We Turn On Lights For Each Other.

Many couples stumble around darkened homes, both metaphorically, and literally. The two of them go through their days not concerned with the other unless they are side-by-side. Often that’s not enough to bring out the best in them as a couple. I am proud to say that my wife and I have been schlepping around for 30 years and we still turn on the lights for each other.

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Sometimes that light is just opening a car door. Other times it is making sure that when I leave the house at 11:30 in the morning, still full light, that I turn on the kitchen light so that she will be able to get to the alarm panel without tripping on the dog at 7:30 that evening when she gets home. Other times it is turning on the bedroom light for her before I go back down stairs to work. I hear the click of my room light behind me. I get her switch, she gets mine.

We never organized this campaign of light giving. We didn’t say, “You do this for me, and I’ll do that for you.” We fell into the pattern because we love and respect each other. We have bad days like all couples, but we’ve pretty consistently made sure that the other member of the team is priority number one in our lives. I like that in our marriage.

If I could give any counsel to others who are dating, newly married, or in a marriage that’s getting stale and runs the risk of breaking up, it would be to turn on some lights.

Take the time to make sure that when you stock the beverage drawer in your fridge you put in a couple of bottles of her favorite soda. Ensure that the licorice bag on the top of the fridge has enough to get him through the weekend. Get the extra container of handy-wipes for her because she’s got that art project this weekend and goes through a whole bunch of them. You get the idea: think of the other before yourself.

We, my wife and I, try to do this for others as well. I truly enjoy chatting with the homeless guy who stands on the corner as I make my way to church on Sunday. Last week I had a gift card for McDonalds for him, and a spare hashbrown from my breakfast. He needed that hot food way more than I did. The gift card? I have a couple in the car at all times for people in need. Sometimes they are hungry, sometimes sad, sometimes just in need of a kind gesture. The smile I got on Sunday, and the wish that I would have a great morning at “God’s House,” was payment for all that I’d ever done in this realm. I touched another and lived my Christian values in that moment.

It’s not that hard to live outside yourself and nurture others. I’ve even done it when I was pretty much flat broke. It’s a good story, and it’s short. It was Christmas and I didn’t have any money to buy stuff for Toys For Tots. So I went to the warehouse to unload trucks for them as my contribution. One thing led to another and I became their Santa. I paid my mortgage off years early with some of the money I made as a professional Santa. But if I’d never done the right thing and gone to unload trucks that December morning, I wouldn’t have had the blessing of being Santa today.

He does bless us. We just have to be smart enough to open the windows and let the blessings in to our lives. Turning on a light or two along the way doesn’t hurt, either.

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