By Marianne Rose

What is the most precious gift your husband has ever given you? Eight of us ladies (my neighbors) were enjoying our monthly lunch out, and Iris was speaking. Her husband had just presented her with two airplane tickets–fulfilling her lifelong dream of going to Ireland–and she was overwhelmed. She told us this was the finest gift he had ever given her.

One by one, the ladies began to tell their stories. One had been presented with a beautiful diamond ring … another given a gorgeous pendant. Fantastic dream vacations for families were mentioned. The conversation was moving around the circle, and it was starting to become a “can you top this” kind of event, which was a little intimidating.

She told us this was the finest gift he had ever given her.

Now, my dear husband, Karl, has presented me with some really amazing gifts over the years, but how could I decide which was THE finest?

His faithfulness? The Bulova watch with my name engraved on the back? Would it be our four sons? The surprise party for my 50th? The ruby ring … or pendant … or earrings?

How could I decide which was THE finest?

When you’ve been married as long as we have (50+ years), there are many possibilities that race through your mind, but … the finest? Which would I choose? And then I remembered what happened the day after Karl retired!

Ah–his breathtaking, unforgettable gift! Of course, that was it! I was the last to speak. The ladies all looked at me and I began my story.

Karl retired after working for the State of Michigan for what seemed like a lifetime! The next day, he sat me down and said he wanted to talk. He said that all of our marriage I had cared for his children, cleaned his house, cooked his meals, done his laundry, and he wanted to do something for me.

“What one job do you dislike the worst?” he asked.

HA! I didn’t even have to think about it … the bathrooms!

“OK,” he said, “you will never clean another bathroom!”

Ah–his breathtaking, unforgettable gift!

From that day until now, every Thursday morning, he cleans our bathrooms. He scrubs the floor, cleans the mirrors, wipes the counters, scours the sinks, shakes out the rugs, and–yes–even cleans the toilets. I have never once reminded him, but I do often thank him for his amazing gift!

The table fell silent and the ladies were speechless. I even saw a tear roll down one cheek. Later that day, Karl received several phone calls … from irate husbands! “What are you trying to pull?” they asked.

The gifts we give each other come in different packages: some are funny … some are glitzy … some are impressive … some are expensive … and some are sacrificial acts of service … but, they are all gifts. And, when given in love, they speak LOUDLY!


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