Ten Years and Counting

Truth Byte #67

"Your love matters."

 

Yesterday was a busy day. I had five clients, two conference calls, one free consultation, and a job interview. Plus, I made three breakfasts, three lunches, and four dinners, made sure kids were brushed and washed and happy and looked after. I even squeezed in two calls to my sister and a text to my mom. And let’s be honest, I checked social media a few times and read a chapter in my book and watched some tv.

 

A busy day.

 

In the middle of it, I got a call from a number I didn’t recognize. I eventually the reached the person, who was looking for a counsellor. After a few minutes, it became clear to me that she was looking for free counselling services, which I am not offering anymore. It was hard to be on that call, because I knew she was not going to get what she wanted from me, and yet she was keeping me on the phone….right in the middle of my very busy day.

A few months ago, I would have cut the conversation short, coming across as rude and rushed (something my mom always tells me off about!). But today, something was different. Today, I realized I had a very short window of time with this woman, may never speak to her again, and that the time we shared together really mattered.

 

So I listened. I advised. I empathized.

 

In fifteen minutes, I was able to send her off feeling heard, and I didn’t feel trapped in a phone call that was not going to result in signing a client.

 

I felt pretty darn good about that phone call.

 

But then I got to thinking.

 

How many times have I been in a room with people who matter more to me than anyone else, and I have ignored or dismissed them because I am responding to some email or FB message or text from an acquaintance? How many times have my kids worked themselves into a frenzy because it feels to them like my phone is more important than they are? Why am I so rude and rushed at home, and yet for clients, I stop everything and give my undivided attention?

 

Today, I make a commitment to all those who love me and crave my company: I am going to start treating you like I treat my clients:

 

I am going to make time for you.

I am going to be present with you.

I am going to be kind to you and give you the benefit of the doubt.

I am going to charge you for the hour. (Just kidding, lol!)

 

But for real, why don’t we make “appointments” with the people we love? For the first couple of years in our marriage, my husband and I used to have a weekly date night. It seems now we only really stop if it’s Valentine’s Day or our wedding anniversary. Somewhere along the years we went from 52 dates in a year to 2 dates in a year.  Pretty dismal.

 

Valentine’s Day is coming up next week. And while I agree it’s a big marketing ploy by the flower-and-chocolate gods, I also relish in the idea of one day where we just pour our love into each other. It’s a day we can be dreamy-eyed with each other again and remember why we promised to spend our life with this particular person. For those in new relationships, it’s a chance to see what the next steps may be, whether it’s the butterflies of that first kiss or the anticipation of meeting each other’s parents (but for godsakes, don’t be the guy that tries to meet the parents on V-day!)  And for all the singles out there, it’s a chance to have hope, to believe that lasting love is possible, no matter how badly your heart may have been broken before.

 

This Valentine’s Day, my guy is flying out of town for a business meeting. Our first Valentine’s Day we spent in Chicago, eating fancy Brazilian food and then watching a musical during the most intense blizzard of the year.  I remember the snow blowing into my knee-high boots and drenching my I-still-want-to-impress-this-guy-sheer nylons. We were engaged, and so googly-eyed for each other. I don’t recall every spending a Valentine’s Day apart since we met.

 

So it will be a different kind of day for me this year.

 

This Valentine’s Day I will be thinking about the forest of our love that grew from two little seeds. From two kids in their mid-20’s falling in love over email and MSN chat, we have built something extraordinary. We have children, a home, a loving extended family, and a shared vision for our life. And that took effort, and work, and stretching each other. It took sessions with a counsellor and couple’s workshops and admitting it when we needed help. It took ten years of prioritizing our marriage over every other relationship, including the ones we have with our kids, our siblings, and our parents. It took a stubborn determination to keep coming back to each other, no matter how tough the conversations, how deep the hurt. And now we live in this incredible forest of love, where he can go away for a day or a week and when he comes back, it’s like we are newlyweds again.

 

Your love matters.

 

Your current love, your past loves, they matter.

 

Love holds up a mirror to you and says, “See? Even if you can’t see it sometimes, I see it. You are loveable.” This Valentine’s Day, let the people around you show you just how loveable you are, and remember that your love matters. Whether it’s taking a few extra minutes on the phone with someone or some unforgettable grand gesture, every act of love counts.

 

It’s your life, and only you can live it.