Heartwings says, “Small acts of love sustain a relationship over time.”
Stephen and I have been together for more than 45 years and this year in July we will have been married for 43. If you were to ask me what keeps us together, I could give you several answers, and they would all be correct. However, in my opinion there is one that stands out above any other: we do our best to be kind to each other. Of course, there are times when one or the other of us, in an attempt to be kind, metaphorically steps on the other’s toes. However, all is quickly forgiven when the one with the stepped-on toes informs the stepper of the error and a discussion ensues.
The codicil of this kindness is a dedication to honesty and truthfulness about feelings. We’ve learned it’s all right to say “ouch” when necessary, and usually to do it tactfully. “You made me…” is not a good way to begin any kind of conversation featuring a complaint. Neither is “Why did you do that to me?” Owning up to one’s feelings is vital. To say “You made me angry when you…” is not helpful. What is, is rather, “I felt angry when you…”. This is fair and honest. It is important to allow oneself the luxury of being vulnerable enough to admit to being hurt, while not being accusatory and making the other feel uncomfortable.
Kindness in small ways is important. Stephen washes the dishes as a gift to me for doing the cooking. I appreciate this, especially since I know he doesn’t really like doing it. Sometimes I ask him if he would mind if I did them, and he may say yes, or no depending upon how he is feeling. I actually don’t mind doing them, and I even find it soothing to have my hands in warm, running water, however I appreciate his doing them as a loving gift. When I tidy the bed in the morning, opening the covers I’ve straightened to air the bed, I make it easier to make later. This is a gift of love I give Stephen because he makes the bed.
These little daily acts of love between us are not extraordinary or big hearted, but they are part of how we express our love for one another. Small gifts he finds here and there from his forays into thrift shops, thoughtful gestures like holding the door for me, or handing me my cane, are other simple offerings of love and caring that keep love in the forefront of our relationship. Asking each other if one or the other is happy several times a day demonstrates this as well. We live in close proximity, in a small apartment, and it would be easy to get irritated with each other, however we don’t because we are tender with one another, as well as honest. I am grateful to him for his caring, as he is grateful to me. We express this often. It also helps keep us both in love.
May you find happy ways to express your love to your dear ones.
Blessings and best regards, Tasha Halpert
P. S. Your comments, dear reader, are always welcome, as well as any tidbits from your own experiences. Your correspondence makes me so happy, so please, do write when you can.