When asked her favourite story theme, a friend of mine always says that she wants to read about people who do great things for love. My answer is the opposite. I want to read about people who persistently do the little things for love.
A few days ago was the fiftieth anniversary of the date on which my personal romantic hero and I first began to talk about marriage. I remember that Christmas we joined a group to go carol-singing around for the old-folks, and we were both struck by the elderly couples who listened, holding hands. That could be us, one day.
In the intervening years, we’ve had our sorrows and our joys. We’ve been through times of colliding and others of drifting apart. Always, we’ve found our way through to a renewed commitment, a deeper love.
Looking back, I can count some real crises, when one or both of us was called upon to do something great for love–to leave a cherished job, to move the length of the country, to believe in one another and our love when everything around us tried to pull us apart.
What allowed us to keep going was a habit of looking after one other, of showing our love every day in little, even hidden, ways. Doing the little things, even when we didn’t want to.
As a writer, I am often emotionally and mentally absent even when I’m physically present. My personal romantic hero reminds me to eat, brings me coffee, reads a great review when asked, takes on most of the cooking so I have more time for writing, brings me flowers, does all the shopping (including spending the time needed to read all the labels to cope with my food allergies).
He loves me, and he shows me he loves me every day.
And I love him. I take a break to watch silly videos he has found on YouTube, laugh at his jokes (even if I’ve heard them before), make him a drink when he comes in from the garden, admire the newly mown lawns, send him text messages during the day to say I love him.
Doing the little things every day, even when you don’t feel like it, isn’t always easy. It should become a habit, and that helps. But it’s easy to forget, which is why it matters. Being loving to the one you love, every day of every week, month after month, year after year–come to think of it, that is doing something great for love.
Now, we are old. And when we walk, when we sit together in church, when we go to the movies or listen to carol singing, we hold hands.