This story can be found in my book, "The Majorettes are Back in Town."
It wasn't the flowers, candy or twirling me across the kitchen floor that earned my husband a gold star on his romance chart. Instead, his most romantic move was when he scared the bejibbers out of our son.
First of all, I want it to be known that I really do have two of the most wonderful, honorable Godly young men you could find anywhere. They are charming, helpful, sympathetic, witty, and yet ... at the end of the day, they are still teenage boys ... sigh.
Just like every other teenager in the world, they've gone through some rough patches and temporarily lost their minds. I've tried to explain that the decision making part of a man's brain isn't fully developed until age 24, and even then, it's questionable. We've tried to guide them through their journey of strange hair styles, choices in friends and reptiles for pets, but there never seems to be an end to their strange behavior or wacky way of expressing their emotions -- and that's exactly where the romance came in.While sitting at the dinner table and reaching for the cornbread, the eldest, who was then in the golden age of middle school, decided to unload and let me have it in no uncertain terms. I can't even remember what he said, or why he said it, but his hormonal words were vicious, hateful, and all around mean, especially when you consider they were aimed at the woman who brought him into this world and put the cornbread on the table to start with.
I caught my breath at his boldness, but before I could say a word, my dear husband snatched the young boy's chin between his thumb and finger, glared into his wide blue eyes and with the slowness of syrup in January and the bitterness of acid said, "Don't you ever speak to MY WIFE that way again!
Both boys froze in their seats and one gave a little shudder. The beagle even slunk out from under the table and headed for the hallway.
By using the words, "my wife" instead of "your mother" my husband took the issue away from me and instead shifted the insult to him. He could have easily said, "Knock it off" or "Watch your mouth," but his choice of words revealed several things to both boys -- even the innocent one who was just as bug-eyed as his naughty brother.
Number one, my husband's statement told the boys that their parents are a team. Don't try to divide us, and if you go after one of us, you'll have to deal with us both. Marriage is a partnership and it's not going to be broken in half by some smart-mouthed teenager. In other words, in our house, Daddy doesn't laugh when you pick on Mama and Mama's likely to come after you if you mess with her man.
Number two, no matter how much we've taught them that women can stand on their own, we live in a beautiful region where gentlemen defend ladies, and that goes double when the lady happens to be your wife. When our boys are married some day, we hope -- no, we know -- they will do the same for their wives. And if they have a daughter (please dear God, just one girl), even better.
And third, by using the phrase, "my wife," my sweet man laid out a plan of family loyalty. If Daddy defends "his wife," then someday, he'll defend "his son" too -- even if that son has a sassy mouth that's begging for a bar of Ivory Soap. Family sticks together and we don't take kindly to those who gnaw on us, whether they're on the outside looking in, or sitting at our dinner table sporting a mouthful of braces we paid for.
Come to think of it, maybe the reason I now have two excellent (and still occasionally mischievous but rarely rude) sons is because they have a Daddy who loves and defends their Mama, and that is the most romantic thing any woman could ever want.
Now, pass the cornbread, watch your mouth, and have a happy Valentine's Day.