I have a vivid Valentine’s Day memory from 2002. My husband and I had been married for five years and we had a two year old toddler and a newborn baby. My husband was working long hours as a teacher and coach while I stayed home with our children. He was exhausted and overwhelmed. I was more exhausted and equally overwhelmed. My days were filled with tantrums, a nursing baby, endless diaper changes, baby vomit, and sweatpants. I rarely left the house, and my only companions were the unfortunate telemarketers that caught me in my loneliness. My husband was constantly dealing with student attitudes, grading papers, basketball practices, and parent meetings.
But it was Valentine’s Day.
I had high expectations for this day. Culture had been screaming at me from the television that, “every kiss begins with Kay,” “If you care enough to send the very best…send a Hallmark card,” and Bon Jovi had basically convinced me that my husband should, “lay me down on a bed of roses.” I rose to the occasion by making a heart shaped meatloaf. What can I say? We were poor, but classy! I set the table with cloth napkins, and showered! I made a shower happen, people! When my husband came shuffling through the door, I was almost giddy! This is the day the men are supposed to shower you with gifts and tell you how grateful they are for you. My ears were practically salivating to hear the praise. But the praise did not come. After dinner, not hiding the fact that I was angry, my husband handed me a card. As I opened it, my mind raced at all the words that would potentially flow out of the card. He would mention my beauty, my devotion, my sacrifice… Nope! It was a funny card full of innuendos.
He tried to defend himself by saying that things were always so serious, he thought I would like a funny card that complimented by derriere. I gave him the cold shoulder, he went to Walgreens to buy a new, more sentimental card, and we eventually moved on.
Those were some really hard days! No wonder marriages are suffering, partners are unhappy, and the grass in another yard looks better than ours. We live in 50 shades of expectations and our perspective is ALL WRONG!
What if we looked at our marriages differently? I was reading about foxholes recently. I know…I’m worldly! I also watch The Bachelor, so there’s that. I was reading about how foxholes are created, what happens in them, and why they are important in war. Apparently, two foxhole “buddies” dig out a hole in the ground and position themselves in the hole in a specific fashion. Each person covers the exposed area of the other person. When two people are in a foxhole together, they literally have each other’s backs.
Let’s be honest. In marriage, we are constantly under attack. Jobs, family, children, bills, garage doors that don’t open all the way and you hit them with your van at full speed. Insecurity, pride, media, and temptation are all bullets that come at us. We are learning that a healthy marriage means that we have each other’s backs in big and small ways. God is helping me see the effort my husband is putting into our marriage. When he scrapes the ice off my windshield because he knows I’m always running late and would actually drive with a circle the size of a quarter cleaned off, he is protecting me…and you. When he gets home from work first and starts making dinner, or cleans up the dishes while I put kids to bed, these are all ways that he is working WITH me to win at life. We are in the foxhole together. In our 21 years of marriage, we have dug a pretty solid hole to stand in. And we’ve been covering each other through every challenge and additional child added to our brood. I trust him. I know he has my back even when he doesn’t buy me the jewelry, flowers, or cards. The world may tell me that excitement is found in another yard, but there is NO ONE I would trust to have my back more than the man I married.
This Valentine’s Day, I am celebrating my Foxhole Buddy. It may not be romantic by the world’s standards, but I feel incredibly grateful. So talk to me, tablemates! Tell me about the person in the foxhole with you! Why do you trust them? Let’s spend Valentine’s Day with grateful hearts, even if we don’t get the card we were expecting. Truth be told, I wish I had my derriere from 2002. The 2018 version isn’t quite the same!