I can count on one hand the number of times my husband has verbally apologized to me in the eight years we have known each other.
I hear him say the words “I love you” maybe once a week.
I cannot expect any comforting words from him when I am venting about my day.
But not a time goes by after an argument when he does not find some way to make up for it by cooking dinner, buying me chocolate, giving me an extra-long hug.
Not a week goes by when he does not make the weight on my shoulders lighter by going to the grocery store, making breakfast for the family daily, and even bringing me my coffee while I am still in bed.
I cannot expect comfort in words, but I was that lucky wife who received flowers at work just because I was having a rough day.
Once upon a time, the lack of words bothered me. I wanted to hear his love. I wanted to hear affirmation. I wanted to hear the apology. However, his rough combat Veteran exterior does not lend to him finding the right words.
But I learned in time that just because I am the lover with words—complete with hand-written letters and sappy Facebook posts (after all, I am a writer)—does not mean my husband is the same. Yet he has never lacked in speaking his love for me. In truth, it is up to me to listen to his language.
And oh, is his love loud and clear.
Even in the pouring rain, he is right there waiting for me to pull up in my van, ready to open our property gate so I don’t have to get out and get wet. He is not embarrassed to go buy me tampons—and he knows exactly what brand and box I get. He does not shy away from dirty diapers. He takes an ardent interest in any extracurricular activity our kids choose to sign up for—even if it is something he has never done.
When the power goes out, he is ready with chopped wood for the fireplace to keep us warm.
When it’s payday, he is up at 4 a.m., taking two trips to town to fill up both our vehicles with gas. As much as I might complain about how I am the only one who cares to clean around here, there are tasks I never have to worry about like changing light bulbs or dusting our ceiling fans because he is always on top of it. And he is so in tune with our household’s routines, that I rarely have to speak up for help with our teenager, toddler, and infant.
So yes, when he does say he loves me, my heart skips a beat. And in the moments his words awkwardly do compliment me, I wish I had the presence of mind to record it.
But at the end of the day, I would rather all the right actions with no words, than all the right words with no action.
After all, isn’t love a verb?