Rolondo Talbott showers is wife with affection and doesn’t care if people think he’s cheesy for doing so.
When my wife and I first started dating in college, our friends would always make these comments about how “cheesy” I was when talking about our relationship. I remember being offended by this term, assuming they meant something derogatory towards the way I showed affection towards my then girlfriend.
I associated the term “cheesy” with being insincere or mendacious, because that was how I’d always meant it. As a result, I became very reluctant about being open about, and sharing our relationship with friends. But, as the years went by and I still found myself being referred to as the “cheesy husband,” I decided to rehab my attitude towards the adjective.
Rather than being offended, I became curious. What made me “cheesy” in their eyes, and what did they mean by it? I set out to find the answers by questioning our friends, and what I found was truly enlightening:
1. Telling her that she’s in my thoughts.
While dating, I recall having these moments when I couldn’t stop thinking about her, our next date, how her day was going – all that mushy stuff. But rather than just think about her, I made a point of letting her know I was thinking about her. Whether it was sending her a note, giving her a call, or communicating via pagers (we’re old, I know), I wanted her to know that her well-being was very important to me.
Fast-forward many years and two kids later, and I still find myself having those moments where I am wondering how her day is going, whether she is taking enough breaks, and if she had a good lunch. My “cheesy” actions are the same as they were many years ago, except now I give her a quick text to let her know that I am thinking about her and that she is on my mind.
2. Anticipating her needs.
For nearly our entire marriage of 14 years and counting, many people have been confused about why I bring my wife coffee in the morning, right when she wakes up. I don’t know what to tell them, it’s just my “thing.” I don’t really recall why I even started doing it, but I am sure it had something to do with just wanting her to start her day in the best way possible.
When we were newlyweds, I would try to get a feel for what her schedule would be like the following day, in order to anticipate the time she needed to wake up and the amount of time she needed to get ready. Now that we have children, I do whatever I can to make sure the kids are taken care of, which alleviates the morning stress on all of us — but after I bring that first cup of coffee.
3. Being vulnerable and exploring my creative side.
Although I have always had a passion for writing, baring my soul in the form of poetry was a step I had always feared taking — but that is exactly what, and why, I did. I took a step outside of my comfort zone and started writing poetry for her and about her. As time progressed and I became more confident in my abilities, I began to publish my poems and incorporated them into gifts. She appreciated how vulnerable I was willing to make myself, and I found a new outlet to express my cheesy love.
4. Reliving the past.
After being together for so long, taking a walk down memory lane has always been cathartic in the way that it encourages us to remember the origins of our relationship. I’ve gone old school by creating mixtapes of songs we danced to while we were dating. I’ve also dug up old photos of us and made them into keepsakes. But lately, we have started taking our children to some of the places we frequented in college, which is truly special since they too get a glimpse of how our relationship began.
5. Embracing non-traditional roles.
For me, nothing is more satisfying than coming home from a long day and not finding the house in a state of chaos. I grew up in an era where my dad would come home from work, the house would be clean, dinner was ready, the kids were bathed, and there was nothing left for him to do but enjoy the evening.
Nowadays, things have changed. Since I value that satisfying feeling of coming home to peace, I strive to do the same for my wife. On those occasion when I get home before she does, I take that opportunity to vacuum the entire house (my signature move), wash any dishes, and, time permitting, have the kids bathed and ready to have some quality family time.
Over the years, I have learned to embrace being a “Cheesy Husband” and wear the term as a badge of honor. What I have come to realize is that we are all “cheesy” in our own sort of way. And being cheesy benefits the one the “cheese” is being bestowed upon.
I am the way I am because I genuinely believe that my wife deserves to be treated this way. She deserves to know how much she means to me, to have her needs anticipated, for me to be vulnerable with her, to remember the good old days, and to just be with me.
So embrace your cheesiness – your spouse deserves it!
Originally appeared at Babble.com