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Small Gestures of Big Love

The best surprises of my marriage have been the unexpected little things that make me fall more deeply in love with my husband. By “little things” I mean small gestures of big love. I could list all these events, but that would embarrass him and me—and there are secrets that no one outside a marriage should know. The important thing is that I could list them all for you. I’m hardwired to remember distinctively the events that impact me emotionally. Since my marriage is the most important emotional piece of my life, memories in that department are clear, potent, and stored in the most accessible parts of my brain and heart.

Without embarrassing anyone, I can share some of them:

Finding out The Glass Menagerie was his favorite play.

Finding out he had purchased (and read) What a Difference a Daddy Makes and The Council of Dads.

Watching him change a tire for a stranger and use our jumper cables to help many a stranded motorist.

Learning that he calls both his sisters on Valentine’s Day.

Watching him pop a painful boil on our aging dog’s ass and then seeing that dog lick my husband’s face with gratitude. (Gross, I know— but a desperately needed intervention he performed without prompting or complaint.)

Listening to him argue incredibly valid points for "Team Jacob" so convincingly it almost changed my mind.

And one of my ongoing favorites:

Watching my husband with my daughter. This has made me love him more deeply than almost anything else he’s ever done. Observing their relationship has provided a treasure trove of “unexpected little things”.

Our daughter is now eight, and she recently got her ears pierced. Once her lobes were completely healed, she was allowed to exchange her “starter” earrings for more fashionable options. My husband took her on a Daddy/Daughter date to pick out several pairs. When she brought the earrings home, and wanted to try them on, I tried to help her remove the starter pair but couldn't manage it without hurting her. My husband had a go, and it was smooth sailing. Now when she has difficulty and I try to help, she winces and says, “Maybe we should just wait until Daddy gets home.”

Now, changing out earrings is something he does for her whenever she can’t do it herself. She brings her jewelry box into the kitchen. He asks her which pair she wants, and he gently eases the old earrings off and puts the new ones on, chatting all the while about how they match her outfit and asking what she has on tap for her day at school.

Watching him navigate the process so delicately with hands twice as big as my own, and watching her throw her arms around his neck and say, “Thank you, Daddy” is so sweet it makes my heart swell. A small gesture of big love.

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