This trope of gifting flowers to your partner seems rather tired, until it’s not.
When my husband and I were first dating I told him, “You don’t have to get me flowers. They’re pretty pointless, after all.” I didn’t really understand the point of it at the time and I was eager to be a low-maintenance girlfriend (because at the time I was still struggling with my fear of being loved). So he bought me a live succulent.
Flowers are the peak of frivolity in a sense. You can’t eat them, they are ephemeral and temporary. They don’t really serve any particular function, and maybe that is the point. As I’ve gotten older and after 2 years of a pandemic, I’ve begun to appreciate the fact that beauty and enjoyment are enough. If seeing and smelling flowers brings you joy, then that is enough.
My husband has been working longer hours and our schedules don’t match up like they used to, so for most of the week, I spend my time working alone, eating alone, sitting at home alone. It’s a little depressing, honestly. And the other night, he came home with flowers. I almost started crying.
He took me out for bubble tea on the weekend. He brought home Chipotle for dinner the other night.
These little gestures may not seem significant, but they mean so much. They are compassionate gestures that show he appreciates me and recognizes that I’m having a hard time with our current arrangement. I put effort into showing him that I appreciate the hard work he’s been doing, but he also sees and appreciates what I’m doing instead of just taking it for granted.
In relationships, it can be easy to only see what you’re doing, especially when you don’t get to spend as much time together with your partner as you used to. When we’re isolated, we tend to fall back on selfish tendencies because we’re focused on our own survival. Besides that, if we’re feeling lonely or anxious, we also tend to turn our focus inwards.
When we start thinking only about how hard we’re working and the challenges we’re dealing with, that’s when we start to view our partner in a more combative way. We see them as our adversaries instead of as our teammates. Because, after all, when we marry someone, aren’t we choosing them to be our companion through all the agonies and ecstasies of life?
So the point of flowers or any other seemingly frivolous little gesture is really just an expression of love. You’re showing the person you love that you see them and that their happiness matters to you. It’s worth investing in.
It doesn’t have to be flowers and it doesn’t have to be a boyfriend or husband gifting a girlfriend or wife. But that appreciation is vital for keeping a relationship strong even in less-than-ideal circumstances.