I smiled to myself as my husband, Frank, handed me a bag of Hershey's Kisses from the grocery store shelf, then said, "Here, I think you need this for Valentine's Day." When I checked my e-mail a little later, he'd sent me an electronic postcard. Lo and behold, I could print out my own Valentine! That night, at a Sunday school party, when each husband presented his wife with a red carnation, Frank handed me the long-stemmed blossom with these romantic words: "Here's your flower." Obviously, my husband is romantically challenged—in the traditional sense. But rather than voice disappointment with Frank's practical, matter-of-fact Valentine, I told him (and myself) how blessed I am to be married to him.
I have to admit, there was a time when I longed to hear sweet nothings whispered in my ear. I yearned for original poems that spoke of undying love inspired by my inner beauty and winsome ways. I dreamed of a man who would serenade me with songs written just for me. But it just didn't happen. I wasn't married to that man. Twenty years after we said "I do," I've come to appreciate Frank's unique terms of endearment. And I've learned to redefine romance in terms of what my unromantic husband has taught me about love.
How love sounds. Songs, sonnets, and sentimentality can be delivered in an attitude of falseness. I've known men whose eloquent expressions were belied by their lack of commitment and faithfulness. My husband, Frank, has taught me that words such as faithful, committed, steady, trustworthy, dependable, and industrious can be synonymous with love. Frank's never effusive with compliments, but what he says is sincere. His simple words convey deep feeling.
How love acts. I no longer expect my husband to be just like me. We have opposite strengths. Creativity's my strength; Frank has a real knack for organization. While I might elect to take a "creative" route to our destination, Frank gets us there. While I'm looking for the perfect present for any occasion (or no occasion), Frank's planning for our future and providing a wonderful home, as well as the many extras we enjoy. But it's his character that's more important to me than his personality. While Frank does remember many special occasions with gifts or flowers, it's his integrity that's by far his most precious gift to me.
How love looks. The love Frank and I have for each other is characterized by our mutual respect and friendship. We're often asked if we're newlyweds because of the way we treat each other, speak to each other, and laugh together. We strive to practice common courtesies with each other. We often trade smiles and winks across the room. We stand together in crises and draw upon each other's strengths.