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For Your Marriage

Meet Sara and Justin. They married in June 2011, they welcomed their first child in August 2012.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Sara: If I had to describe Justin in a few words, practical would definitely be near the top of the list. As sweet as Justin is, many times it’s hard for him to be less than practical. As we were dating, this made for some fairly interesting Valentine’s Days and birthdays.

The first year we were dating, he bought me a t-shirt for my birthday. While I really like the t-shirt (and wore it until it became too small due to my growing baby belly), it wasn’t what I was expecting.

This year, we’ve spent a lot of money and we both realize we have some major expenses coming up with our new house and baby on the way. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting flowers, candy, or a card, even though I suspected Justin would acknowledge the day in his own way.

Monday (February 13), I was blessed to be able to stay at home with a snow day. In addition to putting in several hours of work remotely, I also was able to continue to find places for items in our house. In addition, we had a doctor’s appointment where we once again were able to hear baby’s heartbeat. As we were waiting to see the doctor, I discussed with Justin what we wanted to have for dinner. He was agreeable to my suggestions and we continued to discuss what had occurred on our separate days.

When we got home, Justin surprised me with flowers and a card and suggested we go out to dinner.

Justin: I had decided I wanted to surprise Sara so I didn’t tell her what I had planned.

I think I like a lot of other guys struggle with the “expectations” our culture places on Valentine’s Day. I like showing my wife that I love her, but I also have a stubborn streak. I hate being told what to do, and that includes being told how to treat my wife due to the “expectations” of Valentine’s Day.

However, the snow day gave me an opportunity to surprise Sara. This allowed me to choose to show Sara my love of my own free will, rather than out of expectation. At the same time, it was nice to be able to make Valentine’s Day important, as I know it is important to Sara.

Sara: We had a wonderful time at dinner, and it really got me thinking about how different life is as a married couple. Even my idea of romance is different!

A year ago, I would have been upset at the thought of not getting flowers and having a nice meal (preferably in a restaurant). Now that we truly have shared finances and goals, I’m able to see the more practical side of having a nice dinner in or saving a few pennies. After all, some of these small sacrifices were what enabled us to buy a home so soon after we got married. In addition, I’m more able to see the little ways Justin shows me he loves me on a day-in, day-out basis. This includes giving me the better piece of meat at dinner, fixing dinner most of the time, and simply serving me and being my helpmate in every way.

We watched the movie “There Be Dragons” this weekend. It is a story about a deeply unhappy man living in the midst of a civil war in Spain who encounters St. Josemaria Escriva. While Josemaria Escriva is a side character, I was struck when he discussed how marriage makes us holy by uncountable small sacrifices throughout the day for your spouse. It challenged me to consider how often I truly sacrifice for Justin, including by doing the dishes by hand (his least favorite chore) or by being the one willing to get up off the sofa to fix our bedtime snack.

After being married for nearly eight months, I’d say the most romantic thing Justin can do for me is sacrifice for me and our family. Sometimes, it’s not going to a sporting event so he can take me out for dinner. Other times, it’s simply saving the last piece of pizza for me. Regardless, there’s a million different ways every day that Justin shows me he loves me, and I’m very blessed to be his wife.

Justin: I might add, Sara often sacrifices for me in small ways. For example, while we went out to dinner on Monday night, Sara spent Tuesday evening (Valentine’s Day) on the couch with me, watching the Alabama basketball game. You might say Sara got the Valentine’s Day every girl expects on Monday, and I got the Valentine’s Day every guy wants on Tuesday. Roll Tide! I love you Sara.