How Do You Measure Love?

February 13, 2015





Yesterday was my anniversary. I have been married for twenty one years and I got two bushels of tulips and a box of Mallowmars. I posted a picture of my wedded treasure on the Exquisitely Unremarkable Facebook page and received tons of likes and lovely comments from people wishing us a fabulous day. It was nice.

Then one of my friends asked me, "But what are you really doing for your anniversary?"

Huh. Until she said it, it never dawned on me that there should be more.  Now, as I revisited the comments, I found myself wondering how many other people were really thinking, "That's it?  She all excited about fourteen tulips and a box of cookies for twenty one years together?"

I know, I'm a cynic.

It's terrible, but after all I'm used to watching grand gestures of love scroll by in my personal feed. Flowery declarations from husbands to wives and vice versa, photos from sandy destinations both near and far and of course, the big sparkle. Grand celebrations of adoration for all to see. In comparison, I'm sure that my grocery store offerings don't seem like much.

They don't measure up.

Or do they? I guess the answer depends on how you measure love?

I remember being on the nursery school playground when the talk was about whose husband showed up with a car or giant diamond for some occasion. Well, they fight a lot, we were told, so this is his way of making up for it. It was apparently a very common story in my neck of the woods. The argument was that they had a good marriage, because regardless of his behavior the rest of the year, that gift proved that he loved her.

Really?

I would just rather have a guy who is nice to me every day, instead of angst filled months punctuated by some annual mea culpa and I have always told my husband that...even though truth be told, it was never necessary.

He's a nice guy.

We met at thirteen at a roller skating rink. We were just friends, albeit smitten with each other, until we were twenty one. Over the years, we both dated other people. I went to black tie affairs and stellar restaurants with guys in fancy cars. I received expensive bouquets, delivered to my office, making all my coworkers swoon...and I was generally very unimpressed.

Yet, sitting on the curb outside my home, on a random Wednesday evening, with my future husband, then just my friend, laughing and tossing pebbles into the street, I could barely catch my breath. The moon was brighter, the air was clearer and no ballroom could have been more elegant. When it was time for him to go, however, the magic went with him and I was just alone in my dirty driveway. Had he left me with some expensive gift, I am sure I would've been thrilled, but I still would've preferred to have him back with me.

It wasn't gifts that made me love him.

I said yes, to a proposal that did not include a ring. Neither one of us had a dime and after four years of dating and a million years of friendship, we didn't want to wait for a diamond to start our life together.

My mom gave us my grandmother's rings. They were tiny, dull, worn and, while fashionable in the 1920's and considered vintage today, they were definitely not in style back in the early 90's. Most of my girlfriends just smiled at me, almost in sympathy. It was not the 1-2 carat Tiffany setting they had. My rings did not measure up and clearly, I was not marrying very well.




As the years have passed, my husband has presented me with other rings, gorgeous rings for random anniversaries and such. Never once have I thought of replacing my original bands. They represent our beginning, our commitment. However, I also wear them all, old and new, with the understanding that they are not us. They don't represent how well I married or what we have together. They are merely things and no matter how big or small they are, they do not measure our love.

So how do I measure our love?

Well, the fact that my husband gets up every day at the crack of dawn, to go to work to provide for us and keep me home with our kids is love. The fact that he comes home to me every night is love. The way he dotes on his children is love, the way warms up my car, makes me dinner on the weekends, rubs my feet when I plop them on his lap every single evening without a groan, that is love.

They way that my husband, who had no interest in flowers, knows that cheap tulips (because they'll all be dead in week anyway) are my favorite is love...




...and the fact that he stopped at the grocery store on the way home from driving eight hours in one day for a business trip, when I told him in no uncertain terms that I did not need anything for my anniversary, to pick me up a box of Mallowmars ~ "the greatest cookie of all time" according to me and Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally ~ that is love.

And recognizing all of those little things, no matter how unglamorous they may seem to others, is how I measure it.

Well, that and whatever the scale says next week after I finish that entire box of cookies.

