“My greatest gift in this life is being your wife.”
My husband smiled at my heartfelt words.
“Thank you, baby,” he replied. “That means a lot.”
My gift to him was appreciation, and his gift to me was every day. Every day he showed me his love for me in action.
You see, my husband didn’t buy me a Christmas gift this year.
About two weeks ago I had mentioned my thoughts to my husband as we drove back home from running errands.
“I thought perhaps we could not get each other Christmas gifts this year,” I suggested.
Then I presented the facts. We only had limited time before we packed up and headed over 500 miles away to visit family for Christmas. I’d be working twelve hours shifts, several in a row, right up until the day we left. We still had tons of shopping to do for family members. Yes, we are master procrastinators. Plus, let’s just be honest, funds were limited. Then there was the thing about not knowing what I wanted. I had considered what I might want, but I truly could think of nothing I needed! The past year of our lives had centered a lot around focusing on important things like time together, and less on piles of material possessions that meant very little. We had unloaded a lot of “stuff” before hitting the road to travel in an RV, and we loved how light we felt without all the unneeded junk.
“You know, we haven’t had time alone together since July. Maybe we could go on a date while we’re back home with family to babysit. That could be our Christmas gift to one another,” I proposed.
He was quick to answer, “I love it!”
After a few Christmas gatherings, and after seeing gifts other spouses gave one another, I thought about my nonexistent present last night.
I remember in a previous relationship him making a large income. He was always buying me jewelry, lots of diamonds and gold, plenty of expensive clothing, and pretty much anything I asked for. I also remember never feeling like I was pretty enough, or feeling like I wasn’t enough (period) for him. I lived consistently feeling like I wasn’t a gift to him, despite the presents he bought. For six years I lived like that. Stacked to the ceiling in stuff he gave me, but realizing I wasn’t loved.
Then I thought of my biological father. I remember when I was nineteen and I tried to reconnect with him. He took me to the mall, and he bought me $100 shoes and $100 jeans. I felt like he was trying to make up for the years lost, and I let him do it! I was nineteen, after all. But in the end $1000 shoes wouldn’t have made a difference. Many years later, after we had drifted apart again, I would look at those shoes in my closet and realize the presents didn’t matter. Presence did. I finally got rid of the shoes. But just today I talked to my Daddy who adopted me.
In my life, I have had plenty, and I have had little. Yet in all that experience I would trade all the possessions in the world in favor of true love and all that it entails. It was after these thoughts last night that I spoke my mind and heart to my husband before falling asleep.
“My greatest gift in this life is being your wife.”
From the moment I reconnected with my old boyfriend, who is now my husband, I never doubted his feelings. He would text me often just to say hello and let me know he cared. And this was back when texting wasn’t common and was in fact hard for us folks born in the 70’s and not quite in tune with the growing technology. Remember tapping through the number on the keypad to find the right letter?
He wasn’t a huge gift giver, even back then, but he was a huge giver of his love. His gifts of love came back then at a time when I needed them the most. After so much loss, he gave me all of his heart. Every single bit.
Even now, almost a decade married, three children later, with no doubt that we love one another, he hasn’t stopped showing me. Thank goodness texting has gotten easier.
Every day he gives me great gifts, gifts of his time, attention, and affection. He gives me the gift of listening to my concerns, the gift of being aware of my feelings, and sensitive to my needs. He gives me the gift of taking care of our home, serving me consistently, and modeling to our daughters how a man should treat his wife. He gives me the gift of respect, and he values my opinions. He gives me the gift of teaching our daughters, and of leading them to a closer walk with the Lord each day. Sure, he gives me the gift of a clean house and folded laundry, but he also gives me the gift of his everything. Every part of him belongs to me, and every part of me belongs to him. He inspires me to be a better person, and when I falter he is quick to forgive. He gives me compassion, realistic expectation, and so many compliments. So many compliments that I have no choice but to believe I am as beautiful as he says I am.
My husband didn’t buy me a Christmas present this year. Instead he gives me good gifts every single day. Each day I am married to him I grow to love him even more. Each day I feel more loved. Each day I see myself a bit more clearly through the rose-colored glasses of how he sees me, and each day I am more blessed to realize how special I am in his eyes. His affection is my daily gift, our partnership is my greatest present, and each day unwrapping the future of our continuing love story is better than anything mere money could buy.
But I am looking forward to that date!