When I first heard the song “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers,” I hadn’t yet had a real kiss or a boyfriend—but I thought it was the saddest song I’d ever heard. When the man stops giving a woman flowers, the relationship is over.
My husband wooed me with flowers. Somewhere in his life, he had learned that flowers were the way a man showed a woman that he loved her—so that’s what he did. Flowers were his way of speaking romance and love to me—not so much because I liked them or because the flowers themselves meant anything to him, but because they were what he was supposed to do.
The summer we got engaged, he sent me flowers at work every single week and triggered envy in my co-workers. Throughout our engagement and the early years of our marriage, my husband gave me flowers for my birthday, for our anniversary, and sometimes just because.
When the Flowers Died
Sometime during the years of my gate-keeping and refusing, the flowers stopped. I was swamped by the demands of life and didn’t even notice.
My husband’s way of speaking romance and love had become silent. The silence fell on my deaf ears.
About twenty years into our marriage, I had stopped refusing. My husband, however, was just beginning to notice that something was going on but didn’t yet trust the changes.
Meanwhile, I had begun the process of trying to understand how, when, and why my refusal had started in the first place. At that point, I was still looking at my husband’s words and actions as a cause of my refusal rather than at myself. From my self-centered point of view, I thought about how he had failed to be the man of my dreams and how he didn’t show me he loved me—and then I realized that I didn’t even remember the last time he’d given me flowers.
It was a stab to my heart. I knew that a part of my husband’s heart had shriveled up. He no longer wanted to woo or romance me, and he no longer thought about showing me that he loved me. I couldn’t blame him for that, seeing as how I had deprived him of experiencing love from me. It seemed superficial for me to care about something like flowers, especially since I hadn’t even noticed the lack of them for at least a decade. It made me sad anyway.
As our marriage began to heal, the flowers didn’t return. We couldn’t really afford flowers anyway, and I figured that our relationship had moved past a point of romance and wooing. Still, I realized that my heart ached a little bit. I wanted to be romanced. I wanted to be wooed.
Last year, flowers began to make occasional appearances again. It occurred to me that the part of my husband’s heart that had shriveled after long years of deprivation had perhaps begun to heal.
Last year, he said to me, “I feel more married than I ever have before,” and “I couldn’t love you more if you were wrapped in bacon.” Although the flowers hadn’t really returned, I was able to see deep romance and love in much of what my husband did.
At the beginning of this year, my husband and I began praying together. Our spiritual connection was the final piece that helped us experience the one-flesh nature of marriage. And although we’ve experienced some trials this year, our marriage is a source of joy, comfort, and love in a way it hasn’t been before.
I can see that my husband’s heart has healed. He shares his heart with me more now than he has at any other time in our relationship. He has more patience with me. He is more giving. He is more loving. And once every few weeks, on Friday night date nights, he’ll bring me flowers.
On the first Wednesday of every month, my husband fasts for me and for our marriage. I feel blessed that I have a husband who is willing to give up something that is such an enjoyable part of his life for me.
Yesterday was fasting day. Throughout the day, when I thought of him or when I ate, I prayed for him and for our marriage. I thanked God for having healed our marriage enough that my husband is willing to sacrifice for me. I thanked Him for softening my heart and giving me the courage I needed to help my husband feel loved. I thanked Him for giving me a husband who loved me throughout my years of refusing and gate-keeping.
Big Guy walked in the door at the end of the day, carrying a bouquet of flowers. He could tell that I was puzzled by flowers in the middle of the week. “It’s sacrifice day,” he explained. “I wanted to give you something to remind you that I spent the day thinking about you and praying for you.”
I tearily mumbled something about not being worth the sacrifice.
“You are worth the sacrifice. I love you.”
The flowers of our youth were a superficial sign of romance, a man doing what he thought he was supposed to do to woo a woman.
Yesterday’s flowers are a sign of a deeper spiritual romance, a husband speaking from his whole heart to the wife he loves very, very much.
It is the very best kind of romance there is.
Image credit Chris Taylor
Shared at Calm.Healthy.Sexy.