Love means keeping your mouth shut sometimes

Today I was looking through Valentine's Day ideas over at Martha Stewart and getting all excited about the possibilities. ("Why yes, I COULD make GH a special breakfast with a heart-shaped UFO, I could!") And then the second thought: "Huh. Except I could have been doing that any time, though, not just on Valentine's Day. Why haven't I been doing that? When was the last time I did something like that?"

And then take GH. He has always been the most thoughtful of men. Even when we weren't dating, he would do things like leave Toblerone chocolates on the hood of my car and cut out articles about Ioan Gruffudd from his Entertainment Weekly for me (I KNOW, RIGHT???). But lately there hasn't been a whole lot of those sorts of surprises.

I thought about it and have come to the conclusion that the thoughtfulness muscles are still getting used by both of us, they're just getting used in some different ways now. It's a little bit more about what we're NOT doing.

Like on the mornings when GH remembers not to wake me up in startling ways that are likely to get him killed (say, by turning lights on or dropping clothes on my face).

And the mornings when I remember not to get within 3 feet of his face without popping a breath mint first.

Or when GH does not complain about the deathly, deathly touch of my ice-cold hands and feet, particularly when he's trying to sleep.

Also all the times I refrain from commenting on his apparent inability to place a fresh roll of toilet paper on the dispenser. (Ask me about the time I found a soggy brand-new roll of toilet paper in the bottom of our shower because it had been left on the side of the tub. Not that I'll be able to discuss it on account of I'm One Who Refrains from Commenting.)

GH, in turn, doesn't say anything when I forget that I started a load of laundry three days ago and have done nothing to it since and all of our clothes are now rotting and producing mutated mold creatures that will rise up and kill us while we sleep.

I have stopped mentioning the peanut-butter-and-jelly-smeared knife he leaves on the kitchen counter after his post-work-before-bed snack. I now just pick it up and set it in the sink.

Nor does he comment much on my habit of spreading my knitting gear all over the couch so that it's impossible and often dangerous to sit down. (He did, however, have words the time he found scissors in his side of the bed.)

Note: Is anyone getting a (very correct) sense of the kind of death trap we live in? I promise we straighten up before company comes over--sometimes with the speed, guilt, and frantic nature of criminals trying to hide hard drugs and kiddie porn.

So it's kind of no wonder that the little thoughtful spontaneous gestures have taken a bit of a back seat--we're already working on quite a lot, and it turns out that it takes a bit of energy to not do or say something that just doesn't need to be said or done. (GH is much better at this than I am, by the way.) But I still really love me a thoughtful spontaneous gesture, so I'm going to see if we can't start working those back into the routine.


april said... [reply]

good - not a post about weather so i feel safe in commenting (especially since it's still nice here, but don't worry we have plenty of snow and cold ahead of us - the groundhog did see his shadow, did he not?)

first off, you're so right about this love = keeping your mouth shut stuff (and yes, my husband is better at it too). i just have to say that whenever i have a toddler in my home, i stop putting the toilet paper on the holder. (telling my baby no to spinning all the toilet paper off while going to the bathroom just isn't my cup of tea.) anyhoo, i always have to smile at how many of my guests/friends will "hang" the roll back up (to which i just take it off). FYI - in general, i'm all for free easy rolling toilet

one valentine's day, my husband's brother jokingly asked about my husband expressing his love for me or something to that effect. i told him that my husband knows how to write a good love letter (he was on study abroad for some of our engagement), but we both had mellowed over the years. my husband overheard and for years now has written me a love letter everytime he goes on a business trip. i know, i know, so sweet.

JustMe said... [reply]

My husband has never been big on Valentine's Day - and I'm pretty much okay with that. However, last year he bought some red heart stickers, a box of children's valentines, and a package of rollo candy. I found them all over my house - a little card with a rollo in front of it. MADE my day!

He shows his love all year by the things he does - repainting the bathroom 3 times because I hated the color - buying my favorite plant for the yard - and telling me his favorite part of the day is when he gets into bed each night and can hold me.

