And, so to Valentine’s Day…
Having loved and lost and loved again — now in the 11th year with my sweetie — here’s how he won my heart, and continues to.
I suspect many of these are on your wish list as well:
Be loyal. If someone disses me, especially in front of others, remind them, however gently, that their concerns are best addressed directly to me.
Be fair. If you know I’ve been doing all the housework and you’ve been doing none, man up and grab that toilet bowl brush!
Listen carefully. Do not blow me off with “I hear you.” Focus your undivided attention on me for at least 30 minutes every day and you will learn who I am and where I’m going and whether I still want you with me on that journey.
Make me laugh. I can handle a ton o’ stress as long as I can laugh long and hard in the middle of it. A man who makes me laugh wins me every time.
Action, not words. As someone who uses words for a living, as a journalist and author, I am totally unimpressed by fair phrases and fancy promises. Heard ‘em all! I’m watching and waiting for you to put those words into action. Until you do, I tend to tune out.
Take good care of yourself. Dress with care and style, smell good, trim your hair and nails. Go to the gym or court or field and sweat off your stress and frustrations. Or meditate, or pray or go fishing to savor life and slow down into pleasure and come home again happy. Watch what you eat and remember that a trim, healthy man who respects himself enough to keep strong and flexible is attractive at any age.
Be fun. What do you do for pure fun? That does not involve some tech-toy or screen or sitting still? Think of fun, spontaneous things to do or places to go or a new meal to try. Delight me, please.
Have a spiritual life. You must be very clear that we all are much more than the sum of our possessions, good looks and/or fancy job title. What are you giving back to this world of value to others?
Astonish me. My sweetie scrubbed my mother’s soiled mattress after she had been trapped in bed for days before she was rescued with a brain tumor (She is fine.) Who does that? He did. Sold!
Don’t confuse charm or personality with character. It’s a very old-fashioned word, character, but it’s what lasts long after superficial charm or a cute smile or a cool job. After the age of 40, life starts getting much tougher for most of us, as our parents sicken and die, as friends die too young and we face our our work and health challenges. A man, or woman, with character will be steadfast through it all.
Be kind. To me, yourself, to others. Pat dogs and cats in passing (unless you’re allergic or phobic.) Hug babies and kids — everyone! Kiss people when you see them. Hold their hands, literally or figuratively, when they are scared or lonely. Compassion is one of the sexiest qualities a man can have!
And, yes, of course — we need to bring these qualities as well!
What qualities in your sweetie won your heart?