hubby would open my door even though I usually have to be in labor or wearing a tiara for that sort of special treatment.
I didn’t meet either of those criteria, so it was a no go.
I had just settled into my seat when hubby said with a certain amount of flair, “Whew! That’s a bad one!”
Almost immediately the nasty smell wafted up my nostrils.
“Really?” I inquired. “You couldn’t have done that outside?”
He laughed, “I couldn’t help it. It just sort of snuck up on me when I was getting into the car.”
I hesitated. Continuing the discussion would mean having to breathe more, and I wasn’t sure it was worth it.
Finally, I pulled my scarf away from my nose just long enough to say, “You know, if you had opened my door, that would have happened while you were still outside.”
“Well, you have a point there,” he snickered, “but this is so bad it probably would have followed me into the car.”
How is it you can be so deeply in love with someone one moment and then the next you are thinking about starting an all-out war over something that is going to dissipate much faster than the conversation itself?
In a matter of seconds I could have convinced myself that if he really loved me he would have remembered how much I like it when he opens my car door.
If he really loved me he would apologize for irritating me instead of joking about it. If he really loved me he would want me to breathe fresh air.
But then I remembered the new definition I learned at my conference: “Love is willing self-sacrifice for the good of another, that does not demand reciprocation, or that the person being loved is deserving.”
Obviously, his need to relieve painful gas pressure was much greater than my need for a rosy smelling vehicle.
And he had sacrificed his desire to go to a movie in order to indulge my desire to listen to a CD lecture on marriage.
So, I decided to forego that silly argument that was stewing around in my brain, and enjoy every minute of a Valentine’s Day that, in spite of it all, still smelled considerably better than our first.
Ginger is an author, speaker, and mother of five. Her award-winning column appears weekly in Indiana and Kentucky. Contact her at
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit
www.gingertruitt.com. The views expressed in this column are those of the writer.