This is a Valentine dedication to the most amazing, wonderful, loving parents in the entire world. I can’t believe everything the two of them have been through together in their 46 years of marriage and the turmoils of life – especially with my younger brother and me. This year has brought them the most challenging of times fighting cancer as well as the most rewarding times becoming grandparents. Through it all, and throughout my ENTIRE life, the one thing I have always been able to count on is the love they have for each other. And I don’t just mean a mutual, respective love. I mean, deep down, burning, passionate, it’s-like-we’re-still-18 love. They exude love and care and passion when they are together. There is a level of respect and dignity and truth and compassion that is unmistakeable. It has always been such an example for my brother and I. It’s also been more than that – it’s a basic need that was always fulfilled beautifully in our lives throughout our childhood, too. It provided us with confidence growing up because we had such a stable loving home. It taught us forgiveness, respect and how to treat those that love you. It taught us how to be loving, confident adults. As I’ve gotten older, I have recognized how lucky we are. And it’s not easy to be in a relationship or a marriage. My husband and I have been together for 16 years and married for 13. While fun, exciting and all, we have had our serious ups and downs. I’d like to say we strive to live by mutual respect, love and adoration for each other. And as we venture into raising this beautiful daughter of ours, we too look to my parent’s example of love and I can honestly say, we have learned some lessons that we needed to learn by being around them once a month this year for almost a year now. So I gratefully share some of these with you today as I reflect on the mesmerizing love these two share.
Lessons in Love that I learned from the best examples I could have ever asked for, my loving parents of 46 years:
1. Live by the golden rule – do unto each other as you want done unto you.
2. Treat each other with respect.
3. Never argue in front of your kids.
4. Love all the time. Show honest affection for each other.
5. Kiss good morning and before bed and any time you’ve been apart.
6. Don’t call because you have to, call because you want to.
7. Eat what the other fixes for you and appreciate how skillfully or unskillfully it was prepared, you didn’t have to do it.
8. If you cooked, then I do the dishes.
9. When we don’t agree, discuss without criticism, sarcasm or fault.
10. Accept each other’s faults or short comings and actively try to help them with those things. Accept what could be considered really annoying about me and in turn, I accept what could be considered really annoying about you.
11. Try to understand how the way a person was raised deeply affects who they are as a person today. Our past is difficult to overcome no matter our age.
12. Treat me like I am your favorite person in the world.
13. Listen to me even when you don’t feel like it.
14. Support each other’s dreams.
15. Sacrifice for each other.
16. Tell each other how much you love them multiple times throughout the day and each time you get off the phone.
17. Tell your kids and your friends how proud you are of your spouse. Speak highly of their accomplishments. Never put them down.
18. Take pride in what you’ve accomplished in the years you’ve been together.
19. Always speak of the other with love and adoration. Don’t complain about the other’s shortcomings to anyone.
20. Love with every fiber of your being.
21. Apologize when you are wrong.
22. Tell your love story with the same enthusiasm as you had when you met and set out on your journey.
23. Do things together and don’t do things without each other.
24. Temptation isn’t relevant as long as I have you.
25. When times are hard, I will always be there for you, no matter how hard it gets.
26. Love unconditionally. I love you 110% no matter what.
27. Any friend of yours is a friend of mine.
28. Don’t spend time away from each other unless you have to.
29. Spend time talking everyday. Every. Single. Day. In the end, that is all you will have.
30. Plan your future together. Include day dreaming, wishful thinking and actual reality.
31. Be considerate of what you eat that will affect your breath when you live, breathe and sleep with someone.
32. Go to the doctor and to the dentist. No question.
33. Be each other’s biggest fan and most valuable team player. Be a team. Play fair.
34. Encourage each other to do what they don’t think they can.
35. Listen to each other’s heart.
36. Celebrate each other’s birthday because it is the day that God gave them life and you a spouse/partner.
37. Accept each other’s family. Rejoice the good and deal with the bad and the ugly.
38. Do things you don’t necessarily want to do if it makes the other happy. They will return the favor.
39. Forgive and forget. If you live hanging onto and harping on the past, you will never overcome it to live a harmonious future. Don’t look back.
40. Stay young at heart.
41. Compliment each other physically and emotionally daily. Celebrate what they’re good at.
42. My happiness is your happiness.
43. Don’t ever call each other names in the heat of an argument. Ever.
44. Make time for alone time with each other.
45. Love is kind, unless I’m hungry.
46. Be aware of each other’s day and react accordingly.
47. Always see both sides of every story.
48. Never intentionally hurt the one you love, even out of anger.
49. Be happy to see me.
50. Never go to bed upset with each other. Always kiss goodnight.
XO ~ Stephanie