My meeting ended a bit sooner than I had expected. If I ran, I could catch the 2:43 train home. Even better, it was an Express. I could make it home to my husband’s arms and smiles a full 85 minutes sooner. I wanted to show him how much I like being with him. And my earlier arrival would be a surprise, a bonus in our lexicon of romance.
“Don’t tell me how much you love me, show me.”
“Don’t listen to what he says, look at what he does.”
“Don’t just talk the talk but walk the walk.”
“Don’t tell me how much you love me, show me how much time you want to spend with me.
What, How and Why does taking the early train show love?
- Love means — following through on promises or going one better. He knew that I planned to limit my time in the city so that I could be available later that afternoon. I needed to honor my word, an implicit promise that I would be available for planning, sharing, working or simply taking care of myself after my meeting. Expanding the time available underscored my intention.
- Love means — making choices that amplify the message “You are a priority!” How can someone feel loved if they always come last? In the sad story that Cindi Michael tells about her famous father being too busy or otherwise unavailable to her when she was growing up, she underscores the power of messages she received as a child to be interpreted through a child’s world-view. In feeling unimportant, she came to feel unlovable.
Love means — knowing when your loved one craves pleasure, satisfaction, inspiration, or comfort, even though you may sometimes need to ask what is desired. By paying attention to the changing wants and needs of another person, we are able to attune ourselves to ways in which we can help meet those needs or find ways to encourage their fulfillment without us. In a particularly difficult time in my husband’s life when I was teaching and unable to be around much mid-week, I bought him a (then-new and innovative) digital camera, an intriguing new “toy”. That simple gift and his delight in learning to use it have brought him an activity that has provided comfort, inspiration and joy ever since. I knew instinctively that he would have the patience to study the user manual for this new device and the technology that accompanied it. Had he given me the same gift, I might have been angry, my frustration at the learning curve drowning out, at least temporarily, the pleasures that mastery can permit.
- Love means — listen to your impulses but do not make assumptions. Chances are that, when we attune to someone we love, our instincts and impulses about them are on target. However, we can be wrong. When I called to announce I was on an earlier train, I interrupted him in an activity in which he was engaged. He was indeed delighted, but I felt badly that I had made the assumption he would be pleased by my efforts. In fact. he was delighted, but maybe he would have been better off being able to continue doing what he was doing without my interruption. (He told me later that I was wrong about that too.)
- And finally, loving invites us to expose those instincts and impulses to reason. I missed this one yesterday, or thought I did, but it all worked out well. Taking a minute to think through potential consequences of a choice can also show love, helping us be prepared for unwelcome surprises so that they do not remain unspoken and can lead to solutions.
Was there a time when you switched a plan to show love to someone? What message did your flexibility send? How was your choice received? If misunderstood, were you able to correct it?
Copyright 2017 Roni Beth Tower