Because there's no way I'm sharing.

How do you measure love?





Sign up for email posts and follow the fun ~

Tips, Tricks, Crafts and Giggles delivered straight to you!







   

53 comments:

  1. Pay no attention to what others say. You have it right! This post is one awesome Valentine/Anniversary gift to your husband. Show it to him. I only wish my husband would be as thoughtful. He doesn't do flowers. He says if you can't eat it, drink it, or wear it, it's a waste. Well, I don't want or need anything to wear but I sure would love some flowers.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Someone you can comfortably grow old with is what you have my dear!! We married going on 43 years ago...and someone who loves you the way your hubby does is a jewel!! NO matter what anyone else thinks!! I am not into gifts either. I will take the good treatment over any other gift on earth!! I would think most women would, given a choice. What do we have if not relationship and friendship anyway? Passion is good too but when you reach the age that causes a lot less of that...better hope that the friendship, respect and rest of love endures yet!! I think you have it all!! Congratulations and best wishes for a very long life together!! Wow, loved him since age 13...that is something!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. In a fashion very similar to you. Only you said it much more elequently that I could, so I'll leave it there.

    Happy Anniversary! (And I LOVE your grandmother's rings! No Tiffany setting for me!)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you, Nancy! <3 It really is the simple things...

    ReplyDelete
  5. Kim, Happy Anniversary to a lovely couple, you deserve it. Love cannot be measured by the depth of the ocean nor the tallest mountain. I have to admit, however, diamonds are this girls best friend. Marcy

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you so much, Elizabeth. What a wonderfully sweet and thoughtful comment. I think I'm a bit misty. 43 years is quite a long time and you're right, without friendship, what is marriage anyway? I wish you and your hubby a wonderful Valentine's Day! :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks Kathleen! I actually read it to him before I posted to make sure he was ok with me sharing something personal and he said hit publish! He's usually not a flower type of guy, so I buy them for myself! Ha! I buy what's cheap and forgo the cookies! ;) Happy Valentine's Day!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh Marcy, you just made me laugh!! I agree 100%! I own no other stones! My husband always wants to buy me a sapphire, but I tell him I'm a simple girl, I only like the clear sparkle of diamonds. ;) Happy Valentine's Day my friend!

    ReplyDelete
  9. You are a lucky lady, Kim, and he is a lucky man, for I'm sure you do just as much to show your love and appreciation for him, too. Yes, it's all those every day doings, routines, even, with which we can measure love, even though yours seems endless.

    Happy Valentine's Day!

    Poppy

    ReplyDelete
  10. Your words are always just right, Poppy. You have a gift. Thank you and Happy Valentine's Day! :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Happy Anniversary! I measure love the same way you do Kim and we are both lucky to have such wonderful men. You found your true love early on while it took me 41 years. I knew it after our first date. I was smitten like never before. We have been married for 9 years and the last 4 years I have been disabled to the point I can't go outside or do things for myself much more than pop a dinner in the microwave and play with my art and yet he does everything he can for me, never begrudging any of it other than he wishes I was well so that I wasn't in pain. He has to work more because I am home and my medical bills and meds are crazy expensive. This morning he called and said for Valentines I could do some online shopping giving me an amount. Then texting me later with a higher amount. Then later calling and adding more, lol. I told him I don't love him for his money. He said he knew that and that is why he likes to give it to me. Oh I spent it and he knew I would. I can't turn down art supplies ever. Happy Valentine's Day to you and your love!

    ReplyDelete
  12. In April my husband and I will be together 46 years and in September married for 44. After all these years I measure his love by him saying honey do you want another cup of coffee or if he goes to the store and remembers something I said I needed but forgot to get when I went before. After all of these years together I love him more than ever and love spending time with each other. The other things are just that THINGS and they don't mean anything. Enjoy your hubby and Happy Anniversary.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Good evening, Kim! I LOVE YOUR RINGS! Love is something that can't be measured. How do you measure an infinite source of power? We can't. We can only act it out, over and over and the results keep growing better and sweeter, in the middle of chaos and tragedy, abundance and joy. You should see some of the little "nothings" we have exchanged over the years. A day out walking at the beach, a night in with a pot of tea....our best gifts are EACH OTHER. A ring, a bouquet, a box of your favorite treats....that is ALL great. But the greatest of these IS love.

