Dear Young Women (either newly or currently unmarried), Lean in for some hard truths that will open your wide, pre-wife eyeballs and possibly blow your mind.
Here's how my husband is romantic and shows me his love after nearly 15 years together. Spoiler alert: It in no way resembles how I'd imagined it when I was in my 20s and still had my thoughts about romance mostly formed by movies and 90s after-school specials.
1. He remembers important things.
Okay, okay, if you've followed me for ANY amount of time it should be painfully obvious that I am the world's worst at being a girl. This mean my husband remembers things like anniversaries and birthdays while I trade off for me remembering allllll the appointments.
2. He trades me car positions on a curvy road.
This is important both because the opposite would result in me covering us both in vomit AND because it signals that he's the kind of guy who recognizes things that might make me more comfortable...and acts on them.
3. He knows how to order my coffee.
This is clutch both because coffee is basically the only good part of my morning most days AND because it shows me that he pays attention. I mean, I don't just drink plain black coffee. I'm not a wild animal!
4. He plans something to surprise me.
Here's the thing. We are both the WORST at keeping exciting secrets from each other. Seriously. We've maybe actually kept a surprise until it's intended reveal date twice in our almost 15 years. But the key here is that he PLANS it. I have to do nothing. Squat. Just pack and show up. And THAT, my young compadres, is the real gift.
5. He does the dishes.
This is pivotal for several reasons, the most prominent of which is that I not only do not have to do them myself but it also means I won't have threat level midnight anxiety over the current status of our sink at 1:47am while my brain is playing my typical endless loop of to-do's and un-done's.
6. He takes the kids places.
He is not their babysitter. He is their FATHER (for all the Karens in the back). And the best part is that sometimes he even takes the kids places without me. Bless the Lort and hallelujurrrr!!
I had a sinus infection all week and one evening I fed the kids and kissed my husband as he came home from work. He told me to lay on the couch for a few. I put on an audio book and the next thing I knew my 6:30am alarm was going off and I was somehow in our bed. Ladies...this is what we long-time marrieds call, "magic".
7. He carries the laundry.
And the groceries, the children, the trash cans, and basically anything else heavy and/or covered in something leaky that I just don't plan on touching. Ever.
8. He lets me sleep sometimes.
It might be when our kid wakes up with night terrors or on a random Saturday morning, but sometimes he lets me sleep. He lulls the kids, fixes coffee, and I am reminded of why I'm the luckiest.
9. He recognizes when I'm upset...and leaves me alone.
Admittedly, this one took him years to master because he understands emotions WAY better than I ever will. But he always knows when something is off with me and he speaks up. He lets me know that he's noticed and then reminds me that he has my back if I need anything...and then leaves me be so that I can talk when or if I become ready to share.
10. He still tells me I'm beautiful.
Early into dating I told him that if God ever smitted me with a daughter (which He obviously laughed hysterically as He did so), it would be my husband's sole responsibility to tell her how beautiful she was very single day of her life. Forever.
But he does that for me, most days, too. And not just when I wear makeup and real pants (thank goodness because we all know that's only twice a year), but when I first wake up or when I've been hiking all day. That's the stuff, young friends taking notes, because we are both painfully aware that I more closely resemble a dumpster fire than a flesh and blood woman.
Gorgeous young women, you are in your prime. Trust me on this. One day you will look back at a picture of you on this exact day and say to yourself, "Daaannnggg I WISH I looked like that day when I thought I was too fat/short/lanky/tall/slim/boney/doughy...whatever."
Any man should be grateful to share your time mad space. Never forget that.
Girl, find a man who will still strive to date you and show you romance like ours eleventy years later. It may not involve candles or heels but, get real, if you don't prefer Netflix and takeout over that garbage anyway, you've gotten lost in the internet because you aren't my people.
Romance doesn't always look the same over time. Neither is happiness identical from couple to couple. Find what makes you smile even when everything else seems totally insane. That's the sweet spot. Hold onto it.