Valentine's Day is coming! It's two days away! Did you know that? If you have ears to hear and eyes to see, of course you did.
In the news they've been talking about how Valentine's Day is a completely trumped up holiday, where businesses have found a reason for people to spend money between Christmas and Easter. It has no religious connotation and no cultural significance.
As I've said in this space before, any gift-giving holiday is an excruciating thing for me as I have difficulty thinking of good gifts, particularly for my most-loved ones. So it is that I'd be perfectly happy letting Valentine's Day go by with just a nod of recognition, but I know what is best for me, and that is not it. (At the very least, on the other hand, it is nice to have an excuse to go out on a date with my wife.)
Last Sunday, during stake conference, we had a new stake presidency installed. One of the speakers outlined the interview process when he was asked to take on a church leadership role. He basically went in with his good wife, and the person conducting the interview essentially asked how his day was then proceeded to kindly grill his wife about how well he, as her husband, was doing in his husbandly and fatherly duties, and what good things he does to keep their family. One thing he said that sticks with me is that it occurred to him afterward that his wife loves him enough to give him time to improve.
I've been pondering that statement a lot, as it has many meanings, and I think similarly of my wife.
I couldn't resist, though, asking my wife how she would have responded in a similar situation, and she told me that she would have told the interviewer that I'm patient with her. Asking for clarification, she told me some of her quirks that I find endearing or for which I think nothing less of her. Truth be told, I think I was fishing for a compliment, and ... well ... didn't really get one like I expected.
Nevertheless, I wanted to reciprocate the question a little bit, and record for all time some of the good things that my good wife does to keep our family. Just in time for Valentine's Day, here's a list of twenty things, in no particular order, that my wife does that are wifely and motherly that I really appreciate:
-- 1) She cooks for our family. All the time. Seriously, it's like pulling teeth to get her to go out to eat because ever since we started the whole Weight Watchers thing she's learned to love to cook. The best I can do to actually cook for myself is make a mean bowl of cereal.
-- 2) She tells me not to yell at the kids. Important.
-- 3) She loves to read. This is a great example for our children, each of whom, honestly, has turned into book worms. This is a good thing, I believe, and it's primarily because she is always reading some book or magazine.
-- 4) She is an excellent chauffeur. The kids gotta get around, ya know?
-- 5) She is a volunteer. For all sorts of things. I think she suffers a little from "good Mormon wife" syndrome in that she can't say no to any good service opportunity; I occasionally have to remind her to keep life in balance.
-- 6) Anything she touches turns to gold. Well, not literally, but you get my meaning. She is the kind of person who is dedicated, wise, and hard-working; and anything she tries her hand at succeeds.
-- 7) She works with the kids in everything they do. I'm really not that great of a father when it comes to helping the kids get their homework done, and I, frankly, absolutely detest art projects of any kind. She not only does both of these, but she teaches them piano lessons (off and on), helps with Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts, helps the kids get church talks prepared, and makes sure their science projects, book reports, and myriad of other projects get done on time.
-- 8) She cries at all the right things. It frustrates her how her emotions can come so readily to the surface, but she reminds me of the tender things in life (I'm very good at remaining emotionally aloof), and sets a great example for our children.
-- 9) She gets the kids to church on time, dressed and with their hair done. I'm usually already there for other church meetings, so she does this all on her own. It's amazing.
- 10) She does the dishes about 60% of the time (in a household with three other perfectly capable dish-doers, that's too much ...). I try to do them, and I think I do all right given my work and church obligations, but even so she still does far more than her share.
- 11) She appreciates and respects the priesthood of God, and my role as the patriarch of our home. She lets me lead our family as best I can, and isn't shy about counseling me when I'm not doing so well. She encourages me to have regular "interviews" with the kids, allows me to lead family discussions and to call on people for prayers and the like, and asks for priesthood blessings when appropriate. She has a good understanding of the concepts of order and leadership, and appreciates the mantle associated with the callings that others receive in the church to serve. She is truly a woman of faith and devotion.
- 12) I don't really consider myself a good or a patient man and she always encourages me to do better. Critical.
- 13) She organizes our family time. We often (no joke) sit down and actually walk through the calendar day by day for months in advance. Scouts next week? Check! Dentist appointment in three months? Got it! Family vacation for the 4th of July? Check! Conference travel for me in September? I'm there! Some may think this is abnormal, but with a very busy family life, it's one way we stay sane.
- 14) She does most of the mundane chores around the house: folding laundry, cleaning toilets and tubs, vacuuming, organizing rooms. We work on getting the kids to contribute, but invariably when they don't, she's the one who picks up the slack. She's amazing. She does it it all ... mostly without complaint.
- 15) She plans our vacations. She'll go to the library and load up on books and research places to visit and make lists of things to do. Then she'll call and make reservations for activities and hotels. She'll even contemplate souvenirs that we may want to buy when we go. It's incredible. She's my own personal travel agent.
- 16) She is a coupon/sale/free-shipping finder. She is the consumer in our family. You look at all the receipts in my wallet and you'll pretty much just see gas receipts, and receipts from when I was shopping with her. I would never make a major (okay, even a slightly less than minor) purchase without her input. She considers herself something of a "freak" (her word, not mine) for how economical she is, but I'm delighted. I know it aggravates her that I have a more flippant attitude towards money, but she should know that my attitude is only because I know how well she does with our money.
- 17) She sings beautifully. She is always humble about it, and last week I recorded a song she sang with two of her friends, and she kept asking in astonishment, "Was that me?" Yes, honey, that's you. Please sing for me some more!
- 18) She often organizes family home evening. We don't hold it every week, but when we do, nine times out of ten it will be because of her preparation.
- 19) She wants to be with me all the time. I don't know why. Ask her that! The feeling is reciprocated, however, but there's this pesky thing called "work" that gets in the way of us doing that ...
- 20) She is patient with me. (How's that for turn-around?)
So there's my list. I could go on, but I'd probably start listing how beautiful she is, what a joy her smile is, how I love the natural colors of her long and lovely hair, how her lush lips are a delight to kiss, and how I want to be with her every second of every day; but all that would just embarrass her, so I'll stop here.
Truly, I do love my wife.