Love is in the air
It’s that time of year. Cupids. Hearts. Chocolate fountains. Clever marketing. The TV commercial says that diamonds are forever. Not true. I know of a newly-married gal who left her beautiful diamond ring at a Cracker Barrel. Yes, a Cracker Barrel. It was one of those massive diamonds, too, which cost a year’s worth of home mortgage payments. But she took it off to put lotion on her hands and left it right there in the Cracker Barrel gift shop ... probably on top of the French vanilla candles or those little poodles with the bobbing heads. Nevertheless, upon return, it had vanished. Forever? No. Not even close.
While there’s nothing wrong with diamonds, I’d recommend that married folks go a more “forever” route with their love sentiments this year. Be kind. Give genuine compliments. Wake up every morning with this thought, “What could I do to make his/her day go more smoothly?”
Because February is considered the month of love, I thought we might all do well to pull in for a little tune-up with the Love Doctor. I’m sure we all need to ask ourselves the question, “Is that love in the air or is that just the burnt cheese smell from last night’s pizza?” In order to facilitate our tune-up, I just have two little questions. These aren’t for your spouse. They’re for you.
How do you speak to the one you claim to love? When your second cousin calls from Minnesota, you speak with enthusiasm, kindness and interest, don’t you? You even ask questions and act happy to hear the answers. It’s almost amusing when I hear some spouses speaking to each other on the cell phone. It’s like cave man language. Grunts and sighs and a complete lack of verbal effort. It’s as though they’re saying, “If this were someone interesting on the phone, I might put out some effort ... but, it’s just my wife.” Change the spark plugs of your daily verbal interaction.
How do you spend your time? I don’t think married people should spend every moment of every day together. But I know that it’s unhealthy to spend more time with Aunt Harriett or your mother than with your spouse. Look at seven days in your marriage and ask yourself where the time is being invested. Carve out special times to talk, go to dinner (without the kids), and be together in “significant” ways. No excuses. I’ve heard them all. Here are just a few: “We have 11 kids and we both have full-time jobs.” Great, you need date night more than anyone I know. “We work opposite shifts and we never see each other.” That’s a problem. Married people who never see each other are in a dangerous place. Someone needs to look for another job. “We don’t have money to go out or get a babysitter.” Make arrangements to drop the kids with a friend or family member and go home for a few hours. Beans and rice eaten in candlelight can be lovely.
Phil and I started a competition almost 20 years ago. We decided to see which one of us could be the most thoughtful, selfless spouse on a daily basis. We each determined to serve the other better than we were being served. We’ve failed at that many times and have asked forgiveness of each other. But we’ve never forgotten the spirit of the competition. And, in case you’re wondering who’s winning ... we both are.
Editor’s note: Lisa Smartt’s column appears each Wednesday in the Friends and Neighbors section of The Messenger. Mrs. Smartt is the wife of Philip Smartt, the University of Tennessee at Martin parks and recreation and forestry professor, and is mother to two boys, Stephen and Jonathan. She is a freelance writer and speaker. Her book “The Smartt View: Life, Love, and Cluttered Closets” is available at The Messenger, The University of Tennessee at Martin bookstore or by mail for $10, plus $2 shipping. Send checks to Lisa Smartt, 300 Parrott Road, Dresden TN 38225. She can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 2.13.08
Lisa Smartt, Smartt View