Have I told you lately that I love you?

13493461213871It was early morning and before heading out for a long day on the farm, I had a question.

“Have I told you lately that I love you?”

“Nope,” my wife said.

That’s when another question occurred to me…

“Hey, wait a minute, have you told me lately that you love me?”

“Nope,” she said.

I suppose fair is fair.

“How about a kiss instead?” I asked.

“Nope,” she said. This time she was adamant.

“Why not?”

“Because you haven’t shaved.”

She was right. I needed a shave. I had been working long hours during harvest and was not willing to spend what little free time I had on grooming. Besides, I hate to shave and further more, what is the point when one is covered in grain dust all day?

But let’s get down to what is important here. Isn’t love supposed to be unconditional and doesn’t that cover shaving?

Or is it just something we tell ourselves?

Love is unconditional because knowing we are flawed, we must be willing to accept the flaws of others. But there is a balance to these things and love is always bound by conditions. These are the guardrails of our relationships that cover everything from petty annoyances to issues of trust and it is utterly astonishing how little or how much some couples will tolerate.

I have an old buddy, Stan, whose honky-tonk lifestyle is something right out of a Johnny Horton song.  The stuff he gets away with….

I once asked him, “How come Daphne hasn’t shot you yet?”

“Because,” he said, “unlike some people, I shave every day.”

“Gosh,” I said, “you mean if I were to shave regularly, I could get away with what you get away with?”

He cast a withering gaze upon me for quite a while, then said, “I wouldn’t try that if I were you.”

So I suppose everyone has their limits. He has broad latitude and I have a razor, so I trudged downstairs to my man bathroom and put it to use.

“That’s better,” she said when I came upstairs. “Now, you can kiss me.”

“Nope,” I said, just as adamantly as she said it to me.

“Are you just trying to get back at me?”

“Not at all,” I told her, “it’s your hair curlers, they’re hazardous.”