Ten Ways to Love — A Repost

February 27, 2015 | My Jottings

I published this post years ago, but I thought I would share it again. Looking through the lens of a widow changes everything, of course, and reading back through these words makes them all the more poignant and profound to me. (I included the kind comments you all left when this was first posted…)

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Here are ten ways to love:

1.   Listen without interrupting. (Proverbs 18)

2.   Speak without accusing. (James 1:19)

3.   Give without sparing. (Proverbs 21:26)

4.   Pray without ceasing. (Colossians 1:9)

5.   Answer without arguing. (Proverbs 17:1)

6.   Share without pretending. (Ephesians 4:15)

7.   Enjoy without complaint. (Philippians 4:15)

8.   Trust without wavering. (1 Corinthians 13:7)

9.   Forgive without punishing. (Colossians 3:13)

10. Promise without forgetting. (Proverbs 13:12)   IMG_1344

Now that I’m a middle-aged woman I can look back on the early years of our marriage and recall so many ways in which I failed to love. And not just in marriage, but in friendship and family too.

I wasn’t terribly bad at #3, #6 and #10. But at times I have been a dismal failure at #1, #4, #5 and #7.

I’m blessed to have many young women in my life — my own daughters and also dear friends through Community Bible Study or church. If there’s one thing I wish I could pass on to younger women (and to young men as well) and have it stick, it’s that in a FLASH the end of your life will be upon you. It may not seem like time is flying now, but you’ve just got to take my word for it, it is.

My deepest regrets have come from my failure to love. How grateful I am that I’m still here and each day’s sunrise brings new opportunities for me to show how much I love my family and friends.

If we don’t love, we will have much sorrow. It’s as simple as that.

Perhaps one of life’s greatest challenges is loving the people who are really difficult to love, especially those who have mistreated us. I find it helps to remember that I have been one of those difficult people to love, probably more times in my life than I’m even aware. Yet God put gracious, loving people in my life who loved me anyway.

My husband Michael knows these ten ways to love. He may not be able to name them, and probably isn’t mindful of how beautifully he lives them out, but he’s the first person I thought of when I read the list above.

On Sunday Michael and I went to church and then picked up lunch on the way home. In the early afternoon we decided to take a nap, and as we laid together we talked of things on our hearts, and prayed for the people we love.

As I snuggled my head close to Michael’s neck I told him quietly, “I am so happy about you.” He blinked, smiled and said, “Really? Me?”  And I nodded my yes.

Then his smile disappeared and he sort of whispered, “I’m not much use to you anymore.” I knew what he was referring to — his Parkinson’s disease, and all the ways it has been “the gift that keeps on taking.”

So I quietly said to Michael as we laid there, “Are you kidding me? You have given me your whole life. You have worked hard for our family, going out into the below zero temperatures to install new siding on houses and to build new buildings. You never complained, not one time. You have been an always-present daddy to our wonderful daughters. You have loved me when I wasn’t that lovable. You have been faithful to me, never touching another. You have Q-tipped my face and rubbed my feet for hours, and still scratch the ridges in my ankles after I take my SmartWool socks off. You have prayed with me when I couldn’t pray by myself. You believed God was at work when I couldn’t see it. You have kept me warm at night for 30 years. You have apologized when it was called for. You have been one of the quickest forgivers I’ve ever known. You have always joined hands with me when it was time to give. You have been a very strong man, because it has taken someone very strong to be husband to a wife like me. You never spoke of leaving. You make me feel loved every single day. You still remember to hug and kiss me every day. You make me laugh. You make me realize that I am one of the few women in the world who has been blessed with a truly good man.”

A few seconds passed after all this, and Michael pulled me close and said, “Thank you.”

And in my heart I looked up and said to my heavenly Father, “No, thank You.”


  1. Helen in Switzerland says:

    Oh dear…you made me all teary again! Just lovely! You are very lucky to have each other!! H xx

  2. Just Julie says:

    I hope being teary is a good thing, Helen! This is a teary blog – posts written with tears, about tears (the good and the sad kind) with hopefully some occasional chuckles thrown in for balance. 🙂 Have a great week….