    ENJOY IT ALL! We have a lifetime and beyond to revel in it. Anita

    ReplyDelete
  14. Dear Kim ... as I began reading your "love" story, I thought such a sweet hubby that you have, how blessed you both are. The thought did not even enter my mind that it wasn't enough. I found it quite charming. My hubby and I will be celebrating our 47th anniversary this summer. We love "sweet and simple" and we love just being together. We love being with our son, "daughter" and grand doggy. We too were high school sweethearts. I feel just as you do about measuring love. Money does not buy love. Being kind to one another, cherishing time together, a husband and wife who love their family is so much more important than anything money can buy. We are so proud of our son and "daughter" and the love and kindness they show to one another. That is what measuring love is ... sharing with one another. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! Just keep doing what you are doing. Hugs ♥ Teri

    ReplyDelete
  15. My husband and I have been married for almost 51 years. and we haven't given anniversary gifts to each other since 25 years. On valentine's day he will get me a heart shaped box of candy. But..I also think, just having each other is gift enough. I see too many friends, and just people we know, never have the chance to live together for 50 years. I am happy that we are content with each other, and our life and with are family. Life itself, is a gift...

    ReplyDelete
  16. Kim, I'm perhaps the one person visiiting tonight, who has been married to my sweetheart nearly 48 YEARS! SHHH, let's keep that secret right here. We met when I was 16 and he was 18 and a college Freshman! Oh my goodness it was nearly a year later that we had our first date! That was meant to be! I attended college about 21 miles from his university! We got married while he was in college and I worked, We have fabulous memories of living cheaply. We both worked at NASA part of those years! There are no regrets...We'd choose the same path all over again! We made it w/o borrowing money! We chose love over diamonds, too! Years later he surprised me with one, but our matching wedding bands are dear to both of us! I think you had a great choice and realized it ALMOST at 13 YEARS OLD! WISHING Y'ALL MANY CELEBRATIONS THROUGHOUT THE COMING DECADES! Helen

    ReplyDelete
  17. Bonnie, congratulations, 50 years is long time and I totally agree with you, having each other is a gift. We lost my dad to cancer many, many years ago and while my mother had her gorgeous wedding rings they provided little comfort when he was gone. Thank you so much for leaving such a thoughtful comment and I hope you have a wonderful weekend. :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. Teri, you always have such wonderful words to share. Thank you so much for the comment. I love your "sweet and simple" description...I think it fits us as well. They say that children learn what they live, it sounds like that is the case with your son and his wife. I hope that my kids will have the same kind of relationships. I wish you a Valentine's weekend that is filled with love and that you and your own high school sweetheart enjoy it together! :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hello Anita! I love your comment It is pure poetry, as usual. :) I wish you your own fabulous Valentine anniversary weekend with your love and hope it is filled with lots of little "nothings" and each other!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Patty, 46 years, wow! I love reading the comments and hearing about so many people with long, happy partnerships. It seems as if the key is friendship and kindness. Thanks so much for sharing and I wish you both a fabulous Valentine's Day...and every day! :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. A perfect post for Valentine's Day. I know you love those tulips and that great guy who gave them to you. But be careful ... don't eat all those mallomars at one setting. My grandpa used to give us those for Christmas gifts. One year I ate them all in one day ... can't stand em' now! I'm sure you can figure out why. :(
    Keeping up with everyone else, we are married 30 years this May. A good match and a strong relationship this time; the 2nd trip around for both of us.
    Love isn't defined with rings and outsiders' opinions. It's what's inside our hearts that matters. Great post.

