Help me show my wife just how much I love her.
September 29, 2008 1:40 PM   Subscribe

My wife and I have been together for 10 years and for the next few, she is giving me a gift that I fear I can never repay. I recently began medical school at the age of 32 and, as you might imagine, just getting to this point required several serious sacrifices on her part. I've just finished my first "block" and have a week of vacation before the next block begins. I'm at home all day while she's working and I want to spend my time showing her how much I love her, how much I appreciate her sacrifices, and how I realize that I couldn't do this without her. I'm doing the normal things like making nice dinners, cleaning the house, and tackling honey-do items. But what else can I do? I'm looking to the hive to help me be creative.

Of course, it's her money I'd be spending, so spending lots of money isn't an option.

She doesn't have to work this Friday if that helps get your creative juices flowing.

Thanks in advance!
posted by stuboo to Human Relations (15 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Can you two go on a day-long outing to a nearby natural park that she's said "I'd like to see that some day" and take along a picnic lunch? It would be a low cost but memorable option.
posted by onhazier at 1:55 PM on September 29, 2008

This is a very sweet question. I think the three things you listed (nice dinners, clean house, and some extra work around the house) will be great already. If you want to add something I'd say set up a special "date" evening at home with just the two of you... I think it would be a blast to plan something like this and you could be thrifty with things around the house. Oh, and you should just tell her you have special plans, but make the actual event a surprise! Here are some ideas off the top of my head...

Beach night... you could make festive mixed drinks, go for a dip in the tub, get out the beach towels and chairs, and lounge around with a nice (maybe seafood?) dinner.

Scavenger hunt! Make it creative... you could have her go around the house and you could write little bits describing memories you have of your time together based on areas in the house, or make it a poem about her she has to string together... something fun but writing-based would fit the circumstances. Maybe make the last treasure she finds a bottle of wine for the two of you to share.

Spa night! With a little bit of planning and prep on your hand it might be wonderful to set up your home as a full-service spa for a night. You probably have lots of spa tools on hand already... give her a nice massage, find out information about facials and give her one (clean her face with a warm towel, do a face mask, clean off again with warm towel, then moisturize), let her soak her feet while you paint her fingernails and then paint her toes as well. Just do some research so you can do these things as "spa-like" as possible. I would die and go to heaven if a SO did this for me. :)

You could always play on some themes too... like having a movie-night date, but at home. Make up some popcorn and then have something yummy for dessert afterwards so you can discuss the movie and enjoy each other's company with little stress.

Have a great week!
posted by warble at 2:13 PM on September 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

Two ideas, both of which assume you have a digital camera:

Organize a scavenger hunt for her that features a list of clues that refer to your favorite places to spend time together, things that either represent or refer to your inside jokes, etc, that she can find in an easily walkable area. Rather than having to buy or collect things, just take pictures of her with these things/in these places.

Make her a silly thank-you picture book: Write a brief note letting her know how much you appreciate what she's done, and is doing, for you. Put each word on a different piece of paper, then take pictures of yourself holding them. Wander around town, stand in funny poses, whatever. Print the photos, put them in a photo album, and you've got an incredibly unique thank you note that she will always treasure (if she's the least bit sentimental, that is).
posted by amelioration at 2:15 PM on September 29, 2008 [2 favorites]

As part of our wedding anniversary celebration I took some sidewalk chalk and wrote reasons why my husband is great on our steps and sidewalk, accompanied by little pictures I thought he would like. It cost $1 and he was really flattered. Sometimes it's nice to declare these things publicly.
posted by Alison at 2:34 PM on September 29, 2008 [2 favorites]

