February 6, 2015


Once Upon a Time…

The beginning of every fairy tale. And isn’t that how the tales of our lives are supposed to start?

Once upon a time, we met. And fell in love.

And the love was blissful. And the love was fun. And the love was easy.

Back then, back in the bliss-full stage, when we were living the easy life {but had no idea that’s what it was} we’d read the newspaper. We’d have time to read it all, page by page, as we sipped espresso and would absentmindedly pet the dog.

And in our local paper there was a nationally syndicated columnist who wrote about relationships. And each weekend we’d read what he had to say. Sometimes we’d nod our heads sagely. Sometimes we’d lift an eyebrow in distain. But there was one column that sent both of us into hysterics. In it, he wrote that when times are tough act as if you cherish your partner. And then, over time, you’ll cherish them. Act? As if? Please.

Yet even though the column, we were sure, was completely out of line, the message lingered. It is the only one I remember to this day.

Which might be because of my mother.

She had one golden rule about the person you love: find someone who cherishes you. She said it often over the years. Lots and lots and lots of often. I’m sure I rolled my eyes. I am less sure if I was savvy enough to do it behind her back or actually did it to her face. {please note I said savvy, not mature}.

Well, here’s the thing. It turns out she was right. And so was he.

Because after the fairy tale starts of Once Upon a Time, we move on to the playground rhymes.

First comes love…

Remember that one? First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in a baby carriage.

And now here we all are. On the other side of our modern-day fairy tales. Love. Commitment. Kids. And life on the other side has, let’s be honest, less bliss. It has moments of fun, but not very often whole weekends of it. And easy? …

So it turns out, now is the time to cherish.

But not in the way either of them framed it {sorry, mom}.

Because here’s what I think they forgot to say: it is the thought that counts. The power is in your thought. It isn’t your partner’s job to do all the cherishing {sorry again, mom}. Nor is it going to happen by action alone {sorry columnist-guy}.

It is the thinking. It is the I-want-to-do-something-that-cherishes-you-if-I-did-cherish-you-what-would-that-be? thinking.

In short, #iwtdstcyiidcywwtb.

What does that look like? It’s all about the little things. For example, picking up their favorite Talenti sea salt caramel ice cream on your way home. Just because. Because once you #iwtdstcyiidcywwtb and you get to see their delighted surprise, or genuine thanks, or, hey, they in turn do something for you, you want to do it again. And again. And after awhile, your brain shortens the pathway. It becomes something more like I-want-to-act-like-I-cherish-you.


And after a dozen or so #iwtalicy moments in which the action gets great feedback, you find yourself, well, cherishing them. It starts so small. And ends in an avalanche of love.

So this year, don’t wait. Don’t wait for the calendar to tell you it’s time for 1000 long-stemmed roses. Or hundreds of balloons. Or dozens of chocolates. Or one big piece of jewelry. Don’t wait. Start early. Start tiny. Start now. Each day. #cherish. How will you act? I’d love to know. Keep me posted.

And, if you’d like some sweet support getting this started, come join us. Return to Us is all about {re}discovering each other.



  1. I know just a *smidge* about this ;)!

  2. Over 25 years of marriage, we’ve had more than a few moments where we’ve both had to move from #iwtdstcyiidcywwtb to #iwtalicy…! And you are absolutely right, the pathway does shorten! It actually is both a mental pathway and a neurological pathway that is restored — and both lead to the heart.
    My small steps include being intentional in making eye contact during the routine comings and goings of life; apologizing for my often-too-sharp-tone of voice; and so on…
    Thank you as always for a wonderful, insightful reflection!

    • Terry- it exactly that, isn’t it? Here’s to your next 25!

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