Tuesday, April 8, 2014

"I Love You," and "I'm Sorry."

Once, early in our marriage, my husband and I did a Family Home Evening activity in which we each wrote down ten things we loved about the other person.  I realized that something about my husband's list, which was very nice and should have made me feel great, left me unsatisfied.  It took me a day or two to process it, but then I realized why.  By no fault of his own, his list had only included the things that I do, without listing any of the things that I am.  My list had been similarly oriented:
  • I love you because you take initiative whenever you see something that needs to be cleaned up or fixed around the house.
  • I love you because you work so hard at your job.
  • I love you because you spend time outdoors every day.
  • I love you because you make time for me even when we are both busy.
  • I love you because you never raise your voice to me.
Those are all wonderful things!  But a list like that can end up feeling kind of impersonal.  Compare to these statements:
  • I love you because you are diligent and efficient.
  • I love you because you are adventurous.
  • I love you because you are easy to talk to.
  • I love you because you are believing.
  • I love you because you are kind and generous.
We talked about it later, and he agreed with me that both kinds of expression are important.

My toddler and I enjoy most any Sandra Boynton book.  One of them, Snuggle Puppy, has a fun little poem that a mother dog sings to her puppy:

Well, I have a thing to tell you and it won't take long.
The way I feel about you is a kind of a song.
It starts with an ooh, and ends with a kiss
And all along the middle it goes something like this:

It goes ooh! Snuggle Puppy of mine,
Everything about you is especially fine.
I love what you are.
I love what you do.

Fuzzy little Snuggle Puppy,
I love you.

Maybe everyone else already gets this.  But for me, I learned an important lesson to verbalize my love in both ways: I love what you are, I love what you do!

And on a different note: here is an article I read today on how to teach children to say sorry.  I really liked what the author had to say.  Children (and all of us) should follow an outline like this:
  1. I'm sorry that I...
  2. This is wrong because...
  3. In the future I will...
  4. Will you forgive me? 


  1. Thanks for these thoughts, Meredith. I liked that article. I cannot remember politeness being emphasized (and practiced like a school subject) in my public school classrooms. What a cool teacher. I'll try out the technique around here, even when I'm the one apologizing.

  2. Meredith, thanks for posting this. I take apologizing to my boys very seriously, it's nice to see a way to improve here. Let me know when you run across a formula for being more patient... I have been needing to apologize a lot for the past... three years.

  3. I recently read that one difference between men and women is that women care more about being (qualities/characteristics) and men put more of an emphasis on doing. Like you (and perhaps like most women) I appreciate it the most when I receive a compliment about my nature, while Micah prefers to hear compliments about particular things he accomplishes. Great article as well.

    1. That's an interesting distinction. Do you have a link to the article? I'd like to read it.

  4. Thanks for posting! Sandra Boynton has done it again!