Top 10 ways to say, ‘I love you’ without candy

Published 12:15 pm Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Cupids and hearts — ah, it’s the holiday of L O V E.

Is there anything that says, “I love you,” more than a chunk of chocolate and a mushy greeting card? And don’t you measure how much someone cares by the size of a bunch of flowers?

Retailers and florists everywhere have the answers to those questions. In fact, they started directing folks toward the best ways to show valentine love almost before the Christmas ornaments went back in the closet.

As much as I love a good chunk of chocolate and the sweet fragrance of flowers, neither one of those things last very long, especially chocolate at my house. I know, I know — it’s the thought that counts. It’s that someone took the time to remember you on a day set aside by Hallmark.

(Yes, I know the Hallmark folks didn’t really dream up Valentine’s Day, but you’d never know it if you watch the movies they show on their channel.)

Don’t misunderstand, I love and appreciate all the candy and other assorted expressions I’ve received on this special day. However, what happens on one day is not really the true measure of affection now is it?

Nope, it is that day in and day out stuff that makes for the real show when it comes to love. After giving that some thought, I came up with a list of ways to demonstrate love. They are free and appreciated any day.

I am strictly speaking here from the female/wife perspective. I realize that guys might have a very different list. Before I begin mine, let me say I am extremely lucky to have a husband who does pretty much everything on this list. The fact that he does is how I know they say, “I love you.”

Here is the list in no particular order of importance.

  1. Shoulder and/or foot rubs given with a smile.
  2. Listening and taking my side when I am ranting about something, even if it is silly and petty and incredibly boring.
  3. Feeding my herd of cats and dogs on Saturday morning while I sleep late.
  4. Cleaning up the kitchen after I cook the meal.
  5. Noticing the dishwasher needs unloading and doing it. (Oh, I love this one so much, especially when all the clean plastic containers on the high shelf have their matching lids.)
  6. Cleaning out the inside cat’s litter box while I sleep late on a Saturday. (That’s a big I love you right there.)
  7. Sitting through a movie with me without commenting on how terribly soppy it is. (Again, think Hallmark Channel. You can also add Flea Market Flip and anything HGTV to this as well.)
  8. When I make a stupid comment about anything pertaining to sports or ask an unbelievably stupid question related to anything sports, withholding all laughter or corrections that would make me feel stupid.
  9. Noticing I’m trying to lug heavy bags of groceries from the car to the house and doing it for me.
  10. Always being my best friend, my confidant and my biggest cheerleader. (I have to brag here because my husband does one this well.)

This list has the potential for being a lot longer, but I think you get the general idea. No, none of this stuff is particularly romantic in the romance novel sense of romance. You will probably never see a movie on Hallmark with a litter box cleaning scene.

But maybe as part of the movie’s happily-ever-after, we should see couples after that final fade to the credits kiss. We should see them as they take care of each other during the stomach virus or when the hot water heater breaks, floods the house and they mop the mess up together.

Perhaps, the kindnesses, small acts of caring that tell the real story of love every day, not just on February 14, are really the best gifts.

(Although a chunk of chocolate is still good.)