I didn’t tell her enough how much I appreciate everything she does, especially when I have found myself in a complete emotional shut down because of depression.
The holiday season is upon us once again, and men all over the country are scrambling to decide the perfect gift for their wives. Is it the year for jewelry? A new car? How about that new vacuum she’s been talking about? Here’s a big hint, it’s never the vacuum! As we rush to the store on December 23rd to buy whatever it is, we again tell ourselves that next year will be different. We make a mental note that in the future we will put more effort into gift giving, and really listen and know what it is she wants.
We never do.
We complain about all the dates we have to remember, the birthday, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, wedding anniversary, first date, first I love you, and countless others. When we do remember any of these we feel a sense of accomplishment and that perhaps we may very well be the most perfect man in the entire world. That no matter what happens for the next few weeks, you get a pass because you remembered that on this date fourteen years ago you took her to Long John Silvers!
I remember almost every gift I have ever given my wife. I remember some that were big hits and others that I definitely should have put more thought into. It’s funny though that I fail to remember the gifts I give her that she doesn’t deserve. The little nuggets that I am often far too willing to bring to her, the things that she never asks for but receives anyway. Precious little gems that have a much longer lasting impact than I could have ever imagined.
1. My Ungratefulness—My wife does more for me than anyone else on this planet has or ever will. She takes care of almost every need I have on a daily basis. I am not simply speaking of the tangible things, like clean clothes or making the bed. It also includes a shoulder to lean on when I have had a rough couple of days. Encouragement when I feel like I have reached the end of my capabilities, and more faith in me than I have in myself. I don’t tell her enough how much I appreciate everything she does, especially when I have found myself in a complete emotional shut down because of depression. What she does deserve is for me to take notice of what an incredible source of support she is for me personally and my entire household.
2. My Vitriol—As I look back on arguments I have had with my wife in the past, I am ashamed of some of the things I have said to her. Somehow I found it easy to say the most hateful things I could to her–to be downright nasty to one person who has loved me more than I have ever loved myself. Often I would find myself not trying to win an argument, but to do the most damage with words that I could. Somehow in my backwards screwed up head, I thought that meant I had won. “If I just hurt her bad enough, she’ll shut up and leave me alone.” Even worse is sometimes it would take days for me to apologize, if I ever did at all. She has forgiven me more times than anyone deserves, and certainly more times than she should have.
3. My Spare Time—This has taken me longer to realize than I care to admit, but my inability to recognize when she needs to just spend time with me has been abhorrent. So many times I would put her off until I wasn’t busy, or until the kids were asleep, or until the game was over. An embarrassing number of times has she gone to bed without me, and I stayed up watching some mindless television program or surfing the web. My selfishness kept me from realizing that the most important project I should have been working on was the relationship with my wife. She deserved and still deserves the best I can offer her, not the scraps not the leftovers. Our life and love together have to come before just about anything else, and it didn’t.
Perfection is something we will never achieve, and it would probably make life boring anyway. What we can and should strive for is to be better today than yesterday, and when we make a mistake own it. I can’t go back and redo anything in the past; I can’t time travel and tell my past self what an idiot I was. The future self is the only one that has a chance. The relationship with our wives is supposed to last a lifetime; it’s supposed to be the one that endures until they put us on the ground.
Realizing that she is the most important person in our lives means we must recognize what she deserves, a husband who cares. I try not to make promises because that’s an easy way to make yourself a liar. What I can do is commit to making next year better day by day. She does deserve that, and so do I.
Photo: Flickr/ smile_kerry