Cafe Johnsonia said... [reply]

You've perfectly described the first year or two of marriage.

For me it was the cheese knife. And turning dirty sock inside out and then mating them and then putting them in the laundry. (Which he still does, but I no longer turn them right-side out.)

For him it's my incessant talking and changing subjects mid-conversation.

There should be a conference talk with the same title as this post. :)

Jill said... [reply]

I think I need to get better about this too!! And I'm a HUGE fan of choosing your battles :)

Audra said... [reply]

Great post! Lasy V-day I did a ton of stuff for Levi. I got a card. But he does sweet stuff for me all through the year. Like he always gives me the last bite if we are eating something yummy! That's love!

Jonathon said... [reply]

"You've perfectly described the first year or two of marriage."

Or the fifth or sixth year, for that matter.

Janet said... [reply]

"I promise we straighten up before company comes over--sometimes with the speed, guilt, and frantic nature of criminals trying to hide hard drugs and kiddie porn."

There's a great old English word for that: Scurryfunge. I do that a lot *nods*

Thanks for the blog btw, I forget how I stumbled across it, but I've been lurking round and enjoying it for a while :)

Nemesis said... [reply]

April, I would totally be one of the guests replacing the roll, thinking I was helping.

JustMe, your husband sounds like a sweetheart.

Cafe Johnsonia, what's this about mating socks in the washing machine? I have never heard of this thing, please share your trick. (Is that how they multiply??)

Jill, I could be better about battle-choosing. Especially on the hormonal-type days when suddenly EVERYTHING deserves a fight to the death.

Nemesis said... [reply]

Audra, that IS love. The other day I had a piece of triple-chocolate mousse from this SLC bakery (courtesy of my sister Jenny) and GH forfieted his half because he knew how much more I wanted it. LOVE, baby.

Jonathon, are you saying it never gets easier to ignore stuff? Great . . .

Janet, you have blessed my life by bringing the word "scurryfunge" into it. I thank you!

Anonymous said... [reply]

I have three words for you: Bin of Shame! Rubbermaid should market my brilliant idea. The Bin of Shame prevents Scurryfunge.

My significant other and I always know where to look for that lost item. Problem is when we get too many projects going on and the doorbell rings we have to resort to the "Room of Shame" which is actually shameful.

Audra said... [reply]

Oh and one more thing I meant to mention. If you do google analytics you should see if you get a lot more hits on this post than normal because you used the phrase "kiddie porn" and "hard drugs". If so, you will know a bunch of sickos or druggies were letting their sick yucky eyes scan your blog thinking "Why did typing 'Kiddie Porn' lead to this librarian's web site?"

Elsha said... [reply]

Ah yes. You've got to pick your battles. I'm usually pretty good about that. I attribute it to being lazy. Fighting=Work and Me=Lazy.

Plus, it's much more fun to tease my husband about the fact that he loads the dishwasher a different way Every. Single. Time. than to fight about it. And whenever I want to be annoyed that our wedding seems to have eliminated his memory of how to use the washer and dryer (despite having to do it while he lived on his own for 6 years) I just remember that he does ALL the floor cleaning.

Melanie said... [reply]

Thank you thank you thank you for a newlywed love and romance post that is not saccharine-sweet. I truly am happy for my friends that have found the love of their life (not sure how to correctly pluralize that), but really, I have no interest in reading about how life is just an extension of the honeymoon in EVERY SINGLE blog post. Thanks for giving a "voice of reason" to the first year of marriage.

chosha said... [reply]

Oh won't you please write a novel one day?

Love is in the everyday, no question.

Nemesis said... [reply]

Anon, I quite like the Bin of Shame idea! I've heard of moms using such a bin to gather up clutter and then they take the contents to DI at the end of the week if their owners have not retrieved them. (Our bedroom functions as the general Shame Repository when company comes over.)

Audra, I can only hope I attract such classy, classy people.

Elsha, good call on the floor cleaning tradeoff. Good call.

Melanie, thanks so much for the compliment! I do what I can. :-)

Chosha, what should my novel be about? If you can give me an idea I'll get started right away!

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