Friday, February 12, 2010

I Love You For All My Heart

Our Valentine's Day was last Tuesday. Yes, I live in the United States, and just like most people, the calendars in our house argue that February 14th is the actual day of the holiday, but for my husband and I, Valentine's Day was last Tuesday, February 9th.

As usual, we didn't exchange cards, candies or gifts, but rather, as a wonderful present, my husband called for a sitter, made the dinner reservations and surprised me with a date. It has only taken him twelve years to catch on to what sorts of things really seem romantic to me, and I am so happy that he has never given up on working at it.

We had no problem getting a reservation and the evening was quiet and romantic. The movie theatre was nearly empty and my husband joked that he rented it out just for us. He said that as a courtesy, he agreed to let those other three people sit in on our special movie date. We had a great time, and I was quickly reminded why I work through those occasional frustrations to keep loving this man. It is good for my heart.

It is through loving him that my heart is rewarded. It struck me when our littlest hugged me with her valentine the other day and said, "I love you for all my heart mom!" It was an innocent miscue, but when I really reflected on how the changing of that one little word changed the meaning so entirely, I realized how the rewording better explains what happens because of intimate relationships. I think it is not an accident that loving others can be so enjoyable for the one doing the loving.

Sure, we love people because we want to make them feel good, or they are an important relationship in our lives that we want to keep, but I think we often forget how loving someone pays such amazing dividends for our own hearts. Loving people makes us feel great. In one of the books that I read for my Choosing to Grow book research, there is an argument about how doing for others creates more genuine happiness. Isn't that really just an example of how loving others is good for our own hearts? Studies suggest that charitable activities bring more joy to peoples' lives than money, and from personal experience I concur with that conclusion.

I love my husband because he makes me laugh, he challenges my thinking, he is an unbelievable father to our children, he dreams big with me, he is dependable, he is talented, he makes me proud to stand next to him, he makes a difference in the lives he touches and when it is occasionally hard to love him, I just need to remember that loving him is for my heart too.