For the first few years of marriage, my husband and I followed all the usual traditions, but as we aged, we found other ways of saying, “I love you.”
When he repeats the same story, I listen as if hearing it for the first time. I make the bed, cook his favorite foods, and clean the kitchen without complaining. When he leaves his used napkin beside his chair, I pick it up without announcing it.
We both take turns getting up with the puppy and letting the other one sleep. One of us offers to do the chore we both hate — with a smile. We don’t say cruel things when we’re angry and think the best when it looks the worst.
The list goes on, encompassing a lifetime of little things that all add up to one big, “I love you.”
As the marriage vows state, we love and cherish each other through lost jobs, health challenges, forgetfulness, and sometimes feeling taken for granted.
Words are important too. I tell my husband I love him, admire him, respect him, and appreciate all the things he does for our welfare. I say it often, not just now and then. He tells me the same. We are a partnership, built on mutual respect and admiration for the other’s abilities and contributions.
Today we won’t go out to dinner. We’d rather eat at home, away from the crowds. Wewon’t exchange cards. Instead, we will restate our love in the kitchen over coffee. We will spend the day doing our usual things, peppered with touches, kisses, and long conversations. For us, Valentine’s is every day.