My husband and I own matching “Mr.” and “Mrs.” stockings that I proudly display year after year. However, in seasons past they’ve always gone unfilled. During the gift-giving hustle and bustle of Christmas, we always give to everyone else that we hold so dear but we seldom give to one another. This year though, as I sat staring at the vacant “Mr.” stocking, I felt a longing for that to change.

To the man who gives me so much, I knew I wanted to make him a priority, even though he couldn’t care less about a stocking. I could fill it with candy and an array of odds and ends, but I wanted something more precious, more meaningful. Then it came to me. Why not fill his stocking this season with all of the things that have gone unsaid over the past year? Things I was too rushed or too preoccupied to take the time to say.

I tend to overlook so much and fail to let him know how much I truly notice and appreciate about him. For instance, this man of mine gives me a kiss before he leaves for work each morning. It’s an act of love that gives me a special assurance that no matter what the day may bring, we can get through it together. So much devotion is shown through that daily kiss, making me feel solid and whole, yet I have never taken the time to tell him how much it means to me.

I’ve also never truly expressed how I couldn’t balance it all without him. From picking up last-minute items from the grocery store to taking our daughter to school on a snowy morning, he does so many thoughtful things to make my days easier and lighter.

Sadly, he often hears more complaints than admiration from me. He is a man of few words, and he often hears me criticize him for that. However, when the going gets tough, he is the man who can comfort and soothe all my brokenness without ever saying a word. In moments when I feel completely shattered on the inside, he can mend me with his presence and touch alone.

He sees past all of my flaws and continues to believe in me, despite the many mistakes I’ve made. He never pushes me to do more or to be more, but accepts me wholeheartedly as I am. When my insecurities and self-doubts fight to take over my identity, he grounds me by reminding me of all that I truly am. When inadequacy sets in and I feel I don’t measure up, he has faith in me, allowing me to gain more confidence in myself.

When I’m running through my bouts of insanity or putting my hardened edges on display, he sees right past it. He listens to my emotions, whether they come off raw or undone, and he tries his best to understand. He gives me time to work through feelings with a certain sense of patience that allows me to breathe, letting it all pass.

In our family, he is the provider and protector, allowing more peace and contentment to flow through our days. He provides the roof over our heads that we share so much love and laughter under. He gives us a home where we make memories with ease, knowing we are lovingly cared for. From the food we eat to the clothes we wear, he makes it easier for us to live carefree and unburdened. I don’t thank him often enough for the comfort and the security he enables us to have.

These are just a few of the things I fail to show gratitude for as I should, and I could come up with so much more. This Christmas, I fully intend to express these unspoken words in hopes he truly feels how much he is loved and adored as a husband. As he pulls slips of thankfulness out of his stocking this year, I hope he feels deeply appreciated. The small acts of love he displays on a daily basis do not go unseen. Through my written words of affirmation, may his stocking be filled with meaning this year that conveys just how meaningful and significant he is to me and our life. I can think of no greater gift than that.

Ashley Chandler

I am a Nebraska resident, living out my life on a ranch. I am a faithful farmer's wife and  a devoted mother to a beautiful six-year-old daughter. My view from home enriches my life in a multitude of ways and I enjoy connecting with so many other voices that are sharing their perspectives from home as well!