Our love is not an accident. The health of our relationship — how happy we are with each other — hasn’t come about because we managed to simply stay together through the hard times. We choose each other every day.
I am committed to being his helper, and he is committed to being mine. I have learned to derive joy from the act of loving him, rather than the ways he gives to me. We look for ways to be generous with each other. I choose not to worry about whether he has done “enough” for me. I choose not to keep score.
I forgive him quickly. I choose to be charitable with him, to see his intentions along with his actions, to always assume the best of him. I choose to acknowledge his mistakes and then to move on.
I speak his language so that he knows he is loved. I know what makes him feel loved and appreciated, which is different than what makes me feel loved and appreciated. I feel most loved when he tells me he loves me, but he feels most loved when I show him I love him through physical touch.
I communicate intentionally. I don’t expect him to read my mind, I tell him what I need and I ask him what he needs from me.
I express gratitude frequently. I don’t take the things I love about him for granted, I express thanks for them to him. I notice when he goes out of his way to do something nice for me, even things that become “expected” in a relationship. Love means never having to ask someone to pick you up at the airport, but always saying “thank you” when they do.
I always take his side. No matter what he does, I have his back. This doesn’t mean I don’t tell him when I think he’s made an error, it just means I commit myself to approaching the situation as if we are on the same side. We want the same outcome — which is for both of us to be happy, so we can work together to iron out the details of what that means situation by situation. I know that there is no need to compete or work against each other when we are working toward the same goal.
The reason many couples stay together is because it’s less work than breaking up. When I say I choose him every day, I mean that I love him deliberately. I mean that it brings me joy to wake up and choose to be with him. I mean that I won’t settle for a love that’s less than this.