Every Valentine’s Day, Scott and I stay home.
It started when we were newly weds and didn’t have much money to spend on a nice dinner out. We decided to grill some steaks, pop in some baked potatoes, and toss a nice salad that first year in our cozy little apartment and the tradition stuck. As the years went on, our bank account had more money in it but our house also had more kids in it so the Valentine’s dinner at home stayed. It fit with our life back then and it still fits now.
It might sound disappointing, our little dinner at home but actually it’s perfect for us. I set the table with our fine china for Scott and I and Monster’s University dishes for the kids. We play the songs that Scott put on a Mix CD for me when we were dating on Spotify and eat by candlelight. We enjoy good food and celebrate our love and the life we are building and all the while, I can stay in my slippers. That’s the dream, girls.
Seriously though, it is.
As the years go by and Valentine’s Days pass faster than Cupid’s arrows, I realize just how special, how romantic, how precious these simple celebrations are. They’re special to me because they are the best we can do with the season of life we’re in. And we celebrate that.
There are those special nights throughout the year when we get to dress up and hit the town but, for some reason, we’ve chosen not to make Valentine’s Day that. And the juxtaposition of our kid-filled, comfortable, easy night at home with the largess of Valentine’s Day is beautiful to me. Every year on Valentine’s Day, I’m reminded that our love is the most obvious in the ordinary.
In our marriage, the moments that speak the loudest to me are the little every day things. When we tuck our kids into bed together or when we sit at the kitchen table and try as hard as we can to tell each other about our days while Annabelle yells indiscernible sounds for more food and Judah tells me that his broccoli is too crunchy. I fall in love with my husband more every Saturday when he vacuums and mops the floors or the evenings that he wrestles with our son. Our love grows and fills and takes over our home while we stand side by side and set our hands to build this life we dream of. Together.
That’s what I’ve learned about marriage these last six and half years. The best moments, the ones where your heart swells with love till you think it might burst, are not the Hollywood-like dates (we’ve had a few of those) or the times when everything is perfect. The best moments, the ones where I fall in love with my husband all over again, are the ones that are just woven into our day. Like Valentine’s Day at our kitchen table.
“A bowl of vegetables with someone you love is better than steak with someone you hate.” Proverbs 15:17 NLT
I’ve had to learn to look for these though, to tune my heart to the music of The Everyday. The song that plays in the background of our lives is filled with romance if we would only listen. It might change through different seasons, sometimes it’s frantic and busy like jazz, other times it’s sad like the blues, in some seasons it’s slow and steady like a perfect slow-dance song and in others, it sounds a lot like “Celebrate Good Times, Come On!”. What I’m learning is that a good marriage lets that music of The Everyday play and play loudly enough to dance to.
What season are you in right now? Maybe you’re a newly wed or maybe you’re an empty nester. Whatever it is, embrace it. Grab the hand of the person you chose and listen closely. Do you hear that? That’s the life you’ve made together. You two, as a team, with the great, great help of our God made that sound. And I promise you, even if it’s crazy, there’s music to that sound. That’s romantic.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor” Ecclesiastes 4:9 NIV
When it’s all said and done, the roses die, the chocolates get eaten, and Valentine’s Day will come and go. But the romance does not. It’s there, in the life that is unfolding at the hands of the two of you. The big nights like Valentine’s Day are fun but the beauty of marriage is that the real romance and love is found in the depths of day upon day and year upon piling up on top of each other like pages in a book. And just like in a book, the average words are just as important to the story as the big, fancy ones. Find the music, the love, the romance in the page that you’re on now even if it means toasting Valentine’s Day with sippy cups of chocolate milk. Embrace it and find joy in it.