One of my adjusting to marriage surprises was how little importance my husband placed on holidays. His explanation that no amount of fuss on a special day could make up for not treating your family right every day in between seemed a little lame at the time. But I loved him and knew he loved me, so we marked our special days quietly, with little fuss.
When kids came along, I had to agree that low-key birthday celebrations were far more fun than the stressfully overdone parties some parents give for kids too young to understand or cope. And he eventually came to appreciate my family’s Christmas traditions. Everyone has their own way of doing things. What’s important is enjoying your own traditions, and respecting others with differing traditions.
After more than 30 years together, I’m glad to say what my husband offered was no lame excuse for not remembering dates; it has instead been a way of life devoted to honoring one another each day. He treats me (and others) with kindness, love, and respect. Such a one could (probably) be forgiven if he forgets an anniversary (although he hasn’t yet). And nice as flowers are, the dozen compliments he gave for my birthday were better than a dozen roses.
As I grow older, I see even more the value of marking special days in thoughtful ways. A birthday is a good time to give thanks to and for a friend; the changing seasons are a reminder to reflect on the course of our lives and make any corrections needed; the first day of the week to remember that we have been buried with Christ in baptism and raised to a new life in him. But it is what we do between the special days that determines who we are and what sort of relationships we have.