Small Ways to Say I love You

With my sister-in-law’s upcoming wedding this weekend and Valentine’s day the weekend after that I’ve been thinking a lot about love! I’m not usually someone who really celebrates Valentine’s day–with Christmas at the end of December and then my birthday at the end of January, I honestly feel bad that there is another holiday so close that usually calls for gift giving. Brinton and I usually keep things pretty simple, and we make an effort through the year to continue to intentionally date each other and express our love.

How you might express love to those you care about may differ based on your relationship and your personalities, but here are some ideas for how to say I love you!

Small Ways to Say I Love You

Lunch notes // Every now and then I will pack my husband’s lunch for him for work and write a little note to him. It’s usually something simple like, “Thanks for working so hard!” or “I love you and can’t wait to see you tonight!” but he says it always makes him smile when he sees it.

Do his or her least favorite chore // Brinton and I both hate doing dishes, so when one of us tackles the whole sink it is definitely out of love for the other. Maybe your loved one hates folding their socks, or can’t stand taking out the trash, or really dreads scrubbing the shower. Do it for them as a small way to show your love and thoughtfulness.

Sing a voicemail // When my husband and I were dating in high school, I called him one day while he was working and I knew he wouldn’t be able to answer his phone. When his voicemail picked up I sang to him the chorus of I just called to say I love you by Stevie Wonder. He saved that voicemail for years and played it for me a few days before we were married. It was so special for me to realize that something I thought was a silly little way to say I love you meant so much to him.

Surprise him or her with their favorite meal // Food is more than just food to me–food is an expression of love itself! I love surprising Brinton with his favorite meals or snacks. Getting creative in the kitchen is one of my favorite ways to let Brinton know I care about him.

Hold hands // I love when my husband and I are just sitting on the couch and he reaches over and takes my hand. It’s the smallest gesture, but it instantly connects us and makes me feel closer to him. Feeling close and connected is so important, especially today when we are usually so plugged in and disconnected from each other.

Take time to pause together // With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, taking the time to pause can be hard. Every now and then when Brinton will come up to kiss me, I’ll be in the middle of cleaning up after the baby, or trying to get something done, or rushing to get somewhere on time and the last thing on my mind is stopping to give my husband a long hug or kiss. But then I pause and remember that the mac and cheese Evan threw on the floor can wait, because there is nothing more important than my husband and our relationship. Taking those few extended seconds with each other can make all the difference in our relationship that day.

There are so many more ways to express love, but I hope these few ideas gave you something new to think about!

Assume the good, doubt the bad…

Today at church I had the opportunity to listen to a wonderful lesson that one of the young women leaders was teaching to our girls. The topic was how we can support and serve our family members, and why it is so important. As she was teaching, I felt very pensive. I have reflected on my my relationship with my family each and every day for the last few years. I realize that I probably was not the most amazing teenager to raise, and that I have so many shortcomings that it is a miracle that my parents even allowed me to live through my teenage and young adult years. Sometimes I argue with my husband over silly little things that neither of us remember the next day, and on occasion I have realized that I am just plain rude to my extended family.

I am not perfect. I have made many mistakes, hurt a lot of feelings, burned a few bridges, tried to mend wounds, learned, tried to grow, re-built relationships, cherished the little things, become best friends, and have really realized why family is so very important. Through it all, I think the biggest thing I have learned is that I could have done better. I think we all come to a point in our lives when we realize this. It’s part of growing up, really. This is something that I know now, and that helps make me a better person each and every day. I think before I act. I choose my words carefully. I make the decision to not be offended. I cling to the opportunities I have to see or talk to family. Sometimes, I fall short. I realize I have slipped back into being distant, or moody, or that I have started to take for granted these people who I love dearly. So I start again, trying each day to be better than I was the day before.

This lesson at church really impacted me today. As I was sitting and listening to the lesson, I was reminded of a quote I recently saw on facebook. It is by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, and it was a reminder that I needed to hear.

How often do we not do this? Why does it become so easy sometimes to assume that someone–especially someone we love–intended the worst possible thing and meant to hurt us? Why do we not give people the benefit of the doubt? Why do we let these feelings grow and fester, rather than assuming the good and letting the bad go?

Just like I am not perfect, my loved ones aren’t perfect either. The thing is, I don’t expect them to be perfect. They don’t expect me to be perfect. It’s okay to slip up. It’s okay to have a bad day. What it isn’t okay to do is push family away. It isn’t okay to look for reasons why our loved one is wrong. It isn’t okay to have to always be right. And, it isn’t okay to be offended by the little things, or to look for reasons to be upset.

Choosing to not be offended is actually much easier than you might think. Instead of assuming the worst and feeling hurt, try taking a brief moment to give the other person the benefit of the doubt. Brush it off, and move on. You will be astounded how much better you feel. Just try it. If you don’t see your relationships improving, you can always go back to being upset and offended. But I promise you, the more you try to “assume the good and doubt the bad,” the more you will feel the burden of contention lifted from your shoulders and your relationships.

Try it this week. This is my formal challenge to you, my 15 readers that have somehow stumbled across my blog. I’m not saying it will be easy. I’m expecting it to be quite challenging. But I am also expecting it to be very, very worth it. Extend the practice outside of your families too. Put it into play with everyone you come in contact with this week. Your co-workers. A friend. The person on the bus who takes the last seat. That car in traffic that cut you off. Choose not to be offended.

Assume the good, doubt the bad.