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Labor of Love

Updated: Feb 29, 2020

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day.

Yep, the day to swoon and exalt for love.

How many of you feel this one day of celebrating love doesn’t quite offset the many, many other days you labor for love? Girlfriends, Wives, Mothers – we all know the drudgery it takes to keep relationships and homes steady. So, what truly delivers the reverberating feelings of love?

Flowers don’t offset the labor of 200 days of washing, folding and putting away laundry. Chocolates make scrubbing ketchup off of dishes more bearable, but certainly don’t tip the scales. A night out for an amazingly decadent seafood Alfredo, followed by the best tiramisu in town, doesn’t weigh as heavily on our hearts as do the other 350 nights we prepare meals for the hungry mouths at our tables.

My language of love is found in words – expressions of gratitude for the many ways in which I tenderly care for my husband and my family, are priceless when it comes to filling my heart with joy. Hearing words of recognition for my ability to raise my boys is invaluable. Knowing I am still able to ignite the heat of attraction in my husband’s spirit, for the parts of me that are more prized than my body parts, is - for me - the essence of feeling loved.

My husband falls well short when it comes to expressing his affection in this way. He delivers few words. He doesn’t know how to express things through verbal affirmations. He is meagerly equipped with such ability.

During our early years together, the fact I craved verbal expressions of love that he was unable to provide, created a disconnection between us. When I had new babies to which I needed to constantly attend, my husband and I struggled to connect on the levels special to marriage. This is undoubtedly common.

What I have learned throughout the years, however, is my labors towards our relationship and our family are no less than his. They are just communicated in different ways.

My love letters to him do not offset the hours he spends changing the oil in our vehicles and maintaining tires, air filters, and brakes. The occasions I bake his favorite cookies do not tip the scales against the fourteen-hour days he works to provide for us. My endeavors to keep a tidy home might reduce his stress, but don’t outweigh the leaky pipes he repairs, lightbulbs he replaces, and fixtures in our home he ensures are working correctly.

Every day I have to stay home with a sick child can be balanced by the days he stays home to meet the water-heater repair man and take JD to shooting practice for 4H.

When I am resentful of the fact that he hasn't picked up a toilet brush in 13 years, I calm my frustration with the knowledge that I haven't picked up dog poop in our yard in the same amount of time.

The balance to our love is what carries our hearts through all 365 days of the year.

When I am able to fill my heart with gratitude for his labors of love, it reflects in his admiration for the work I put into showing my love for him.

Gratitude and understanding are ways in which we can show each other our love every day of the year.

But… on those days when real life is too much a reflection on my heart, I will absolutely accept a box of chocolates to offset my shadowy disposition. And, my favorite flowers are lilies and daffodils, with their remarkable ability to shower the entire room in vibrancy and the unmatched sent of adoration.

Let’s not get so carried away that we reject such offerings, especially if they come but once a year.

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