Last Friday my husband came home from work with a bouquet of flowers; coral colored roses which are my favorite. It wasn’t my birthday or our wedding or dating anniversary, he wasn’t bringing them home as an apology or a peace offering after a fight. He brought them home because that’s what he has done every week for the past 35 plus years.

My husband and I met my first day of college. I was not yet 18 and he was 20. We dated for almost six years before we married; this August we will celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. It’s hard to believe we have been together for two-thirds of my life.

When we were in college my husband started buying me flowers that were sold in the student union on Fridays. The flowers cost one dollar for three carnations of assorted colors and, even though my husband was on a tight budget and had no money for extras, he presented me with those flowers week after week. Even when we were mad at each other about something he bought me those three carnations, which I put in an empty wine bottle because I had no vase, and I always thanked him with a kiss.

The flowers are representative of the man my husband is and one of the reasons I thought we could be a good fit for one another. I had a very short list when it came to choosing a partner but I was not willing to compromise on any of the things on that list. I wanted someone who was kind, traditional and intelligent. The rest was up for grabs. I figured if I found someone who was those three things we would have a good shot at a happy life. I had seen plenty of marriages that had dissolved or were fraught with discord to know to look for qualities that would stand the test of time. I am now old enough to understand that there is also a component of luck involved in staying happily married. People change, people give up on each other. Sometimes people give up on themselves and are so unhappy that they simply cannot be there for anyone else. But even back then I knew that a person who is kind is likely to remain kind; the essence of a person doesn’t change.

My husband shows his kindness in countless small ways, rather than with grand gestures. When he returns from work he always asks me if I need anything before he eats his dinner and is happy to make me a cup of tea when I request one. He remembers to pick up my favorite magazine when he passes a newsstand, always replaces the toilet paper roll (he’s actually better at that than I am), checks in with me when he has a free moment at work, and is supportive and encouraging; I can guarantee he will share this piece on Facebook as he does with everything I write. 

The two of us have weathered a lot, which I realize most people do if they are married long enough. However, our marriage was tested early on by the loss of our infant son. Although we were both so young we learned how to lean on each other while still allowing space so that we could grieve individually. Over time the losses added up; my beloved brother, both our fathers. My husband spent long hours at the office building a career and with the addition of each child the little time we had for each other diminished further.

I was often left to parent our three high energy sons by myself, a job I frequently found lonely and exhausting. Occasionally I imagined a life back in Boston working at my old job and I suppose he had his own fantasies. There were nights we went to sleep angry at each other; which I had heard you weren’t supposed to do if you wanted a happy marriage. We probably broke other rules on the how-to-stay-happily-married list as well. But we always managed to find our way back to each other. He has exhibited the steadfastness I saw early in our relationship and I knew he was not one to give up on us.

The flowers my husband brings me now cost much more than a dollar and are much more exotic than those carnations, but the meaning behind them has stayed the same. Even if we are angry with each other, even when we haven’t brought our best selves to our marriage the flowers represent the commitment we made to each other and continue to make week after week.

I am not saying that weekly flowers are the key to a happy marriage. In fact, I don’t believe there is one set of rules for a happy marriage because no two marriages are the same. But if you remain resolute and recall why you chose one another back at the start, the good times will outweigh the bad. Each week, in fact each day, is a chance to look back and remember and then look ahead and recommit.

And to my husband; thank you for all the flowers and I love you.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Marlene Fischer

Marlene Kern Fischer is a wife, mother of three sons, food shopper extraordinaire, blogger and college essay editor. She attended Brandeis University, from which she graduated cum laude with a degree in English Literature. In addition to Her View From Home, her work has been featured on CollegateParent, Grown and Flown, Kveller, The Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, Beyond Your Blog, The SITS Girls, and MockMom. You can read more of Marlene’s work on her site here:

I Thought Our Friendship Would Be Unbreakable

In: Friendship, Journal, Relationships
Two friends selfie

The message notification pinged on my phone. A woman, once one of my best friends, was reaching out to me via Facebook. Her message simply read, “Wanted to catch up and see how life was treating you!”  I had very conflicting feelings. It seemed with that one single message, a flood of memories surfaced. Some held some great moments and laughter. Other memories held disappointment and hurt of a friendship that simply had run its course. Out of morbid curiosity, I clicked on her profile page to see how the years had been treating her. She was divorced and still...

Keep Reading

The First 10 Years: How Two Broken People Kept Their Marriage from Breaking

In: Journal, Marriage, Relationships
The First Ten Years: How Two Broken People Kept Their Marriage from Breaking

We met online in October of 2005, by way of a spam email ad I was THIS CLOSE to marking as trash. Meet Single Christians! My cheese alert siren sounded loudly, but for some reason, I unchecked the delete box and clicked through to the site. We met face-to-face that Thanksgiving. As I awaited your arrival in my mother’s kitchen, my dad whispered to my little brother, “Hide your valuables. Stacy has some guy she met online coming for Thanksgiving dinner.” We embraced for the first time in my parents’ driveway. I was wearing my black cashmere sweater with the...

