Remember those? The thing you make using a pen, paper and some thought. Not a love email or a love text or a love Facebook message, a love letter. Maybe it’s the writer junkie in me, but the things I really hold onto from my significant other are the things he’s written me, even if it’s just a short note on a scrap of paper (which he left on my desk after our first month of dating along with a vase of lilies — I still have that note).
It’s only à propos that I’m writing this post as January comes to an end because we all know what that means: Valentine’s Day is a-coming. And if you’re strapped for cash, (1) I’m pretty sure you’re not alone and (2) this is the perfect sentimental and cost-efficient gift. In fact, it’s what I gifted my sweet last year; I wrote the letter onto mat board along with my favorite photo of us and framed it.
I also wanted to share a letter from Paul Newman to his (second) wife Joanne Woodward on the day of their wedding. (It’s been circulated so much, I’m pretty sure it’s considered a quote now.)
Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens. A good marriage must be created. In the Art of Marriage, the little things are the big things. It is never being too old to hold hands. It is remembering to say ‘I love you’ at least once a day. It is never going to sleep angry. It is at no time taking the other for granted; the courtship should not end with the honeymoon; it should continue through all the years. It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives. It is standing together facing the world. It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family. It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy. It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways. It is not expecting the husband to wear a halo or the wife to have the wings of an angel. It is not looking for perfection in each other. It is cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding and a sense of humor. It is having the capacity to forgive and forget. It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow. It is finding rooms for things of the spirit. It is a common search for the good and the beautiful. It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal, dependence is mutual and obligation is reciprocal. It is not only marrying the right partner, it is being the right partner.
She stayed with him to the very end.
(image c/o kate gabrielle via Flickr)