When Love Surprises

Earlier today I exchanged comments with Diana at Myths Of The Mirror and Bridget at The Happy Quitter about our life partners who are … shall we say … somewhat less than romantic.

I had described my husband of 33 years as Mr Practical, not someone inclined to indulge in *shock and awe* tactics on this day of romantic love.

I’ve been reflecting on this comment throughout the day and I’ve decided that in fairness to Gilles, I really should have called him Mr Unpredictable.  Just when I think I have this guy figured out, and I know exactly what he’s going to do and say, he does something so COMPLETELY out of character that I’m dumbstruck.

One of those instances occurred on Valentine’s Day about a dozen years ago.

A typical Valentine’s Day for us is pretty low key … an exchange of cards, perhaps lunch together … but this particular day was going to be over-the-top.

Our receptionist at work had been busy all morning handling deliveries of Valentine flowers, however shortly before noon, something very unusual arrived for me.

Just to be clear … NOTHING had ever arrived for me at work on Valentine’s Day during my entire career.

I wasn’t in my office, so the receptionist called my assistant (yes, I had both an office and an assistant …. I really miss having an assistant) who brought my *gift* to the office where I was still in a meeting.

There was a knock at the door and when I opened it, I was greeted by the smiling faces of a Barbership Quartet in the hallway.  I was handed a single long-stem red rose, and they then proceeded to serenade me with a trio of love songs.

In a busy office with over a hundred people, you can imagine the crowd that gathered at this unusual spectacle … including the spectacle of me dissolving into a tearful, pathetic mess.

Gilles earned HUGE points for that one and status as Husband-Of-The-Year from every woman in the office.

Needless to say, Mr Practical has never done anything like that since.

I like to think he’s just waiting until I least expect it …




  1. Aww! First of all, such a very sincere reaction you gave in tears. Second, the beauty in his gift was the totally unexpected way it came!! Such a good guy, Gilles. Equally special is the wife who understands he may not do these grand gestures often but he truly loves you! Happy belated Valentine’s Day, Joanne and Gilles. ❤ ❤


  2. I love this story and I had to laugh at the similarities of our hubbies – though, mine is a bit more predictable than yours. I can guess that I will hear the same words that I’ve heard for the last 29 years on the morning of, “What a ^&*&^*$ made up holiday!!” Followed by, “With me, every day is Valentine’s Day!”
    On cue – he uttered the words before 8 a.m….and then took me out to dinner later that evening 🙂


  3. Wowee- he outdid himself and obviously is waiting for at least another decade or two so that you will be surprised again the next time. My guy is the same way. We both agree that Valentine’s Day is over done and overwrought . So we go out for dinner the night before or the night after Valentine’s Day and we do exchange cards and loves and hugs. Isn’t that what it’s really all about? I love your post here. ❤️


  4. WOW! What a wonderful and memorable story. I won’t be surprised if one day he does something else quite wonderful and totally surprise you.

    He-Man and I never really did anything special for Valentine’s Day then about 10 yrs ago he started giving me a small box of See’s Chocolates on Valentine’s Day. Yesterday he gave me a lovely box of See’s Chocolates and took me to lunch. I think he might be getting more romantic as he getting older. I’m not complaining! 🙂


  5. Now that is pretty special, Joanne!!! ❤ ❤ Good for a decade of Valentine's Days, at least! What a loving and thoughtful thing to do. I'm impressed. Thanks for the link too – always a pleasure to come here and chat about your posts, my friend. Have a great week full of love ❤


  6. Very nice and special gesture by Mr Practical (a name that would fit me, too). Our VP of HR was in a barbershop quartet and he used to take Valentine’s Day off, to make the rounds. One of our coworkers hired him to serenade his wife (who also worked with us). From her reaction, I can understand your. I’d say Mr Practical is a keeper, but you knew that.


  7. That is really cool! I actually did that to my husband one year as our local choir was trying to raise money. He teaches at the local university and I had them arrive during one of his classes. The students loved it, but he was a little embarrassed. He shows his love by doing the dishes, and cleaning the tub and taking me hiking. I don’t need cards or flowers, I’ve got a great guy. That picture of the two of you is really nice!