Keep Reading

To The Mother Who Is Overwhelmed

In: Inspiration, Motherhood
Tired woman with coffee sitting at table

I have this one head. It is a normal sized head. It didn’t get bigger because I had children. Just like I didn’t grow an extra arm with the birth of each child. I mean, while that would be nice, it’s just not the case. We keep our one self. And the children we add on each add on to our weight in this life. And the head didn’t grow more heads because we become a wife to someone. Or a boss to someone. We carry the weight of motherhood. The decisions we must make each day—fight the shorts battle...

Keep Reading

You’re a Little Less Baby Today Than Yesterday

In: Journal, Motherhood
Toddler sleeping in mother's arms

Tiny sparkles are nestled in the wispy hair falling across her brow, shaken free of the princess costume she pulled over her head this morning. She’s swathed in pink: a satiny pink dress-up bodice, a fluffy, pink, slightly-less-glittery-than-it-was-two-hours-ago tulle skirt, a worn, soft pink baby blanket. She’s slowed long enough to crawl into my lap, blinking heavy eyelids. She’s a little less baby today than she was only yesterday.  Soon, she’ll be too big, too busy for my arms.  But today, I’m rocking a princess. The early years will be filled with exploration and adventure. She’ll climb atop counters and...

Keep Reading

Dear Husband, I Loved You First

In: Marriage, Motherhood, Relationships
Man and woman kissing in love

Dear husband, I loved you first. But often, you get the last of me. I remember you picking me up for our first date. I spent a whole hour getting ready for you. Making sure every hair was in place and my make-up was perfect. When you see me now at the end of the day, the make-up that is left on my face is smeared. My hair is more than likely in a ponytail or some rat’s nest on the top of my head. And my outfit, 100% has someone’s bodily fluids smeared somewhere. But there were days when...

Keep Reading

Stop Being a Butthole Wife

In: Grief, Journal, Marriage, Relationships
Man and woman sit on the end of a dock with arms around each other

Stop being a butthole wife. No, I’m serious. End it.  Let’s start with the laundry angst. I get it, the guy can’t find the hamper. It’s maddening. It’s insanity. Why, why, must he leave piles of clothes scattered, the same way that the toddler does, right? I mean, grow up and help out around here, man. There is no laundry fairy. What if that pile of laundry is a gift in disguise from a God you can’t (yet) see? Don’t roll your eyes, hear me out on this one. I was a butthole wife. Until my husband died. The day...

Keep Reading

I Can’t Be Everyone’s Chick-fil-A Sauce

In: Friendship, Journal, Living, Relationships
woman smiling in the sun

A couple of friends and I went and grabbed lunch at Chick-fil-A a couple of weeks ago. It was delightful. We spent roughly $20 apiece, and our kids ran in and out of the play area barefoot and stinky and begged us for ice cream, to which we responded, “Not until you finish your nuggets,” to which they responded with a whine, and then ran off again like a bolt of crazy energy. One friend had to climb into the play tubes a few times to save her 22-month-old, but it was still worth every penny. Every. Single. One. Even...

Keep Reading

Love Notes From My Mother in Heaven

In: Faith, Grief, Journal, Living
Woman smelling bunch of flowers

Twelve years have passed since my mother exclaimed, “I’ve died and gone to Heaven!” as she leaned back in her big donut-shaped tube and splashed her toes, enjoying the serenity of the river.  Twelve years since I stood on the shore of that same river, 45 minutes later, watching to see if the hopeful EMT would be able to revive my mother as she floated toward his outstretched hands. Twelve years ago, I stood alone in my bedroom, weak and trembling, as I opened my mother’s Bible and all the little keepsakes she’d stowed inside tumbled to the floor.  It...

Keep Reading

Sometimes Friendships End, No Matter How Hard You Try

In: Friendship, Journal, Relationships
Sad woman alone without a friend

I tried. We say these words for two reasons. One: for our own justification that we made an effort to complete a task; and two: to admit that we fell short of that task. I wrote those words in an e-mail tonight to a friend I had for nearly 25 years after not speaking to her for eight months. It was the third e-mail I’ve sent over the past few weeks to try to reconcile with a woman who was more of a sister to me at some points than my own biological sister was. It’s sad when we drift...

Keep Reading

Goodbye to the House That Built Me

In: Grown Children, Journal, Living, Relationships
Ranch style home as seen from the curb

In the winter of 1985, while I was halfway done growing in my mom’s belly, my parents moved into a little brown 3 bedroom/1.5 bath that was halfway between the school and the prison in which my dad worked as a corrections officer. I would be the first baby they brought home to their new house, joining my older sister. I’d take my first steps across the brown shag carpet that the previous owner had installed. The back bedroom was mine, and mom plastered Smurf-themed wallpaper on the accent wall to try to get me to sleep in there every...

Keep Reading