Sit down across the table from her, after one of your nice dinners, or maybe in that nice park someone above referenced, sit across from her and tell her that you love her more than you've ever loved any human being. More than you knew could be possible. Tell her how grateful you are for her help. Tell her how grateful you are for the fact that she is here on this ball of dirt and mud, how it makes it worthwhile for you. Tell her the five things that you think of most when you consider her, and yeah, that list can include how you crave her loins but it had best not be limited to lust, or be top-heavy with it; you're not children after all. Best of all, write all of this down on the best paper you can find and give it to her in a letter as you sit across from her, touch her free hand as she reads it, look her dead in the eye and tell her yes, yes sweetie, every goddamn bit of it is true.
posted by dancestoblue at 2:54 PM on September 29, 2008

Response by poster: These are great. Keep 'em coming!
posted by stuboo at 3:09 PM on September 29, 2008

For sure, write her a long list of things you love about her, ranging from the profound to the asinine. Maybe with diagrammed photos of her, and her stuff and your home, nostalgic stuff, things you've done together. Maybe form it as a book that can be added to later, give her part of it now, and parts later. You could include snippets of old email conversations with or about her, and mementoes from dates or past events if you have them, etc.

You could also record a video or audio message to her and give it to her at the end of a nice dinner or whatever- - but tell her it's a time capsule and set a date to open it (maybe next anniversary? A year into your medical practice? Whatever.) You can use an app like TimeCave to remind you when to open it & where it's hidden.

In fact, while you're at it, you could TimeCave her some random sweet notes that will appear in her email in the months & even years to come (maybe when you're too busy to spend as much time together as you'd like to).

You sound nice. have a good week!
posted by pseudostrabismus at 3:14 PM on September 29, 2008

Write her letters. But not the way that others have suggested.

It's wonderful that you want to acknowledge her help/support/love now. I also think that you ought to write her some wonderful letters to be opened while you're not around*--on those long nights when you're at the hospital and she's at home without you. Draw pictures. Pack the letters with sticky notes that she can put up around the house while you're on call. Throw in a coupon or two for takeout food. Other ideas: Arrange for flowers to be delivered. Call her best friend and ask her to come visit when you're out on call.

It's easy to do something extra-special when you have the time but you earn bonus points for thinking ahead and doing something wonderful for when you don't have the time and when your partner misses you.

It's good of you to recognize how important your wife is to you and to show her that you know it. Enjoy your time together!

* I don't recall the source for this but I read once that the most important 30 seconds of Surgeon Doe's day were those he spent on the phone with his wife just before he scrubbed in. True, true.
posted by MonkeyToes at 3:17 PM on September 29, 2008 [3 favorites]

MonkeyToes is right. Write some letters and keep them in reserve, and mark


Include a sweet photo.

My partner has one of these and he loves it. He takes it to work with him every day...
posted by sondrialiac at 4:05 PM on September 29, 2008

Best answer: I agree with the great suggestions up above -- I would only add, as the spouse of someone who started med school at age 30 (he is 40 now and in his second year of being an attending), save up some of these suggestions for your 5th, 6th, or 7th year of training. Because I can tell you, that's when it gets tough on a marriage. Med school as a spouse was okay, but internship and the first year or two of residency was really hard -- as punishing as his life then was, dealing with the kids and work and basically everything in our life pretty much all by myself was also very tough for me, and there were definitely times when that light at the end of the tunnel seemed very far away. So whisk her off for a fun weekend, or stay in for an awesome movie marathon -- but also plan to do something wonderful like that many times along the way. Because a little reconnection can go a long way towards making those tough times a little easier to endure. You are smart and sweet to think of this now. Good luck! (And congrats on starting med school!)
posted by mothershock at 4:29 PM on September 29, 2008 [2 favorites]

Courtesy of Ms. Vegetable:

