Say what you will about the commercialization of Valentine's Day, Feb. 14. I don't pay much heed to that. Cardboard hearts full of chocolates are a nice thought, but not really necessary. I'd much rather have a kind word and a warm hug any day.
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I do appreciate, though, that Valentine's Day is a reminder to think of those who are most dear to us and how they became that way.
What endeared me the most about my husband "way back" then still draws me to him today. When we were first getting to know each other, I noticed his friendly nature. He wasn't just kind to me or to people our age. He was respectful of and kind to older people. He was engaging with children. And the sweet tone he used with babies ... well, it didn't take much more convincing than that.
It was important to me to have a husband who would be kind and friendly. I also wanted a man who would work hard because I work hard.
Looking back and remembering the qualities that first endeared me to my husband helps me continue appreciating the love we share today.
I think a lot of relationships fall apart because people fail to remember why they came together.
Relationships also falter when men and women lose the sweetness that once existed between them. Remember those criticisms you thought but wouldn't dare say in the early days? Do those not-so-nice things seem to easily roll off your tongue today?
Are your comments to your spouse directed toward a friend, or are you coming across as a parent? Remember, it is not your role to control your spouse. He or she is an adult. You may want to facilitate change, but avoid the temptation to force change.
Perhaps you are unable to alter a situation that frustrates you, but you can control your response to it. Hold your tongue and see if that doesn't help a little bit.
Some relationships fall apart when offenses are remembered as if a score were being kept in a big game. Last week's fouls belong to last week's game. The past should stay in the past.
Couples sometimes need to be reminded that it's important to think the best of each other. Does every action and every word need to be analyzed?
Only if they are worth remembering. A little tolerance goes a long way.
This Valentine's Day, make your words and actions ones to remember. You won't regret it, and your spouse will remember.
Lisa Tedrick Prejean writes a weekly column for The Herald-Mail's Family page. Send e-mail to her at email@example.com.