He shifts his weight somewhat in his seat and, with that slow, familiar gesture, scratches the back of his neck the way he always does when he's been driving too long. Someone else might not know that about him, but I do. I have come to know each movement, each tonal nuance, each look.

I gaze at the man who stood with me under the chuppah thirty-one years ago and suddenly notice the furrows on his face, the salt that is gradually replacing the peppered hair. He turns his head and glances at me for a moment, and I smile as the sunshine of this fresh new day catches the light in his hazel eyes. Everything about him reminds me all over again that I would have never chosen another.

There are a zillion ways for couples to show their love for each otherIn this world of instant gratification, instant marriages, instant divorces – in fact instant everything one can possibly imagine – here, right beside me, is proof that time is the ultimate test of love.

There are a zillion ways for couples to show their love for each other, but it takes time to learn how to love each other in the most meaningful ones. The commercialized, romanticized versions of love are far different from the reality of our everyday lives.

My husband was never one to succumb to the idealized concepts of romance, but there were some delightful surprises along the way which communicated his deep understanding of my needs at any given time.

The other day, my youngest daughter was looking for a vase to display the beautiful bouquet of flowers she bought for me. She came across one over the fireplace holding a dozen delicate china roses. Not giving them a second thought, she quickly took the twelve porcelain blossoms out of the vase, saying, "Look, Mummy, I found a vase with some old flowers in it."

"Please be careful with those," I told her, "They were given to me by your father when we were first married." She looked at me incredulously. Her dad, with his doctorate in clinical chemistry, is Mr. Logical, Scientific, Practical, No Fuss. The adjective "romantic" would never occur to her when describing him. "Daddy really did that?"

"Yes, I replied, smiling at her disbelief, "He really did. He brought home one rose each month for the first year of our life together."

That first year of china roses was his way of showing me that he understood my need back then for some of the preconceived notions of love which I held onto in my youth.

The days of monthly tokens of affection have long since passed. And while they were certainly beautiful presents, other more subtle displays of his love for me have taken the place of these initial offerings.

It's the simple words accompanied by meaningful actsThose of you who have been married for some time understand this. While store-bought presents are lovely and still welcome, it's the little things, the everyday nuances which we must observe, appreciate and absorb at a different, more soulful level. We should notice and acknowledge these special moments, for they need to be captured, treasured and stored in our memories as the true thermometer of the relationship.

It's the simple words accompanied by meaningful acts which take on significant value and represents communication at its deepest level. And, over time, we discover how our mates handle the countless challenges we experience over the years – how the face of love begins to mature and grow.

Like the day, two years ago, when he looked at me, his wife of then almost three decades and felt my pain as I faced a multitude of crises with my mother.

During the course of eight decades, his mother-in-law had survived concentration camps, the devastating obliteration of beloved family members, the loss of her husband, being suddenly thrust into the work force, single parenthood, financial hardships, open heart surgery and now most certainly was about to lose her life due to unbearable loneliness, loss of hope and depression in this final phase of her journey. His hazel eyes seemed more penetrating and serious as our eyes locked and he matter of factly suggested that she move in with us. That moment changed our lives significantly, and this one, perfect gesture was the most loving gift he ever gave me.

While the roses have withstood the test of time and will always represent the early bloom of our love for each other, this selfless, pure act, this remarkable mitzvah moved me far beyond anything before or since on a spiritual level.

This, this – is what love represents to me now. While I may try, I can never, in a million years, repay him for the one gift which taught me the true meaning of a soul mate.

While I may try, I can never repay him for that one giftAnd today, as we approach our anniversary, I contemplate how to express my love to the man I have admired and adored, the man I have called my husband for almost thirty-one years, the man who asks for nothing and gives everything.

As I have just discovered, thirty-two represents the numerical value of the Hebrew word lev, or heart. Our hearts, which reflect both abstract and concrete meaning, are a true symbol of everlasting love. And so, I initiate our thirty second year of marriage with this love letter to my husband.

I embark on this newest road with the hope of filling the remainder of our days with an even deeper bond and growing understanding of each other, and the promise to honor and cherish all the remarkable qualities which led me to him then and have kept me at his side ever since. Thank you, Andrew, for the wisdom and pureness of your love.