This Christmas, we’ve been in Hawaii after traveling all around the country and not seeing any of our stuff for three months. It’s been a crazy time. Christmas and birthdays have also been a source of stress for my husband and I.
But what does Christmas have to do with marriages and being pleasantly surprised by one’s spouse? For me, everything. I promise I’ll tie it in together. Let’s go back to 2006, a time when Nate and I were young and had just started dating each other. I was 19 and dramatic. He was 20 and clueless about women.
My birthday rolls around and I’m excited to be dating a nice guy.
It’s the night of my birthday and we’re grabbing dinner. I’m thinking, “the surprise must be good and it must be coming soon.” We eat. We talk. He walks me back to my apartment. I’m almost in tears. He forgot. I don’t remember if I said something then or waited and later expressed how frustrated I was, but come to find out he cold forgot again for at least one other birthday and possibly another Christmas. The one birthday he did remember, he got me a huge tent of a sleep shirt. I usually don’t get upset if someone buys me a size bigger than I am but this thing was a huge mu-mu! I blew up dramatically, again.
He is a wonderful man who treats me like a queen, but this is just one area in which he is forgetful. I took it as a personal insult for a long time (try the last six years). Then I’d feel guilty for being trivial and selfish, but I’d still be mad.
Fast forward to this Christmas. I surprised him by getting him something he really wanted. Christmas Eve rolled around, no gift. Christmas night rolled around, still nothing. Then I see that he sends me a book on Kindle about Abraham Lincoln at about midnight on Christmas. I started to feel myself getting mad and thinking, “he forgot again!” and feeling sorry for myself, but I changed my thinking pattern this time and chose to think about all of the things he bought me recently for the house and the fact that he is so sacrificial and tries so hard to make me happy.
I finally just let it go and said a sincere thank you for the Abe book.
Yesterday, a package came in the mail for me. I opened it up to find a Navy blue Dooney and Bourke wallet. I’d been saying for a month that I needed a new wallet because my military ID kept slipping out of my old one, which was more like a little pouch on a keychain.
I started tearing up. He found a wallet on sale, in one of my favorite brands, and ordered it himself ahead of time.
I reminded myself that in marriage, we’re in it for the long haul. Nate and I are in it for another 50 years, God willing.
But I should never forget that people can change over time and I should never let myself stop being pleasantly surprised by my husband.
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