Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Valentine (05/16/05)
That’s how it started, at least. I put down my dust rag and sat down on the floor by the nightstand and flipped thought the pastel-lined pages of the book. Entries came fast and furiously at the beginning: “You’re the most wonderful valentine.” (February 14) … “I am blessed to have you as my husband.” (February 21) … “I love your smile.” (February 24) … “You are God’s gift in my life.” (March 3) After a couple of months, the entries slowed down. Occasionally (like on June 12), I would write I LOVE YOU in all caps—I dashed it off out of duty, knowing I hadn’t written an entry in a while, and I thought that if I scrawled it across the entire page, it would somehow make up for that. As summer led to autumn, the book showed even more glaring gaps—and any messages I did write down usually came after my husband said, “I haven’t seen anything in my book for awhile….” My Valentine’s gift turned from romantic to rote in a little over six months.
Then, on November 11, there was an entry that made me catch my breath. Instead of my usually neat penmanship, this was written quickly, sloppily—as if I couldn’t get the words down fast enough. It was also, unlike most of my previous entries, very long—four pages. My husband and I had been in a fight, the kind that started with the smallest, most trivial thing but ended up pressing all the hot buttons in our relationship. I tend to clam up when I get defensive, so I poured all my feelings into the notebook: my hurt, anger, remorse—and my love.
To see the depth of my passion for my husband in black-and-white, written on the page, was truly amazing. I turned the page, eager to see what I wrote as a follow-up … and it was blank. My eyes started to tear up; it was heart-breaking to see that I had basically given up on my Valentine’s project, that I couldn’t find two minutes in my hectic schedule to make him feel special.
But as I sat there, I realized that the beautiful thing about our marriage, about any marriage, is that it is a work in progress, and each day brings the opportunity to do a better job of loving my husband than the day before. So I reached up into the nightstand drawer, pulled out my pen, and turned to a fresh page. “May 2,” I wrote at the top. “Dear husband, have I told you lately that I love you? ….”
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