Make time, Valentine

Valentine’s Day isn’t a huge deal to Husband and I, although we do like to mark the day with small gifts to each other and making a point of doing something together. Our first Valentine’s Day together, we dined on sushi at our favorite sushi den, then came home to play Mexican Train dominoes and watch “Old School.” So romantic.

This year, we both had to work, but we planned to work out together afterward for our studio gym’s special partner-based workout, then go home where he promised to cook a new recipe we agreed to try. Hubs also promised flowers – so, no element of a surprise delivery there, but I didn’t mind: We’re still acting on the lesson that we don’t do surprises well.

With Baby C protruding like a volleyball right now, flowers, exercise and a tasty home-cooked meal sounded like a perfectly sexy Valentine’s Day to me.

“Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest is my beloved among the young men. I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste. Let him lead me to the banquet hall, and let his banner over me be love.”
‭‭Song of Songs‬ ‭2:3-4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Except it didn’t turn out perfectly. I had a terribly frustrating day at work that I carried with me into my car for the commute to the gym. Traffic was awful, and 4 miles out I knew I would arrive too late to join the class. Nearly in tears, I texted Husband that I wouldn’t make the class with him. His reply: “Nooooo! I ❤ You.” Actual tears, now. I had badgered Husband to reserve his spot for this workout but then didn’t give myself enough time to drive there, so he was partner-less for a partner-based workout. I drove to the studio anyway and watched him complete the workout with some guy. Self-harming? Maybe, but spending time together felt really important today, and the thought of just going home to an empty house, knowing he was still doing our workout, felt worse. The instructor, whose class we take every week, saw me and poked her head out to say hello, but she couldn’t let me in.

“Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you— if you find my beloved, what will you tell him? Tell him I am faint with love.”
‭‭Song of Songs‬ ‭5:8‬ ‭NIV

When Husband finished, he saw me and walked out, saying, “You forced me to work out with a dude!” He wasn’t really mad. At least, if he was truly angry, he hid it well. My eyes filled with tears (again) as I hugged him, so maybe he saw that I really was upset with myself for messing our evening up. I cry at the drop of a hat these days (thanks, pregnancy hormones) but I truly felt awful as I mentally took stock of the weight of the day.

Our evening went a little better after after that. He had a dozen roses waiting for me at home, and I had a couple of Starbucks cake pops (one of the few sweets he loves) for him. I helped him cook our pre-planned dinner even though he had promised to cook that night. While we both messed up little parts of the recipe (again, thanks pregnancy hormones, this time for the forgetfulness) it turned out well overall. This year’s movie choice was “The Accountant.” We’ve matured a little in our taste in movies. The night ended with snuggles in bed, with a one dog curled up at our feet and the other dog yipping in his sleep under the bed – just how we like it.

“Come away, my beloved, and be like a gazelle or like a young stag on the spice-laden mountains.”
‭‭Song of Songs‬ ‭8:14‬ ‭NIV

I love my husband more each day, and right now is such a sweet time in our marriage as we anticipate our first child joining our family in 3 months. He’s doing so much for me as I slow down physically, like cleaning up the house more often and being more proactive about letting the dogs out so I don’t have to get up as much. Then I let him down by missing our planned time together. That upsets me so much because we are being more intentional about time spent together in anticipation of not having as much one-on-one time once Baby C arrives. We know we will be zombie-like for a couple months, then attached and attuned to Baby’s feeding and sleeping schedule for several months more, then required to plan ahead and secure a babysitter for many years after that if we want to have date nights or days. We’ve been told, and it’s easy to read, that date nights are an important part of keeping love and excitement in our marriage. I have to become better at honoring the time we set apart just for us.

Thankfully there are 364 other days in the year to work on this skill (and every four years, a bonus day!). Thinking about how I could manage my time better, here are a few ideas:

1. Use a planner/calendar. We’ve discovered that using a family calendar and posting it in a centrally visible place in our home helps us make time for the things we really want to do and reminds us what we’ve committed to.

2. Set an alarm 10 minutes before I have to leave to meet Husband somewhere. My boss sets alarms on his phone to remind him to wrap things up at work 10 minutes before he wants to head out to watch his daughter play basketball or attend one of her school events. Great idea.

3. Wear my watch on the other wrist to remind myself that Husband and I have plans. This is a trick I learned in middle school, similar to the old-fashioned tip of tying a piece of string around a finger. Wearing something in a way you don’t normally wear it and mentally attaching that action to something you don’t want to forget can help you remember it.

4. Remember how awful I felt on Valentine’s Day about leaving my husband to work out with a guy instead of his wife the next time I’m tempted to stretch out a task, an errand, the work day, or time with others when I should be hustling to go be with my husband instead. Is it worth being a busy bee for those extra minutes? Probably not. Will the work still be waiting for me the new morning? Yes. I can make up the work later. I can’t always make up quality time with my husband later.

5. On the positive side of that, remember that people are almost always the priority over things or activity, and he’s MY priority. Not work. Not anything else. Mary Kay consultants will tell you that their company-endorsed mantra is “God first, family second, career third.” It’s time I adopted that for myself.

What would you add? Any other ideas for putting Husband first?

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