1. Say thank you. Mr. Meat is in school at the moment, and the days when he says, "Thank you for going to work so I can go to school," as I leave the house are very nice days.
2. Apple picking/pumpkin picking/corn maze/fall leaf admiring/art fests/oktoberfest.
3. Fill your freezer with meals already made so that cooking won't be such a hassle later on.
4. Make her breakfast in bed before she goes to work - waking up slowly with coffee would be such a treat.
5. Take the cars in to get serviced.
6. Make an inventory for your insurance purposes.
7. Write your will. (Oh, that one's a bit morbid, sorry, just thinking of things that are useful to do while off school.)
8. A framed list of reasons you love her and appreciate her, and/or promises you've made or will make (e.g.: I will always put the toilet seat down, or I promise to never go to bed angry, etc.)
9. Run HER errands - groceries, post office, calling all those people like the phone company to make sure you're getting a good deal.
10. Set up a netflix account with her favorite movies to arrive when you start school again.
11. Foot rubs.

posted by a robot made out of meat at 6:11 PM on September 29, 2008

Oh man, you are allready doing so much. Yay! you!

Random flowers! Always so lovely, and doing *her* errands. Just saying "I completely adore you" helps. Your heart is in totally the right place here, so just keep reminding her that you really feel all the things she's doing and make her feel lovely about it.
posted by The Whelk at 6:50 PM on September 29, 2008

As a wife to a surgeon…..based on reading the above suggestions, I can only say, it depends on your wife!!! There is a book called The Five Languages of Love. I’ve never read it, but if you do a google search you’ll find the same basic information, being: Acts of Service, Physical Touch, Quality Time, Gifts, Words of Affirmation.

For me, I am all about Acts of Service. A few days ago we had a huge party (mostly DH’s friends), and afterwards I was so exhausted from planning that I collapsed and went to bed. I woke up the next morning to find the food put away, the tablecloths folded, trash taken out, etc. That was honestly the nicest thing he has ever done for me in our 7 years of marriage……way more than spa days, sending flowers, etc. In fact in your situation if my DH would have done something like spending a lot of time doing a “romantic” act…I would be ticked….thinking “Do you have any idea what I have to do all day?! If you really want to help… something that actually helps!!!!” (ie making dinners that can be frozen for later. And yes that includes finding the recipes, buying the ingredients, making it, and cleaning up after you’re done.) Bonus points if you can accomplish all those things without calling me every 5 minutes to say “Where is____?, How do I____?” This is especially true if/when you have kids .

But again, totally depends on what is most important to her. DH knows to not dare send me flowers b/c I would like "How much did this cost? We could have spent that on a blender!) PS - I'm really not a bitch in real life. Maybe just too practical for my own good?
posted by texas_blissful at 8:14 PM on September 29, 2008 [3 favorites]

internship and the first year or two of residency was really hard, say it loud mothershock. Shout that truth from the rooftops.

My advice is on Friday plan nothing.

Sleep in, eat a big breakfast, hang out on the couch, nap together, make wild monkey love, talk. What's missing while you're in school/residency is time together. Don't do anything; just plan to have a relaxed day together.
posted by 26.2 at 3:40 AM on September 30, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks so much everyone. My wife and I had a great time together this weekend. We spent Friday relaxing and went to a nearby town to hear a bit of bluegrass music at the Floyd Country Store.

I especially appreciate the many comments that encouraged me to do things down the road and I've gotten the ball rolling on project number one. I thought I'd share it here just in case someone else is searching in the future...

My wife loves getting cards & we often send photographs to folks in the mail as if they were postcards (i.e. write a note on the back of a photo and stick a stamp on it). It's a very easy and inexpensive way to let someone know you're thinking about them. So...I spent some time on Flickr searching for images whose licenses allow me to use them for such a project and ran across the You are Beautiful campaign. I printed 30 of these images and for the next several months, my wife will find them in random places as she goes about her day - all with a little note from me on the back, of course.

Now I have a couple of months to think about the next way to let her know - For now I'm thinking sidewalk chalk between her parking lot and office (she works at a university).

Again, many thanks to all of you. This woman means the world to me. I appreciate you helping me show her it's true.
posted by stuboo at 2:51 PM on October 5, 2008

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