I'm coming to terms with the fact that I'm not a particularly romantic person, at least not in the traditional sense of the word. It's been hard to admit that I'd rather get a new vacuum as a gift then a diamond necklace. In general, my gut reaction when Mark would do something like bring me flowers was "Why did he spend all that money on something that will die in a few days when I would much rather he save it?" To me, a gift that is meaningful and romantic is something that sees a need specific to that person and fills it, and it gets bonus points if it's on sale. Maybe for some people that's jewelry or flowers, but for me, it's an appliance.
Mark and I celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary yesterday, and it was great. We've always seen our wedding anniversary as not just about us, but about the beginning of our family. Obviously there's a time and a place for us to connect as a couple, but our family was born on the day Mark and I agreed to love and honor each other for the rest of our lives, and as such, we've called it our "familaversary." We spent Sunday morning in our regular routine at church, then had a rehearsal for the choir we're both in, then we celebrated by going to Fred Meyer and picking up a Wii. As befits our tradition and particular gift preferences, we wanted something that would be useful for the whole family. We spent the afternoon laughing hilariously at MarioKart and after a nice family dinner out and bedtime for the kids, Mark and I stayed up late playing Wii tennis and bowling and eating really peppery bacon. Now, I realize that this might not be everyone's idea of romance. But when I put on FB that this was the reason I got married, I wasn't kidding. Last night was perfectly romantic, in our own special brand of romance.
There is a lot of focus in our culture on love, at least the brand of it that it values most. And don't get me wrong, that particular brand is great. But it's often actually infatuation - the heart pitter-pattering, short of breath, I-have-to-be-near-this-person kind of feeling. Like most relationships, we definitely started out that way and we still have our moments after 10 years together. But love is so much more than that to me. It's wanting the best for the other person even when its not convenient. It's sharing deeply held beliefs. It's being there in the dark times, or worse, the boring times. It's being able to be alone together. I knew I was in love with Mark when I realized that I could be with him 24 hours a day without experiencing the typical introvert reaction of feeling like I was "on" around others. I could be "off" and it was ok. I could just relax into him. And when I looked forward to a life with him, days like yesterday were what I envisioned. Days filled with routine, family, and just being by each other.
I guess that's where the vacuum fits in. Giving something like that shows me that he sees not just the dressed up me, but the real, every day me - the one that cleans up and keeps the house from being totally overrun by stuff, that takes care of his kids and handles the day-to-day routine - and that he values that. That he's happy he chose me to share this humble life with, and would do it again.