It was definitely a challenge!
Not because it's challenging to love my husband. Not because I don't like to be loving. Not because I didn't have enough time... But because it was two straight weeks of being intentional to do something special and sticking with it. It meant following through with doing something out of the ordinary. It required being flexible to go off plan but committed enough to stick with it. To do something that would be meaningful to my husband for 14 days... In a row...
I am someone who crashes and burns. When I was a swimmer, I was a sprinter. None of this long distance stuff. I was all out, first ahead while trying to hold on for dear life to the finish before someone could out-touch me. Definitely not a back-halfer. Even as a kid when we'd go to the beach I'd be the girl getting all the kids together to have a sandcastle contest. The bigger the better, the more intricate the winner. Then halfway through building my sandcastle I'd realize I found a sandcrab and my new game was who could find the most sandcrabs, until I found silver dollars and then you know what I was trying to get everyone to find? Sandcastles to silver dollars. Good grief.
Thankfully I've matured a bit and I don't view life or marriage as a sandcastle contest, but because of this ADD nature I have, 14 days seemed like a lot of special intentions to act upon. I'm lucky I have a husband who's really excited to get almost anything or do anything. He's probably the only person in the world who would freak out with excitement (well, if you know David you know he doesn't freak out. At all. But you know what I mean) over a pair of socks in his stocking at Christmas. He'll ask for a grocery store gift card for his birthday. I'm lucky he's not full of crazy expectations! I think I'm the one who put expectations on myself to do these amazing, sweet, romantic gestures.
But 14 days means you can't do something crazy over the top every day. So what did 14 days in a row of simplistic romance teach me?
It's about the other person, and what they would receive as something meaningful.
Like I said, I was kind of worried going into this, and I wanted to do something really special for David every day. But realistically, I had to turn my thoughts to what David would find to be really special and not me. On actual Valentines Day, he wanted a protein shake for dinner! He made himself a protein shake rather than me making some full course meal. He told me how he appreciated the chocolates I'd gotten for him (he ate them all, probably because all he ate for dinner was a protein shake!) and we sat in our half painted kitchen and talked about cars. Later that week he called to tell me how much he enjoyed our Valentines Day. It was meaningful to him-- and to me because we just enjoyed each other rather than focusing on an event, meal or activity.
Planning a bit ahead makes it a little smoother, and a little more fun.
On day 7 I called the hotel that David would be staying at in Alaska and asked the front desk if they could put something cold to drink in his room for when he arrived. Unfortunately I didn't have any information about when he'd get there so by the time he did finally check in around 10 p.m. they had moved his room reservation. No cold drink. Thankfully the hotel was really gracoius and the next night they sent him a gift basket complete with drinks and snacks! If I would have planned ahead a little bit better, the mix up might not have happened (even though that gift basket was kind of cool). Planning ahead also makes it easy to know what special thing you're going to do that day. It allows you to have fun with it rather than thinking about what you should do all day long and then coming up with something silly. We'd been planning all day to go somewhere in the evening and David wasn't very excited about going. As the hour drew near and I still didn't have something special for him planned, I sprung a "Just kidding! We don't have to do that tonight. Tonight is your night. We can do what you want." He was happy of course, but it wasn't very intentional. Plan ahead and you can relax because you know what you'll be doing that day.
Being flexible allows you the freedom to change things up.
What I mean by this is you never know what the day will throw at you. One night I'd made David one of his favorite dinners and when he came home he wasn't very hungry. He'd had a huge lunch at the office. We ate a little bit of it and then enjoyed that dinner again the next night as leftovers. I didn't get my feelings hurt just because I'd decided to cook one night either. Remember, this is about him! Earlier in our marriage, I probably would have gotten upset because I went to the trouble of making a nice meal. The fact that he wasn't very hungry didn't take away from the fact that he felt special that I'd thought of him when deciding what to cook. He actually felt bad. It's okay that the meal didn't go exactly as I planned it in my head. Flexibility really does equal freedom!
If you're planning on doing 14 days for your loved one, I'd encourage you to do it at any time-- not just around Valentines Day! It would actually be kind of cool not to do it around any holiday, because then it's really just about being intentional for your man without a holiday spurring you on. Strive for simplicity. Plan ahead. Be flexible to change things up. Remember who it's for.
Need some ideas? Here are just a few. Some of these I did during my own 14 Days of Love challenge, some of them I got from the workshop I went to at church or from friends:
- Make his coffee in the morning
- Warm up the car
- Put a note in his lunch
- Make his lunch!
- Deliver something to his work
- Make his favorite meal
- Scavenger hunts
- Love letters/notes
- Write a message on the bathroom mirror
- Make signs and put them up wherever or all over at work, on his car, etc...
- Make him a homemade card
- Word games (crossword puzzles, word search)
- Give him a massage
- Do one of his chores
- Watch something he really likes together on TV
- Play a game (twister?! I didn't try this but I think it would be fun!)