  3. Tauni says:

    Julie, you made me teary-eyed too!! Thank you for this reminder when I really need it. Curt & I have had a bit of a rough time lately and the enemy is trying to steal, kill and destroy. We are working it through (have I mentioned how much I love this man just for this alone??) and this is a very good reminder about God’s ways. Thank you so much for sharing this! BTW ~ I received the CD in the mail yesterday ~ thank you!! LY

  4. Just Julie says:

    I so look forward to seeing Curt again someday Tauni. Thank you for sharing here – and I’m glad you got the CD! LY….

  5. Kay says:

    Tearful here as well.

    I am coming to learn recently, how gratitude is in itself a gift.

    Love you, Julie!

  6. Just Julie says:

    I completely agree with you, dear Kay. You are so kind and I’m thankful for all you’ve been to me….

  7. sue raimo says:

    Thanks Julie. Your words have once again called me to the high road of thinking on the lovely, noble Phil.4 thoughts about others and to love well.

  8. Just Julie says:

    We call each other higher, don’t we Sue? Most of the time I feel like I’m running to keep up with you. 🙂

  9. Roberta says:

    Thank you for sharing what it means to be in a married relationship in which there is such deep understanding, on the part of each, of the needs, wants and hopes of the
    other, for the other. You are clearly Soul-Mates.

  10. Just Julie says:

    Thank you, Roberta. I don’t know if I would have agreed with you about being soul mates many years ago, but I have learned (and am continuing to learn, thank God) that the more two people do what the Lord asks them to do, the better life gets. You have been such an encourager to me here, Roberta…

  11. Ember says:

    Amen to all of this! I also am blessed to be married to just such a man (apart from the Q-tips and the sock ridges – but he does make a nice cup of tea); and I concur with you absolutely on the list – both that it’s beautiful and spot-on, and the ones I do OK and the ones I fail at repeatedly – I’m not great on #2 either. Thank you, Julie x

  12. Just Julie says:

    I thought Tony would also be a man who lived that list, Ember. I’m not sure an HSP would appreciate Q-tipping but you might ask him to give it a go. I’ll have to instruct him though – the swab must be prepared just so for it to work. 🙂 Weekend’s approaching….have a blessed one dear Ember!

  13. Kay in UK says:

    Your post made me smile and made me feel so happy, because I’ve got a lovely husband too! But the rubbing your feet thing! Oh, my goodness. My husband and I both HATE feet – well feet belonging to anyone under five years of age are gorgeous, but adult feet! So,we think Michael must be absolutely amazing for that one thing alone!
    Love to you both

  14. Kay in UK says:

    Well now, I stand corrected! My husband has just read my previous comment and said that although he doesn’t particularly like feet, he would rub my feet if I wanted him to do it. See what I mean? I have a lovely husband.
    (Though, I still hate feet myself, even my own.) 🙂

  15. Just Julie says:

    I’m laughing at your foot phobia Kay – I have another good friend who actually shudders if she has to get near adult feet. I think Alan and Michael were cut from the same cloth, don’t you? Blessings on you both….

  16. Kristi says:

    Simply beautiful post, Julie. You have challenged me to choose this day how I will love, how I will respond, and who I will serve. (in spite of my selfish flesh) Your transparent reflections and musings teach me and refine me. Thank you, Lord, for such a beautiful friend who speaks Your Truth into my life.

  17. Just Julie says:

    You are so generous in what you say, Kristi, but I’m learning like anyone else. I actually feel quite the same about you…

  18. Ember says:

    Amen Kristi – friend speaks my mind!

  19. Just Julie says:

    pphhhttttt….but thank you. Same to you, as you well know.

  20. Shari C. says:

    This must be what life is all about…and so beautifully stated by you, Julie! God bless you and Michael!!

  21. Just Julie says:

    I think you said it all in eight words, Shari. This must be what life is all about!

  22. Kathy says:

    Hi Julie,
    I’m Pat’s sister. Your comments about Michael after the Ten Ways to Love list brought tears to my eyes. It gives me hope that there are still some who love and love deeply and with commitment. To see the good in every situation is itself a gift from our Heavenly Father who causes all things to work together for our good.
    Thank you for sharing. You are a gem!


  23. Just Julie says:

    Hi Kathy! Welcome! I wish I could meet you in person because I love Pat so much. Thank you so much for visiting, and for what you wrote. This can be a teary blog – if I’m not crying when I’m writing, then I’m making someone cry who’s reading. I need to take comedy lessons or something. 🙂 God bless you Kathy…

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