Bill and I really enjoy eating breakfast out, and when we lived in the city, we frequented the Magnolia Pancake House. I think it was just dandy of them to locate this little den of delicious sin right behind the gym where we worked out. The Belgian waffles and blueberry syrup seemed to pile on less guilt (although no less pounds) after we worked out for an hour. So we’d get out of the car and walk hand-in-hand right into that pancake house and indulge ourselves.
One morning, I noticed a large painted sign in a storefront window across the parking lot. The sign read, or seemed to read, “MARITAL ARTS.” Hmmm? The needle of my curiosity meter was flickering in the red zone, and I could only imagine what went on in that building.
But before I knew it, I had blurted out to Bill, “Would you look at that sign? MARITAL ARTS – what in the world is that? I mean I think I know what it is, but why would they put up a sign in the window?”
Bill gently corrected me, “Phyllis, it doesn’t say marital arts, the sign reads martial arts. And if you’d wear your glasses, you could see.”
I was reminded of a couple of important lessons that day. First of all, I should look more closely and carefully at things before I make assumptions, blurt them out, and show my ignorance—even if it’s only a sign in a window. And secondly about that sign, Mar-i-tal arts or Mar-tial arts? Where you put the “I” makes difference. Perhaps that’s true in a relationship as well. Often the case that the difference between loving and fighting is where we put the “I”?
Valentine’s Day brings opportunity to put the “I” in the right place, but confining that to February is not necessary. Look into the eyes of the one you really love today and say, “I love you.” And then find someone today who’s not expecting it, and tell them you love them, too. My guess is there’ll be lots more lovin’ than fightin’ going on.