The romantic husband.

I recently read a Face Book entry where someone commented that her hubby was looking for a birthday present for her at a petrol station around midnight. I smiled when I read that because I know who her hubby is and could kind of imagine the scene at the kiosk. At the same time, I felt a pang of sympathy rise up within my heart. I can’t explain that feeling very well, but it’s the same kind of feeling I get whenever I used to watch TV episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond. Anyway, that wave of sympathy didn’t last long, as over the next few days, this someone’s FB entries were peppered with loads of lovely photos of a holiday trip spent with her beloved husband. So, he did lavish her with a wonderful present after all! How romantic!

My hubby isn’t a very romantic husband. When we first started dating, he did try to be romantic, and having this huge crush on him, I did think then that everything he did was romantic. Then we got married and he began to relax. In fact, he got so relaxed that he used to plan birthday and anniversary dinners this way: He’ll pick me up after work and ask “So, where would you like to have dinner?” That, paraphrased, meant “I have not yet planned anything, so I’ll ask you this question now to stall for time while I rack my brains.” I would then make some calls to see if my favourite restaurants were full. They would indeed be full (but of course!) and we would end up at some half empty restaurant and have a terrible meal, which didn’t do much for good for the accompanying conversation. And… I actually allowed this to go on for a few years before I came to my senses. The simple lesson I learnt was this: you can never change your husband. So, I changed my behaviour instead. From then onwards, I would decide where I wanted to go, which restaurants I wished to try, and I would make the booking weeks ahead of time and put in the entry in his calendar so that he won’t double book his time (which is another bad habit I still can’t get him to drop after 16 years of marriage). It’s worked out very well. He’s not stressed with having to figure out where to go, I get to pick and experiment new restaurants to try, and we’ll have good conversation time over dinner.

Let me next tell you how romantic my hubby is with gifts. The first few years we were married, T would suggest that we get a fridge, DVD player, vacuum cleaner or some other household appliance when it was one of our birthdays. Looking back on this now, I think those were actually really great decisions, but back then, I found it absolutely unromantic. Some years back, when I turned 40, T actually managed to exceed expectations by successfully throwing me a surprise party. I was absolutely stunned that he could manage a feat such as that, but later figured out that he had delegated much of the planning to our CG. What surprised me even further was that he presented me with a most beautiful bouquet of roses! I was so flabbergasted by this gift that I took photos and photos of the flowers and fussed over them over the following week, trying to keep them alive for as long as possible. When he presented me with a similar large bouquet of flowers the following year, I began to feel alarmed. This year, I told him that much as I am touched by the flowers he gives me, I feel that it’s such a ‘waste’ as the flowers eventually die (and it’s not easy to dry them to make pot pourri) and could he please stop buying them? I realise that over the years, my ideas of romantic expressions of love has changed much. Having an active hand in managing the household budget also plays a contributing factor to me reining in the extravagance.

As I write this blog entry, I’m trying to decide if T is romantic. Yes, he is, but in a different way. And I still enjoy his humour very much. By the way, have you ever noticed that when you were dating, your boyfriend told the funniest jokes, but once you got married, your hubby does a quick transformation to become the corniest man in the world? But… he still manages to make me laugh, and he can make the kids crack up with laughter. He once, over dinner, delivered a punch line so good that the food Big D was eating came out through his nostrils. A God fearing man whom I respect and who can make us all laugh, what more could I ask for?