  8. Don’t be too hard on “Mr. Practical” Joanne. It could be worse. Did you ever hear that old saying “you are what you eat” ? Well I love Minute Rice 🙂


  9. Wow, I think I would have devolved into a crumpled mess of tears too! We treat Valentine’s Day in a very low key way here too, in fact throughout France, you would have to look carefully to even know it was Feb. 14th, just a few more flowers in the supermarket and a few extra chocolates on display, but that’s all, really just as it should be, personal and not at all commercial.


    • I agree, Susan. I object to the commercialism of it which makes Valentine’s Day feel more like an obligation rather than a personal expression.

      … and I was a sniffling mess for the rest of the day! Of course now the memory makes me smile 🙂


  10. I never got anything at all from my ex, except calls to say he was working late, even though he knew I was making a special dinner. No card, no flowers, no chocolates, not even a verbal greeting. I love reading about other that do get some of these things, though. I think that Barber Shop group idea is awesome!


    • That’s really sad, Corina.
      I saw a FB post a few days ago from a single friend in her late 40s. She’s never married and her post was to comment on the fact that the only thing worse than not being in a relationship on Valentine’s Day was listening to people in long term committed relationships being blasé and indifferent about it. Even a small gesture counts!


  11. Wow! Go Gilles! How will he top it? He’s been spending the last dozen or so years planning it, hm? In the meantime, you have that memory every single day! 😀 Thanks for sharing.


    • When something becomes routine, it’s no longer special … at least that’s what I keep telling myself 😉

      It seems that every once in a long while we take turns blowing each other out of the water with a HUGE surprise and we’re due for one.

      Gilles’ 60th birthday is this year and it’s providing a great opportunity to pull out the big guns. I just don’t know what that means yet 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  12. What a fun surprise and what a SWEET couple ~ LOVE that photo of the two of you!

    We spent today at Disney where we split a chocolate croissant because . . . Chocolate + Valentine’s Day = perfect together.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you 🙂
      I remember when that photo was taken … it was another out-of-character move by Husband when he took the boys and I for lunch in the revolving restaurant at the top of the CN Tower.

      A day at Disney sounds like a fun way to spend Valentines … especially when chocolate is involved!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  13. What a lovely surprise that must have been! I think the unexpected gestures (even if they are few and far between) is much more romantic than the expected. I remember well those Valentine’s Days when I was working… it almost (maybe not “almost”) seemed like competition among some women to see who received the grandest gift. I’m glad those days are over. (Btw, I’m sure he’s just waiting to surprise you. 🙂 )


  14. My husband of almost 19 years is pretty low key. We don’t ever do much on Valentines Day and I guess I don’t really care. It’s all the other days I care. He tends to go on auto pilot most of the time. It’s a hard thing when you’ve been married this long. Maybe we both have lowered our expectations that it doesn’t really bother me anymore. When we were first married, it was roses and stuffed animals and chocolates. Now we have kids, one on the spectrum and those things seem rather silly to me. Still, he sometimes gets me chocolate or swings by Starbucks. He calls me at work to see how I’m doing. Those things are big things to me. Maybe it just depends on the couple too because I am a practical person. I have never been high maintenance. I spend my money on art materials instead of hair dye LOL. To each his own, right? I would have been embarassed if my husband did that to me with the singing. It’s the introvert in me…don’t draw attention to myself. Maybe that’s why we tend to do things much more subtly…but some people would love the attention. Maybe I’m just weird!


    • No, you’re not weird … I know exactly what you meant. Being the sudden centre of attention is overwhelming – especially when you dissolve into a sobbing mess.
      The grand gestures are wonderful – largely because they are unusual and unexpected. However, it’s the “small moments” (an expression I picked up from my youngest son) that build a relationship.
      I appreciate the extra long hug at the beginning of the day, lingering over a drink together before dinner … those are moments of easy comfort together that speak volumes ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Good to know I’m not weird. I agree…it’s fun to be apart of grand gestures if the atmosphere is right and even better to experience the little moments too. Thanks for sharing ❤❤

        Liked by 1 person

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