It is the one day a year that most people expect to be shown exceptional love. Sadly, most of these people are shallow and don't realize they are missing out the rest of the year. Ever notice how much effort is put into showing off how they were spoiled on that one day? I'm happy to say that my husband spoils me every single day. No, he doesn't buy me expensive chocolates so that I can complain about gaining weight. He's smart enough to know that fresh flowers are not going to last and that the mess they leave doesn't bring me joy anymore. I'm not the type that wears jewelry often. And of course, even if I wore jewelry more, diamonds wouldn't be preferred. I'm a pearl, silver and costume piece sort of girl.
Learn the Love Languages
So what is left for him to do? The things that matter most to me. He knows my love languages. He and I learned them during our pre-marital counseling. And he has learned to speak them fluently. He takes out the trash for me. He helps change diapers for me. Let's me nap or sleep in when I'm having a hard day with my pain. Showers me with kisses and hugs me as often as he can, but more so when I am finding I don't have the strength to get through the day. He leads our family with God as his inspiration, doing daily devotions with the children and then with me. He encourages me whether I show signs of needing it or not. My list could go on.
Take the Time to Know
He knows that I don't take empty words. My previous marriage taught me that a guy will say anything to get what he wants and to break you down to dust afterwards. Love is not a feeling. So show me how you feel about me with your actions. I like gifts, but make them meaningful. Something I not only want, but things I truly have use for. I'm a minimalist at heart, so I don't like clutter. However, the flip side is that he won't give me a treadmill, no matter how often I talk about needing to lose weight. Or a vacuum, when ours breaks. Not as gifts. Show that you listen and understand, but don't throw something like that at me as your way of "love" gifts. He has more class than that. I know, women are fickle, right? So what gifts does he give? He took me on lunch dates, when we could afford it. He bought me the Purple Pillow to help with my neck and head pain. And I LOVE that pillow! It has brought me better sleep than before. He made sure I got padded floor mats for the kitchen since I loved to cook and bake, but couldn't stand on the concrete floors long enough to do it. So what does your significant other like?
Don't Judge Your Relationship by Social Media Standards
I used to be so jealous of my friends, thinking they had dream marriages with the perfect family dynamic. Today, I can tell you that no matter how fairy tale-ish their lives are through their social media posts, they have nothing on us!
My husband and I don't fight. No need to. Ever. We are both intelligent, logical-thinking beings. We talk through difficult decisions and pray. And we made a conscious choice before we got married about disagreements. You see, when we were in counseling, we were asked about conflict resolution. How would we handle an impasse? First, we talk. Boy, did I have to learn on that one... I like to bottle things up and say, "I'm fine" while inside I feel like dying. But now, I'm able to say anything and know that he can handle it. Then we pray. God leads our marriage. And we trust in Him to guide our paths. If we still are not completely in agreement, he makes the ultimate choice and I back him up. It doesn't happen often, but it is a decision that we made in counseling and I have held to it since. I don't always agree, but I stand by his decision and own it as my own. I respect him. More often than not, his choice turns out to be the best one.
So what does Valentine's Day mean to you?
Be completely honest with yourself when you try to answer this one. It means nothing to me. We don't need Valentine's Day. I still say it is more Single's Awareness Day. A chance for ooey-gooey fools to taunt those who have not. For single people to be pressured by the belief that everyone needs someone else. They will spend their billions, according to USA Today. But the stigma stays that most of it is done with the belief that they will get something out of it in return. So what good is Valentine's Day then?
For a while, when I was growing up, my family didn't think of Christmas as a holiday to celebrate. It is over commercialized and has moved away from its original meaning. Instead, we celebrated Valentine's Day. Gave each other meaningful gifts then. It was the holiday associated with love after all. But now, we are celebrating Christmas. We have returned to the true meaning. As for Valentine's Day... For my husband and I, it is just another day. Another day to profess how much we love each other. To continue doing what we do best. Love one another as no one ever has before. Better than anyone would ever love us again.
Don't use Valentine's Day as your catch up for the rest of the year. Not as an excuse to buy something or do something nice for your love. Live every day as though it is your last. Morbid, you say? Or is too harsh a reality for you? I've witnessed the loss of someone as young as 4 years old, a woman who just turned 21 and a young man in his 20's. All in excellent health and vitality. But within a moment, their life was gone. They hadn't planned on it. Life just happened. How much more so for you?
So what do you do?
Tell them you love them. Often. My husband and I say it so much more than once a day. And it never gets old for us. It's not just words. There are true feelings behind them. How do I know this? His actions back up his and my actions back up mine.
Show them how much you love them. Love is an action. So put your actions forward. Do the things you know they wish you would. My husband loves when I hug him after a long nights work. Or when I have lunch ready when he wakes up in the afternoon. I appreciate it when he takes out the trash and changes the baby for me. Or how about when he washes the dishes for me after dinner?
Learn their love language. My husband is big on Physical Touch. Most men are. And I'm not just referring to sex. It brings him joy when I reach out to hold his hand, when I pull him in for a close embrace or even when I take his arm as we walk together. It is simple, yet says so much. Acts of Service are on top for me. Don't tell me, show me. Nearly 8 years of being lied to in my first marriage taught me that words mean nothing when they are followed by abusive actions.
Don't get upset at them when they don't do or say XYZ unless you first let them know it is expected. Do you know that one of the biggest issues in a relationship these days, is lack of communication? I'm talking true conversations here. With both parties actively listening. Nope. Most couples split up because they don't know how to truly listen. They don't know what is expected or why. Why? Because the other person doesn't know how to say it and just gets mad instead.
And the most important part of loving someone? Don't do it and expect reciprocation. If you truly love someone, you will find yourself doing things to make the other person happy as that is what brings you happiness. Otherwise, you get cranky when you didn't get what you wanted in return. That isn't love. That's just an exchange. That is like the couple who buys something for the other to justify spending money on themselves. "I bought you a $100 camera, so I can buy myself a $500 toolbox." "I spent $60 on a video game for you, so that I can spend $150 at the salon." That isn't really love, sweetheart. And if you show this person that you are doing things to make them happy because it makes you happy to see their joy, chances are good they will reciprocate. Especially if they really love you back. Not saying this always happens. Not all relationships are two-sided, no matter how much you wish it were. And maybe this will bring that to light.
I'm not holding back love to be given more on one day than the rest of the year. I'm keeping that fire roaring every single day, for as long as we both shall live. In every way I possibly can, I will show him that his happiness brings my own happiness. And I will revel in the love he shares with me.