Junior Size Love

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The true strength of any relationship is forged in the day-to-day moments, not the grand gestures.

Love in Marriage: 365 Reasons I Love My Husband

In my younger days, when I could eat anything I wanted and not consider the calorie consequences, I had a regular rotation of favorite sweet and salty treats I kept on hand in my cozy one-bedroom Boston apartment for when I was reading or writing or watching a favorite movie: Lays potato chips, Ruffles (you know, because of the ridges), Snickers bars, and Mounds bars, to name just a few. Of course there was a 7-11 convenience store directly across the street from my place which came in handy when I didn’t have something on hand (an absolute city luxury I deeply appreciated).

When it came to movies in the theater, however, which I attended solo regularly while living in Boston, the sweet treat at the top of my list was Junior Mints, and I always stopped at that 7-11 to pick up a box before heading to the theater. I always bought my popcorn at the theater, because if you’re a popcorn lover (and I am), is there anything better than movie-theater, butter-slathered popcorn? I think not.

But in between those buttery bites of popcorn, I loved the dark chocolate mini mints, and if they were “just right” I could squeeze them slightly between my thumb and index finger and make the minty white filling ooze through the cracked chocolate. Junior Mints are the perfect pairing for any kind of movie, action, sci-fi, romantic comedy, quirky indie flick.

Of course, as I’ve gotten older, indulging in my favorite treats has taken on a little more restraint because the calorie consequences are a bit more immediate. Fortunately (or unfortunately, maybe?) I no longer live across the street from a convenience store and can’t just walk over to grab a candy bar or some Junior Mints whenever I want them. 

Reason 5 of 365

But on those nights when David and I are planning on watching a movie together, he inevitably will produce that familiar white box with the green words Junior Mints on it for me to enjoy over the course of our evening. Now while I enjoy the treats, it’s about more than the chocolate. It’s about the fact that he knows me well enough to know some of the small things that bring me joy. And he doesn’t just know what will bring me joy, he acts on that knowledge.

photo: Tú Anh

Because as I’ve said, marriage, like any relationship, is made up of many, many small moments that speak to the other person. Actions, like words, have the ability to speak life to our partner or to hurt them. One of my favorite authors, Jon Acuff, talks about how words create a verbal reality, but that isn’t enough. Is there follow through on those words, actions taken to convert that verbal reality into a shared reality, a shared moment or experience?

Each of us has power over only one person – ourselves. How we wield that power is in our control always. We get to decide how we will speak to our spouse and how we will act inside our relationship. And here’s the tricky part of this. Our reaction does not have to match our partner’s action(s). If he is having a bad day and needs to be alone to reset his emotions, I have two choices. I can become annoyed and resentful and behave from those feelings, or I can see him and hear him and honor his need to be alone, acting from that perspective.

I definitely appreciate the Junior Mints David brings home occasionally. But even more, I appreciate the small gesture that provides a shared joy. Because we’ve realized over the years that it’s the small gestures that tend to have the greatest impact on our relationship. The anniversary celebrations with flowers and champagne are delightful, but the day-to-day moments are where the true strength of our relationship is forged.

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