When Peter decided to take his wife, Tessa, on a love journey, he could never predict how it would impact their relationship. Or which spiritual truths would arise . . .
The couple met when they were still students and after life took its turns, ended up farming and managing a guest house. After having three kids and despite having a healthy marriage, Peter decided to do something special for his wife. It had to be more meaningful than roses and chocolate, and it had to be more memorable than dinner at a fancy restaurant. So he decided on a love journey . . .
Where did he get the idea?
“I don’t know how I got the idea, but what I do know is that God always shows up where there is love. One day, I started thinking about the hierarchy that we are supposed to function within. God comes first, then your husband or wife, followed by your children and then your job.
“Why do we get so involved with our careers and kids that we tend to lose the spark that exists between you and your spouse? We forget about God, who brought us together. This is when I realized that the biggest gift I could give my children wouldn’t be paying for their private school education or buying them expensive gifts – it would be showing them that I truly love their mother.
“I see how my sons admire me and idolize everything I do. If I can show them how to treat their future wives, then I would have taught them a valuable lesson about life. And I obviously wanted to show my wife how much I care about her.”
What did the journey entail?
Although the love journey wasn’t planned as a birthday present, the timing of the journey coincidentally coincided with Tessa’s birthday. Peter explains that he isn’t a romantic guy by nature and that he found it challenging to come up with something completely original.
“Everything about the journey had to be fresh and true to us. I forced myself to think outside of the box and stay away from the same old gestures, such as taking her to dinner,” says Peter.
One morning, when Tessa was taking the kids to school, Peter handed the challenge over to God. Within half an hour, nine ideas came to his mind. Although all men are not handy with DIY tasks, everyone has their own unique talents and Peter started to work with determination.
He didn’t have time to work on his love journey project during the day, so he had to secretly plan everything without Tessa noticing what was going on. Each of the activities for the nine days was carefully planned so that the journey could flow smoothly.
This is how the love journey panned out:
I brought Tessa coffee in bed and put three flowers from the garden on a tray. I also included a glass vase filled with little wooden stars and a letter. Only one of the wooden stars was perfectly carved out and I placed this perfect star in the middle of the vase.
In the letter, I wrote: “There are many stars in the universe. Big ones, small ones, bright ones and pretty ones, but to me you are the biggest, brightest star. You are my star. Try to find the perfect star in this vase – this is what you are in my eyes.” I then left the house and continued with my farming activities.
I’m an involved father, but if I’m really honest I must admit that I don’t pull my weight when it comes to changing nappies and bathing the little ones. My wife takes care of everything.
I decided to show Tessa that I appreciate everything she does by writing letters to her from the point of view of our one-year-old daughter, and hiding them in the nappies that she would be using that day.
The letters read: “Thank you for changing my nappy when Daddy is too grossed out to do it”; “If I had to wait for Dad to change this nappy, my bum would have a rash”; “When I look at you while you change my nappy, I see the best mom in the whole world”; and “Mommy, do you know how beautiful you are?”
I brought my wife coffee and a small bottle of her favorite perfume in bed, with a note that read: “You might need this today. I love you.”
I continued with my daily activities and phoned my wife at home at about 11am to ask her to look for something specific in my office. Next to the computer, I left a bottle of rose-scented cream with a little poem that had a private joke that only the two of us would understand. She was laughing helplessly when she phoned me back. It was great fun!
At 2pm, I gave her a wood-based invite that had information engraved on it. It read:
Place: Our farm.
Time: As soon as you are done with everything you need to organize at the guest house (my wife runs the guest house on our farm).
What: Dinner for two by candlelight.
Dress code: Sexy.
Arrangements for Cara (our one-year-old daughter): Pack her overnight bag, she has a sleepover date.
Reason: You deserve it. I love you very much and I want to be with you, around you and inside you. Words can’t express what I feel.
The moment when she read the invitation, was priceless. The expression on her face looked like something between crying and laughing. While Tessa was busy helping the guests to settle in at the guesthouse, our neighbor dropped off a four-course meal that she had prepared for us and she took our daughter home with her for the sleepover. I put on my wife’s favorite music, set the table, and placed candles and roses around the living room and dining room.
When Tessa arrived, I blindfolded her and led her to the room, where she could change into her fancy outfit. The best times I’ve had with my wife have been at home, because the atmosphere is just right. No fancy restaurant can compete with the level of comfort we feel at home.