    ReplyDelete
  22. What a sweet, sweet post! For our twentieth anniversary, my husband bought us two lawn chairs to carry to the lake to sit and watch the sunset. I thought it was an incredibly romantic gift! I agree, there are all kinds of ways to measure love! Happy anniversary!

    mybluecottage.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  23. Beautiful post. You are truly blessed.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Good morning Kim! YES! Those nothings really do add up to something memorable, don't they! And the same to you sweet friend, may this day forward be a special life. MUCH LOVE! Anita

    ReplyDelete
  25. Amen, sister! A-MEN! My sweet hubby doesn't make a lot of [what might be considered] "grand" gestures... but the things he does for us daily add up to HUGE in my opinion. Also... the man has NEVER EVER had flowers sent to me. He ALWAYS delivers them himself. Gotta love a guy who thinks like that. =) Happy Valentines Day, my friend!

    ReplyDelete
  26. There's something inherently sweet about a guy presenting posies! It's like he's courting you, even after many years! Love it, Sally! Enjoy the day! :)

    ReplyDelete
  27. Thank you, Anita! You too! :)

    ReplyDelete
  28. Thank you Lorri, I really do try to remember that. :) I wish you a lovely weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Lottie, that sounds like THE MOST romantic gift! I bet that is one anniversary you will never forget! Enjoy the day! :)

    ReplyDelete
  30. I laugh Cheryl, because they are a huge favorite in our house, but are only on sale in October. Otherwise they are one pricey box of cookies, so I rarely buy them. That's why I joke that I am not sharing, but they are rich, no doubt about it! (And of course, I do share!) I hope you enjoy the weekend with your hubby!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  31. Helen, there's a great old song by Neil Sedaka, called, "I Miss The Hungry Years". I love that song, because it's so very true. Those first years when we, like you, were living cheaply, were indeed fabulous. We worked together for everything we had/ have and each new "thing" was such a treasure. Of course, now things are much different. Isn't it ironic that now that we can afford the things, they are no longer what we treasure? Thanks so much for sharing your story and I wish you the a lovely Valentine's Weekend!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  32. Hello Gigi! Thanks so much for sharing your story of true love. I am so sorry that you are not well and for what you have lost, but you are truly blessed to have someone who loves you so much and so unconditionally in your life. He sounds like a wonderful blessing. I wish you a fabulous Valentine Weekend and thanks again for the comment! :)

    ReplyDelete
  33. You did an amazing job writing this post. :-)
    And we have a similar story right here at this house.
    We do not measure LOVE on $ and gifts.
    xx oo

    P.S.
    I love your nails. :-) They are so fun.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Thank you so much, Carla. It's a little more personal than I am usually comfortable with sharing, but I guess the holiday brought it out in me! ;)
    Ps...I love my nails, too, thanks! They are Jamberries! My friend sells them and I am hooked!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Hello again,
    I do know what you mean about how personal do we want to share. It can be hard for me too. I am thankful you shared this...it is uplifting to read a True Love story.
    Carla

    ReplyDelete
  36. Thank you Kim and the same to you.

    ReplyDelete
  37. I'd say your hubby measured love just perfectly. I think our definition of what "measures" love changes over time. While it might consist of hot and heavy breathing early on if we are lucky it evolves to foot rubs as you watch a movie together. I did not get a wedding ring until the day my first daughter was born- a year + a month after we were married. He had ordered initial rings with our last name on them and his father picked them up for us when he was traveling South. I also got his Grandmother's 50th anniversary ring a few years back. My son had a jewelry store for many many years and I used to work there and could buy at cost. So, I have some special pieces but jewelry is just not my thing that screams LOVE.

    Going out at 11pm in a blizzard to pick up cough drops spells love to me- xo Diana

    ReplyDelete
  38. I love it! Big isn't always best, having a great relationship and being able to talk to your best friend is the greatest gift. Well said, Kim.

