I am loved. My husband works out of our home, yet finds time to make meals for me, do most of the grocery shopping, and take care of cars and bills. In a few days, we will celebrate 32 years of sharing the same last name. We have walked through joy and heartbreak together, and in every step he has remained kind and patient. Not once, and trust me, I would remember, has he ever raised his voice toward me or said an unkind word.
For the past 32 years, I have worked as a Quality Control Inspector putting my husband to the test. I’ve subjected him to impatience, sharp words, anger, silence, and rigorous door slamming. No matter how I act or what I do, he remains the same, his goodness still in tact.
Does he have flaws? Yes. The most egregious: he cannot read my mind. I have powerful thoughts that I beam toward him on a regular basis. Since he claims to love me, I don’t feel it is necessary to actually say what I want or need. Obviously, his goodness has limits.
One of the greatest manifestations of his love is buying me dark chocolate. He regularly buys a box of truffles or other delights and puts them in the cupboard so that I can medicate as needed. Last month, he came home with two bags of bite-sized treats and a container of dark chocolate mint balls. I usually eat one piece a day, though two pieces a day is not unheard of. Sometimes I take some to my coworkers, and I also share with my daughter and grandchild because my husband eats only sweet, milky chocolate.
I worked on emptying the two bags of candy, which seemed to disappear more rapidly than usual, saving the dark chocolate mints for last. Then one evening last week, my husband walked in the living room with the clear container of dark chocolate mints.
“How do you like them?” he asked.
I looked at the half-empty container. Although I found it hard to breathe, I managed to get a few words out. “I don’t know. I haven’t eaten any. Have you been eating my dark chocolate mints?”
“I don’t really like them,” he said, “but I’ve been choking them down.”
Choking them down! Horrors! Were they deadly? Defective? Radioactive? Unsafe for older women? Did they have some ingredient that would harm me if swallowed? What depths of love drove him to risk his life for me?
Over the next few days, he managed to choke down the rest of the mints, saving me from that fearful ordeal. During the day while I was at school, I tried to stay occupied and not think about what he was going through; otherwise, I would envision him sitting in a corner, carefully removing the lid from those innocuous-looking but life-threatening mints, forcing himself to eat them, possibly choking, and doing it all for me.
I will never know what that good man spared me from and endured on my behalf, because I never tasted even one of those mints. For days after, I lauded him, recalled his deed, and thanked him for his heroism. To prevent me from making too much of his courage, he placed a big box of dark chocolate truffles under my pillow. He thinks this will still my incessant praise. He is wrong.
He’s a humble man and doesn’t want to talk about the mints and his act of bravery, but I do. It’s one more reason I love the man.