My wife was so relaxed and emotional about the whole setup that she found it hard to speak without crying. We spent time talking, dancing and just enjoying each other’s company in the empty house.
Afterwards, I told her that coffee would be served in bed. I bought her age-appropriate sexy nighties and I left it for her on the bed. It was an unforgettable night filled with passion and romance.
I work hard on the farm and didn’t have a lot of free time during the morning. My next surprise could only be kick-started at around lunch time. I made Tessa a ‘love box’, which was a wooden chest filled with six red wooden hearts, a lavender scented soap and a bottle of lavender cream.
I tried to remove all stressors from her day. I tended to the guests at the guesthouse, took care of some household tasks and got Cara to sleep with me in a different room so that she could get a good night’s rest.
I timed my appearance perfectly to coincide with the moment when she got out of the bath. I took a towel, dried her wet body and massaged the lavender cream all over her body. I felt such awe and appreciation for my wife in that moment. I was in awe of the fact that God had blessed me with the most beautiful woman I have ever seen and that I have the privilege to love her the way that I do.
Today is the day of love letters. I didn’t write any of the letters beforehand, but as the day progressed, I focused on Tessa and wrote down my thoughts. I surprised her with three letters throughout the day.
The first letter was about the previous night and how much it means to me to be able to care for her. The second letter was about all the feelings I experience whenever I look at her. The third letter was a letter asking for forgiveness. I asked her to forgive me for all the times that I was too selfish to consider her needs above my own.
Our sons are in boarding school during the week. Now it was weekend and we had a full house, so my plan was to involve my two sons so that they could help me make their mother feel like a princess.
We morphed a piece of metal into a sign that read ‘We love you’, and after the sun had set, we set it alight on the grass. When Tessa came out into the garden and saw it, she was visibly moved. One of my sons said: “Dad, we really have a great family, right?”
I got all three of my children to dip their hands in paint to create an invitation, which was inviting Tessa to a picnic in our tree house that evening. Throughout the day, each of the children gave their mom a handwritten letter telling her why they think she is the best mom in the world.
We cleaned the tree-house and placed pillows everywhere for us to sit. Tessa read the letters from the children out loud, and we had a great time eating and enjoying each other’s company. At one point, Tessa suggested that we all share secrets. The kids shared personal stories that we never would have known about. They shared insights about burdens they had carried. It was an amazing evening of laughing, sharing, crying and comforting. It felt very liberating.
On Sunday we had guests and I read to Tessa from the Bible. I read a passage from Song of Solomon to convey that there is a reason why I, as a man, am more focused on sensuality and sexuality than she is. God made us this way. I told her that the description of a woman in this part of the Bible is how I feel about her. I think she is the most beautiful thing on the planet.
Today is my wife’s birthday. She is turning 38. It’s a special day for her, even though I didn’t give her a present (I had bought her a Le Creuset casserole a month prior to her birthday).
Tessa took the kids to school at 6am, which is a two-hour drive from our farm, and she spent time with her girlfriends to celebrate her birthday. I made a big red heart, filled with 108 candles, and I got 200 roses. I arranged the flowers in bouquets all around the house, poured Tessa a bath and chilled a bottle of champagne.
When she came back, we got into the bath and chatted to each other. After the bath, I blindfolded her and led her to the bed before I massaged her entire body with cream and oils. When she took off her blindfold, I had 38 red hearts hanging from the ceiling. This concluded our love journey. My wife had to wipe away tears of appreciation and gratitude from her cheeks.
What did the love journey mean to Tessa?
Peter had warned her that he was planning something, but Tessa thought it would be a romantic evening out. When the love journey started, she immediately realized that this would be something different, something deeper . . .
She says that Peter regularly tells her he loves her and appreciates her, and that he is more of a practical guy that a romantic one. “I could tell that all the romantic and loving ideas came from him, it was something that God had catalyzed for us. Peter was definitely inspired by something, and he spent a lot of time planning and perfecting my love journey.”
She says that she once again realized that intimacy is something that we receive as a gift from God.
How did it change their sex life?
Peter says the frequency hasn’t changed, but the intensity has changed drastically. “Both me and my wife feel like we can’t get close enough to each other – we want to melt into each other. We could talk openly about our needs, we were less self-conscious and shy, and we were both really focused on pleasing each other. We were able to be in love selflessly again.
“Today I look back on our love journey as something that taught both of us how to appreciate each other again. It was much more than a journey, it was a path that God took us on to understand the true meaning of love between a husband and wife, as well as the love between the two of us and Him.”