Recently, one of my friends was telling me a story about her parents. She said that every Christmas, her mom and dad each create a list for one another. These lists usually complete the sentence: "I love you because..." And, these lists tend to run the gamut when it comes to the types of things that they write about. From practical things like "because you did the dishes yesterday" to silly things like "because you started painting your toenails in the winter" to romantic things like "because I can't wait to retire and spend all of my days with you," my friend's parents write long lists to profess ther love to one another every single year. Then, on Christmas morning, her mom and dad read their lists to one another out loud for everyone to hear.
I know, it's ridiulously sweet. I actually may have a cavity.
There are two main reasons why I love this story, why I decided to make it a love tip on my blog, and why Hus and I will begin this tradition in December.
First, telling your partner why you are in love with him/her is an excellent relationship maintenance tool. It allows (and forces) you to express yourself emotionally to the person you love, it strengthens your relationship by reminding each other why you are together in the first place, it makes for amazing memories to cherish forever, and it just feels good to hear wonderful things about yourself- especially when those things come from your partner-in-crime. Additionally, being specific, detailed, and varied in your reasons makes each one even more special.
Second, sharing these lists with your children (like my friend's parents did with her and her sisters) allows them to see first-hand what real love is and how to express love. You may have heard that "the best gift a father can give his children is to love their mother." Well, this could not be more true. Showing your children what a healthy romantic relationship looks like so that they can model you is priceless to them. Sharing your lists with your children shows them that love can be funny and serious, that even things that seemingly bother you are really things that you love about one another, and that after all is said and done, the two of you are in it for the long haul. All of which are very important for children to see.
I'd like to end by thanking my friend's parents for being great partners to one another and great parents to their three daughters. You may not have fully realized it, but your yearly "love lists" have had a significant impact on your marriage and on your girls.