Happy Valentines Day!
Now that we are approaching 10 years of marriage, we are clearly marriage experts. Haha.
Actually, we know very acutely that we are not. However, we do know a thing or two more than we did when we started dating nearly a dozen years ago.
And tonight, we reflected on the most romantic thing we have done recently for each other.
JP said the most romantic thing I have done recently for him was when I recently gave him a back massage. He knows physical affection is not one of my natural love languages, and therefore when I offer a back massage, he knows I am doing it for no other reason than I remembered it is relaxing for him, and because I love him.
The most romantic thing JP has done for me recently has been to explicitly encourage me to pursue a dream of mine. Something that requires me to set time aside. He asks me every few days if I have been able to make any progress, and he encourages me to structure my time to make it a priority. Knowing that he loves me enough to urge me forward with this goal means the world.
I think one of the things we’ve discovered in our time together is that real, abiding love is often found in the small gestures like the ones above, not exclusively in the grand ones. A big mega date can be awesome and fun and all kinds of other good things. But, unlike what some dating reality shows might lead us to believe, real love, and real relationships aren’t built in the big moments. They are built in the small.
And, unexpectedly, many times the small actions can be harder to pull off than the grand ones. Because you have to remember, in the day in day out ordinary moments of life to choose to love your spouse in a way that speaks to them. You have to choose to remember to do something to build up your spouse, especially when you get nothing out of it for yourself, simply because you love them. In the busyness of life, the remembering can be hard. But when we are intentional with each other, when I remember to give JP a big hug when he gets home so he can feel loved, and when JP remembers to keep the kitchen counter clean on the weekends so I can relax, when we love each other in the small ways, we both move through our days, whatever challenges may come, already built up by the love we have for each other. And that love can help sustain us.
Starting this Valentines Day, we plan to add one small thing to our daily routine. Something that we can do with and for each other, in the presence of our children, so that we may also set an intentional example for them of our marital love for each other in a small yet significant way. Our goal is to add this short, simple prayer to our family prayers at the end of the evenings. To hold hands with each other in the presence of our children and pray:
Lord, help us to remember when we first met and the strong love that grew between us.
To work that love into practical things so that nothing can divide us.
We ask for words both kind and loving and hearts always ready to ask for forgiveness as well as to forgive.
Dear Lord, we put our marriage into Your hands.
If you are married, with or without kids, we challenge you to take the time to pray this prayer with your spouse on a daily basis along with us this year. Simply by taking a moment to ask God to be present in our love for each other, this one small prayer might just end up being that which helps us greatly along the path of learning to donate our selves for the benefit of our husband/wife, and thus to love them better.
-JP and Lorelei