So many of us can take the lyrics from that famous Neil Diamond Barbra Streisand song “You don’t bring me flowers any more” and apply it to our own lives. Husband used to bring home flowers but stopped doing it at some point fairly early in the game. Wife used to get excited for husband to come home at the end of the day but now barely looks up when he comes through the door. Where once they hated to be parted from each other they now can barely stand to be around each other. When they look at each other it’s no longer with love and excitement but with hatred and anger. They only speak to each other out of necessity. And if there’s intimacy it’s not happening because they so desire each other and are so eager to share their love and passion. He’s just using her body because it’s there and she’s just going along for the ride because she feels she has no choice.
But how much of what happens to relationships happens because we carry around a mental checklist of things spouses must do to show their love? A wife thinks that if her husband loved her he would bring her flowers every day. Or at least bring her flowers regularly enough. He doesn’t bring her flowers. But there’s some little thing he does every day that shows he was thinking of her. However, she is focused only on what she has on her mental checklist. And none of the things he does do every day are on that checklist. So she doesn’t notice what he does do. She only notices what he doesn’t do.
You don’t bring me flowers any more but you bring me apples…
While working on this article I called to my husband to ask him to remind me if there was a time in our marriage when he used to bring me flowers. I seemed to recall that there was such a time but it was so long ago I couldn’t be sure that my memory was accurate. He told me that he did have a habit of bringing me flowers once upon a time. He worked in landscaping and was always around flowers so he brought flowers home for me often back then. I asked him why he stopped bringing me flowers. He said, “Because I wasn’t working around flowers any more.” To which I replied, “But they sell flowers in stores”.
I was trying to get around to the point of suggesting that he was simply no longer inspired to bring me flowers because his feelings towards me had changed. But he said something that completely changed the course of this article. He asked me, “did you notice the apples I brought home for you yesterday?”
It got me thinking. Just about every day there is something thoughtful that my husband does on my behalf. But these things are so routine they go unnoticed. I don’t doubt this is true for many couples. We do small things for each other every day. But because we are so programmed to think that the grandiose actions are the actions that prove love, we overlook the little things. We dwell instead on song lyrics like those of “You don’t bring me flowers any more”. And we set about condemning each other on the basis of our faulty perception of what love is supposed to look like.
It’s the little things…
Just because your husband doesn’t bring you flowers any more doesn’t mean he no longer loves you. And just because your wife doesn’t run to you when you come through the door at the end of the day doesn’t mean she no longer cares. Stop looking for evidence of love based on song lyrics and other misguided romantic notions. Start paying attention to the thoughtful little things your spouse does for you every day.