Have I told you lately that I love you?

13493461213871It was early morning, and I was heading out to put in a long day on the farm, but before leaving I had a question.

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

“Nope,” my wife said.

I was just about to tell her that I loved her when it occurred to me…

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

“Nope,” she said.

I suppose that was 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 to shave. I had been working long hours during the 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 of it 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?

The purpose of unconditional love is that 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. They are the guardrails of our relationship and stretch all the way from petty annoyances to profound 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 dangerous.”