The Mister let the dishwater out of the sink last night.

It’s official. I’m in love.

It started with the dishes. My husband got up from the dinner table, helped me clear the table, then filled the sink with hot sudsy water and did the dishes. He did it the way I like too. He put the hand-washed dishes into the dishwasher to dry — you know — so there wouldn’t be the pile of clean dishes cluttering up the kitchen counter as they dripped-dry overnight.

Watching him do the dishes made me happy. A man who’ll do the dishes for me spells L-O-V-E to the third degree.

However, when I got up this morning, I went into the kitchen expecting to see the sink full of leftover water and the kitchen rag swimming under the surface of old suds. You see I have this pet peeve — standing dishwater in the sink — especially when the dishrag is left soaking in it. This is something my family does all the time. It’s like fingernails on a chalkboard for me to walk by the sink and see the cold dirty water just sitting there. And then when I have to reach my hands in there to unstop the sink and rinse and squeeze that nasty rag, I’m just irritated beyond all measure.

The sink had no water in it. It was empty save for a few cups the boys used for last water call the night before. And the rag was folded neatly over the mid-line of the sink.

So on this 14th day of February, I sashayed myself right in front of my husband and wished The Mister a Happy Valentine’s Day. But I did it “right”. I looked at him all ooey-gooey eyed and thanked him for letting the water out of the sink.

The temperature in the room changed. His eyes softened. He smiled. He wished me a Happy Love Day back.

Then he told me he didn’t do it.

And then I felt terrible.

Because I thought my husband had made an attempt to show me he loved me in a very, very minute, but oh-so-special-to-Chrystal-way, I poured on the feminine wiles and let him know that I appreciated him. But he didn’t do what I thought he did. Apparently, the water had just basically seeped out slowly because the stopper wasn’t in there securely.

I felt terrible because in the moment just before The Mister refused to take credit for something I thought he did with me in mind, I had treated him differently — extra special with a double-dose of kindness, care and loving communication. The conviction hit me like a ton of bricks. Do I only reserve my extra special kindness, concern and tender loving care for when The Mister does something for me? Am I reserving my best show of love for when someone I love has met some condition I’ve created? Do I do this with others?

Just because today is the day deemed by Hallmark, florists, and every bakery in the land to show love, we shouldn’t reserve our decision to love on Valentine’s day. Cause let me tell you… people are deciding today to love. They are rushing around getting flowers, buying cards, making reservations, and stressing out to make sure that their love doesn’t go undeclared. So today I’m reminded that love is a decision and it’s a decision I can make everyday — regardless of what others have done or not done to earn it. I can smile at my husband and sashay my hiney in front of him any day. I can give my kids a just-because-squeeze or write them special notes any day. I can text my dearest friends to tell them I love them any day. I don’t have to wait until Hallmark tells me to.

The love I give always starts with the decision to do so.

I’ve spent the better part of this “love morning” contemplating this question. What would happen if I consistently showed the same level of love, appreciation, kindness and care in communication every day to The Mister and to others whom I say I love? How would the temperature of my relationships change? Aren’t I called to love others as a general rule? “Love one another, just as I have loved you.” John 15:12 (NASB).

Yes. We are called to love.

So yes. Tell the people you care about that you love them today but remember tomorrow that the same rules apply.

Speak sweetly. Send cards. Show concern. Text. Call. Be appreciative.

And learn to do it all unconditionally.

Why? Because I know Someone who has done the same for you.

If you want more encouragement on marriage, be sure to check out these other posts/podcasts: 

For even more practical encouragement, check out my YouTube channel and watch The Sister Circle Show episode where I chat with Erica Campbell.  Let’s just say we keep it real — especially in Part 3 😉