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  • Writer's pictureMaria A. Mansfield

The Courage to Love

Today we celebrate LOVE and those special people we love in our life. I'm always aware that we are immensely blessed if we have at least one person to love and who loves us back. One.

We show them how special and cherished they are with acts of kindness. Classic Valentines with hearts all over cards, flowers, chocolate, unique gifts, and special dinners seem to be the ticket for a successful Valentine tonight.

But I wonder how many would instead enjoy simple gifts like being present, attentive listening, spending mindful time together. Or just being seen and embraced for who we are. These would seem much more suitable presents at a time when everyone longs for real love and validation.

Thankfully, for so many, this day doesn't only celebrate romantic love. It also tells our family, friends, kids, and those we care about how much they really mean to us and how lucky we are to even have them in our lives. So we also celebrate them -especially today.

In two weeks, we'll be married for 23 years. I can't wait to wear my wedding dress -yet again. It's been a family tradition to celebrate our marriage, vows, and all. By no means do we have a perfect marriage, obviously. However, I've had many chances to learn what real love looks like:

LOVE takes courage: It's not always easy to be so vulnerable and known for who we really are. To let someone love us back the way we deserve. It's a journey we choose to walk every day.

LOVE is always kind, it's patient, it always hopes for the best. It always trusts, always protects. If we're honest, always and never rarely describe a relationship of this tenure. But it's a direction towards these virtues. I still find them inspiring and challenging -yet worth the pursuit.

LOVE is the purest level of gratitude: I am mindful of letting my husband know what a blessing he is in so many ways. For what he does for us as a family. For all he is and has been so far. And, for the example, he's established for our boys. Gratitude never lets us give anyone or anything for granted.

LOVE always takes sacrifice: Our best intentions sometimes may fall short of what it actually takes to walk with someone we love. We grow together when we both sacrifice for the other. When we offer up something towards a common goal or project, we feel supported and seen as if it was our own. Inevitably, it's not always easy, yet it's in these moments that we know for sure we are loved beyond what we had signed up for.

I'm aware that we don't love because of: instead, we love in spite of. This takes a mature heart. Understanding that whom we love has flaws just as much as we have our own.

It's always good to remember why we fell in love. What were the virtues and qualities that first attracted us to them? Often we forget why we chose them over someone else, and we only focus on what's wrong in the relationship. What if we shifted our focus and, with gratitude, considered how blessed we are to have them today. Remembering all the good times we've shared. Wouldn't that be something to celebrate today if we opened our hearts to these thoughts instead?

I wish you a Happy Valentine's Day today, knowing that you're loved and cherished.

All my best,

Maria A. Mansfield, PRS



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