    ReplyDelete
  39. If I had the words to write as well as you do, I would have written the same thing. We celebrated our 27th anniversary yesterday on Valentine's Day. In the beginning I definitely thought that all the fluffy things were important. I did want flowers and Hallmark cards. Oh brother. As time passed, I grew in my understanding...thank goodness! My sweet husband is knee deep in the biggest most stressful project at work right now but the other day he loudly proclaimed that he would not be working on Valentine's Day because it's our anniversary and we just got over a cancer scare. In that moment all I could think of was that nothing he could buy me would equal that devotion.

    I loved reading your story. Your rings are beautiful. Your home is one of my favorites because you are real in your sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Thank you, Carla. I am glad that I shared this one, too! :)

    ReplyDelete
  41. I hear you loud and clear, Diana! For me, lately, it's when my kids need to be picked up at midnight at a friend's house and it's below zero outside and my husband says that he'll go get them. What could be better than that? ;) xo

    ReplyDelete
  42. Thank you, Jan. I really enjoy decorating and crafting and but writing is my true passion! I am glad you enjoyed the post! :)

    ReplyDelete
  43. Thanks Vanessa! I hope you had a lovely Valentine's Day with your family! :)

    ReplyDelete
  44. Hi Stacey, thank you so much for such a lovely and open comment. I was a little apprehensive about sharing on this level, but I am glad that I did. It seems to have resonated with a lot of people. I am sorry to hear you even mention the word cancer, but I am so relieved that it was only a scare. Phew. In my own life, I have found that those are indeed the moments when what is really important comes screaming to the forefront. Congratulations on your 27 years together, definitely worthy of a celebration! I hope that your Valentine Anniversary was a wonderful! :) xo

    ReplyDelete
  45. This a beautiful sweet post. And amazing...clearly soul mates having met at age thirteen. Blows me away!! :) :) :)

    ReplyDelete
  46. I could hug you for this post.

    He may not have bought you some silly expensive gift, but he took time out of his day because he thought of you and gave you something from his heart. THAT is what matters.

    My guy gave me a stuffed pink monkey with a balloon and grocery store flowers for Valentine's Day. I think the whole thing cost around 20 bucks, but I don't care about that. I care about the reason he did it and that was because the last guy I was with never bought me a damn thing. It came up in conversation once when we first started dating and he remembered. Now do I need or want a pink stuffed monkey? No, but it is now one of my most prized possessions, because besides the fact that it kind of looks like him (lol), every time I look at it, it will remind me that he cared, he wanted me to laugh and he loves me.

    By the way, I think those rings are gorgeous and even more special because of the history :)

    xo

    ReplyDelete
  47. You are SO RIGHT!!!!
    Flowers from the grocery store are absolutely the best...especially when presented with a lopsided grin and a hand drawn card :^)
    Marriage with rings that were loved by people YOU loved, makes them all the more special!!
    Cookies ?????? ahhhhhhhh the BEST!!
    Blessings to both of you!
    J

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks J!! You are right...those are all the good things! :) Blessing right back to you!

      Delete
  48. Aww Kim this the sweetest story! Happy anniversary to you and I love how he does so many things for you and your family and even stopped for the cookies for you. Wishing you many more years of happiness together! Julie xo

    ReplyDelete
  49. Thank you, Julie! We're no different than a lot of couples, I'm sure. It really is the little things! :)

    ReplyDelete
  50. This post is such a beautiful tribute to true love,Kim! It is not "things" that define love, but a life lived full of that love is what defines love. You spoke the obvious quite eloquently, and I love it. I would far rather spend time with someone than receive a gift once or twice a year as a token of their love, while the rest of the year I worried if they loved me. No, my dearest shows his love for me in numerous, special, little ways, and those are the moments and things I treasure most. Beautiful truth you have shared!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for such words. I really do feel this way and it's nice to hear that so many others do too. It' s easy to get caught up in the "stuff = love" mentality in this bigger, better, more world. It's nice to know that the simple things still reign! :)

      Delete

Hey~ before you go, let me know what you think! I love comments and respond to them all. Thanks so much for visiting! *Please note that if your comment contains a hyperlink it will not be published.