Fifty Hangers of Love

It is so unsettling to hear about all the marriages that are struggling today. I guess it is not surprising because it is a successful strategy of the devil to attack marriages, destroy the family structure, and leave wounded adults and children in the aftermath. It is important to be wise to the enemy’s tactics because he uses pop culture to fuel marital tension.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. – 1 Peter 5:8

Television, movies, and books distort romance, indoctrinating us with false ideas of what intimacy and love look like. They create unrealistic standards that neither spouse can live up to. If your husband doesn’t meet pop culture’s idea of romance, it could leave you feeling under appreciated, unloved, and vulnerable to temptation.

Romance is not some tawdry affair like some recent book-to-movie would like to propagate. It isn’t a sensual affair with a controlling, abusive man, even if he is wearing a suit and tie (sorry Christian Grey). It is a journey of mutual submission and respect, where love grows because you work at it. It is where you value the other person more highly than yourself.

Also, romance doesn’t have to be a candlelit dinner, strolls across the beach, or weekend getaways. Please don’t misunderstand – these are all great. But, romance can also be snuggling in bed with your husband and kids watching a Disney movie or stacking wood together in the backyard. True love is about feeling safe, understood, and valued.

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I felt it appropriate to share with you my most memorable Valentine’s Day. It was eleven years ago, and we had just moved into our new home. The house we lived in previously was a restored 1908 home. If you know anything about houses from this era, you would know that there weren’t any closets. Like, none! So, when we designed our new house, I was more than excited to include an oversized, walk-in closet in the plans.

Now, Valentine’s Day comes rolling around and my husband comes in with a beautifully wrapped gift in hand and a childish smirk on his face. I unwrap the paper to see the strangest Valentine’s Day gift ever – 50 wooden hangers. Before I could even respond, he went around the corner, grabbed another box, and handed me another similarly wrapped box. You guessed it – 50 more hangers. This ritual repeated until we had enough hangers to replace all those plastic and wiry ones currently in our closet.

To a normal woman, the response to this odd gesture of love might have been a slap in the face. But for me, it was the perfect gift. My husband had heard me say time and time again that I wanted these hangers to finish off the new closet, but I couldn’t justify the cost with so many other things needed in the new house.

My husband listened to me. He heard me. He understood me. And he wanted to make me happy. And for those reasons, I will remember this Valentine’s Day forever. Since then, I have received wonderful gifts for Valentine’s Day, but none will ever replace how loved I felt the year of the hangers.

Ladies, we need to keep in mind that a successful marriage does not evolve in a two hour Hallmark movie. Marriage is about the duration, submitting yourself fully to the other person. It involves communicating your feelings, sacrificing your needs and wants for the other person, and loving even when you don’t feel like it.

“So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” – Matthew 19:6