Valentines and the two-fold approach

Published 10:21 am Wednesday, February 10, 2016

My friend T. wondered if that man of hers even took the time to read them, the notes she tucked in his shirt pocket every ironing day. Back then, as she sprayed the starch and swiped the sleeves, she’d write a little love line and put it there where he’d find it when he wore those shirts. And T. prayed, too, as she pressed the pinpoint cotton collars and the curled-up hems. Yes, she’d pray for that man of hers who was designing half of Madison County and had the mayor’s number on speed dial but couldn’t make it to their kids’ soccer games. Or church. Or home so very much.

And she wondered — without saying a word — about his not saying a word about those little gestures of love, the ones that spanned a course of years.

In time the children grew (along with his business), and the family address changed to a fancy subdivision where the pool guy made regular stops. T.’s husband’s shirts were taken to the cleaners, leaving her more time. To pray.

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But what about those love lines T. had penned? Well, they ended up as lifelines — those notes and a hundred other things she did without expecting any sure return. Her beloved told her as much when he finally showed her the drawer where he had kept them — every last one of them — for all those years. So when the couple and their teenagers eventually lost the house with the pool and their sure footing and pretty much everything else they had, they held on tight to each other and made it through. Then somehow T.’s man, the one who had drawn up business plans and flown to New York every Monday, ended up living in Kosciusko where he now works hard as a preacher, telling who ever will listen that life’s not about big houses and achieving American dreams, but about God and real love stories.

And I think it’s fitting to share a story like theirs on a Wednesday like this, as Valentine cards empty from store shelves. I think it’s fitting because one of Hallmark’s pre-fab love lines may do the trick this Sunday for some, but any set of sweethearts serious about standing the test of time should look hard at T.’s two-fold approach to marital longevity (since time will surely tell it — that there is no Love Potion No. 9).

Her plan was pretty simple. She believed in the practical demonstration of love, thus the notes, and she believed in God, thus the prayers.

So maybe you’re like me, thinking that’s a good two-sided coin to carry around in your heart pocket, no matter what kind of Valentine’s Day you’re anticipating this year.

On the other hand, maybe you’re thinking, “Who’s anticipating Valentine’s Day?” Because stories like those of T. and her husband, well they’re just stories, right? Not happening in your world. Your marriage is hanging on by a thread, and a frayed one at that.

T. would say be thankful for the thread.

And right after that she’d say, “Try tending your marriage. Try the two-fold approach.”

Wesson resident Kim Henderson is a freelance writer who writes for The Daily Leader. Contact her at