When he sees that I have a banana, his eyes brighten, his ears perk up and he’s quick to the door. He even licks my hand afterward to get every taste of banana he can. Bananas are from heaven for Devon.
Do you give what you expect your loved ones to want (apples and carrots) without knowing for sure if it is their heart’s desire (bananas)?
I used to get my husband books, candy and clothes. Those were things he liked and they were easy to buy. Then I realized the sweetest treat I could give him wasn’t anything sugary. It would be playing games with him. Now I make time to play card games like Blitz and bluffing games like liar’s dice.
A friend told me listening and kind words are her banana. She appreciates when someone pays close attention to her feelings and responds by saying the things she needs to hear in that moment.
After I graduated from college, I went overseas for an internship. There I met Rachel from Oklahoma. As the only young Americans working in a small town in Belgium, we were drawn together. Over a dinner of pasta as we got to know each other, she told me her dreams about how her future husband would be. What she said has stayed with me for two decades.
“He wouldn’t bring me roses on Valentine’s Day. I don’t want flowers when everyone else gets them. I’d love a pack of gum on an ordinary day if he brought it home to me and said, ‘I thought of you at the gas station and got this gum for you.’ Just knowing my husband had thought of me would be better than Valentine roses,” she said.
Since our time overseas, Rachel married and has been with her husband for 14 years now. While away on business, her husband recently posted a photo on Facebook of a beer on a Friday night. Now a cold glass of beer might be enough to make most guys happy, but for the photo caption he wrote, “Just wish my favorite lady was here to share it.” Her husband’s thoughtfulness makes her feel like the most important person in the world. Even thousands of miles away, he always has her on his mind.
Often we give what we like to get, or we give the typical choice. Horses eat carrots, right? Instead, ask your loved ones, “What is special to you?” Take time to understand them and their deepest values. Let them surprise you. Work to delight them.
Give that husband a game partner, give that wife a pack of gum and give that horse a banana!
What makes your heart sing? Do you know someone who gives affection in an unexpected way? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!