I went to the dry cleaners one morning to pick up my clothes, and they told me that the bill had already been paid. They handed me the plastic-covered hangers, one of which had an envelope stapled to it. In my car, I opened the envelope and found a “thinking of you” card from Kevin. I thought, this is a sweet way to start the day!
A few weeks later, I came home to my second-floor apartment to find a case of Dasani and a case of Diet Coke sitting outside my door. At that stage in my single life, I often purchased my Diet Coke bottles one or two at a time, so I felt like I had won the lottery. Not only did I have what seemed like an endless supply of my essential nectar of life, but I didn’t have to tote the heavy cases up the stairs.
Early in our courtship, Kevin set the stage for these kinds of generous gestures, which were matched in their romantic thoughtfulness only by their practicality. These gifts meant way more to me than flowers or stuffed animals, not just because I was dirt-poor, but because they were unique ways to show affection. I had received flowers and chocolates in my past, but to have my dry-cleaning paid for by a new boyfriend was definitely a first.
Soon the gestures were popping up on a regular basis, and although I felt spoiled, I never took it for granted. I still felt a ping of happiness when I approached the stylist’s counter with my freshly colored hair and she told me that Kevin had paid for my salon visit. I was still delighted when I got into my car to find a full tank of gas. Hard-to-reach light-bulbs were changed. Clogged drains were suddenly clear. This was romance, and I was hooked!
On top of it, Kevin did the more traditional boyfriend things too. He held my hand, opened my car door and sent flowers for my birthday. He introduced me to the concept of multiple greeting cards, giving me both humorous and sentimental Hallmark messages for every occasion. One Christmas I had 4 separate cards under the tree.
Now that we are married, the gestures still continue, and yet still continue to amaze me. Last week he took two of my credit card bills and –get this- he paid them off! I know what you are thinking; that it is what married people do, but I have never been married before, so it is new to me. I certainly have never had a paid-off credit card before, so the overall feeling is extremely foreign. The best part is that there were no strings attached. He didn’t say, “I’ll pay this off, but you have to promise not to use it again.” I’m pretty sure it is implied, but it is still nice not to have to hear it.
The other fringe benefit of being married is that members of my extended circle are now the happy beneficiaries of the Kevin sweetness. Mom gets her WI-FI hooked up, the cats have a month’s supply of canned treats at the ready, and my favorite charities receive donations. Kevin attends all family and work functions, and has picked me up when I had to deliver cars for my job on the weekend.
I don’t tell you all of this to brag, although I am sure it comes across that way. I am simply blown away by someone who is so selfless, and feel compelled to chronicle it for posterity. I also want to try to let Kevin’s thoughtfulness inspire others, as it has me. I try to make similarly kind gestures, such as leaving cards in his sock drawer, making the French Toast he likes on Sundays or stocking him up on his favorite “Life is Good” t-shirts.
Perhaps one person will read about Kevin and be inspired to say to his wife, “hey honey, give me the keys to your car so I can fill it with gas.” Or maybe a wife will surprise her husband by paying for a round of golf. (Or a round of drinks afterward.) Being thoughtful requires a little creativity, a little paying attention and a little inspiration. Next time your spouse’s car is behind you in the drive-through line at Chick-Fil-A, tell the cashier that you are paying for your car and his car. For the cost of a sausage biscuit, you both have started the day with a little sweetness. That’s practical and romantic.