I think I can count the number of flower bouquets from him on one hand.
Let’s see . . . one, two….
Yup, one hand.
My husband’s not much of a romantic in the familiar use of the word. Anything that feels the least bit contrived, like Valentine’s Day? He’d rather do without it, thank you. As a young bride, it took me awhile to see past this seeming bah-humbug way of his and into his heart.
But I can’t count the number of times this man of mine has surprised me with a long-desired CD, or maybe one of which I knew nothing, but promptly fell in love with. Two or three times a year, he’ll get that sheepish grin on his face and hand me a nearly-square plastic case — handpicked songs and lyrics that, unlike a spray of dried roses, still speak to me.
We’ve always been lovers of music, he and I.
We used to take piano lessons from the same music teacher back in our highschool days. Our teacher was a lady with short, silvery hair and large-rimmed glasses, with no children of her own. She was devoted. Once a month, her students would meet in classes according to advancement and she would teach music theory. They were extremely boring and nerve-wracking classes, as we’d have to critique one another’s performance of a recital piece. I suddenly began, however, to look forward to those once-a-month meetings as I got to know a particular brown-haired, brown-eyed boy who rocked at Grieg and Williams and Beethoven. Our teacher had two pianos in her darkly lit, red-carpeted basement and she would pair us off to work on scales, arpeggios and chords. I loved it when he and I got paired off. 🙂
Technique. Oh, how I hated it, but I was fairly good at all the little exercises because I could pretty much sight-read anything placed in front of me. I quickly learned that this guy who often sat next to me had a difficult time sight-reading but was a whiz at playing by ear.
It was several years before I told him that I used to purposefully stumble over my notes so that he wouldn’t feel embarrassed. 🙂 He looked at me like I was crazy.
So while, I could quickly read notes, my musical talent pretty much ended with the need for sheet music sitting right in front of my eyes. He on the other hand, wooed me at the piano, playing music that simply poured out of him. No sheet music, no rules, no lines. I could hear the sentiment. I could hear the dreams, the aspirations, the longings.
He won my heart while pouring his all over black and white.
He woos me like that in the everyday.
I think it’s partly my personality, and partly the fact that I grew up as the oldest of eight children, but I quickly learned that life goes much smoother if you just don’t rock the boat. Follow the black and white lines, follow the rules, don’t listen too much to your heart’s undertones and things will be much easier for everyone involved.
And this is probably mostly true in many relationships and aspects of life. Certainly, in a household of eight children, my parents didn’t need one more strong-willed, needy person to tend to. Growing up, I did a lot of dying to self . . . by keeping quiet. These were invaluable life-lessons for me.
But in the intimate relationship as a wife, I am learning that my “dying to self” sometimes looks exactly the opposite. This husband wants me to voice my needs? He wants me to open up to him? He wants more of me?
In the beautiful, intimate confines of marriage, the giving up, the laying down of me . . . is to give more me??? To not remain silent, but to knock? To ask? Receive? No holding back, no stumbling over who I am to supposedly make things easier for him?
This is a vulnerable place to be. This is scary. This is much more risky.
It is much easier to be low-maintenance.
And it is my downfall. Because my “gift” of being easy to live with and keeping a low-maintenance personality is laden with pride and the comfort of hiding behind invulnerable walls. It takes strength to come humbly and admit need or desires.
Whether he realizes it or not, he leads me to Him, just in the asking me to set aside all former pretense. All the safe practices of self-sufficiency.
They both call me.
Pour out my heart.
No hiding behind safe black and white.