The way to spell love is t-i-m-e.
I said it to someone recently and she looked at me like I spoke a foreign language. She was confused. Didn’t get it at all. Was it a riddle? No! It is the truth.
If you have money, it’s easy to buy things for someone you care about. Even if money is tight, some folks would rather buy something for someone than be there for them. I have friends who buy me things but rarely have time to just hang out. Or help with something I need. Or be there when I need emotional support. I know how busy they are and respect that. I’m crazy busy too! But I know who really loves me by whether or not the person makes the time to see me.
Mom’s tell me their grown kids send flowers or gifts instead of visiting. Many women have complained about a boyfriend or husband who is a work-a-holic. He works and works to have her in a nice house and allow her lots of money to spend. But he’s hardly ever home. And when he is, he wants to do things he enjoys, since he’s hardly ever home. These men often buy toys and other goodies for their kids instead of going to school plays and ball games, reading to them or basically spending any quality time being a Dad.
That’s not loving! It’s compensating for not giving love.
Not making time doesn’t mean you don’t love the person. It does mean they don’t have a lot of importance to you. It’s so easy in this busy world to get so caught up in your stuff that you forget to be loving to those you say you love.
Time is the ultimate gift. It’s truly giving of yourself.
Peter, one of my clients, went on and on about how he didn’t understand why his wife was so unhappy. He’d bought a dream house in the burbs for her to live in. She didn’t have to work. They had three lovely kids. He never questioned what she bought. Peter bragged that because he worked so hard, his wife wanted for nothing. Wrong, I told him. She wanted Peter and he was off traveling for work. His commute was long. Sometimes he stayed over in the city. He got home in time to go to sleep and often worked over the weekend.
He deluded himself that he was giving his wife what she wanted. But she wanted his time, the one thing he wouldn’t give.
Peter argued about the jewelry and gifts he brought back from his trips. He often sent flowers. Wasn’t that good enough to show his love? Wasn’t he being romantic by sending roses? Nope! He was taking the easy way out. Peter really did love his wife but couldn’t spare the time for her, or their kids very often. For all his wife knew his secretary was sending flowers, or picking out the gifts. She wanted to matter to Peter enough for him to want to be with her. But he was buried in the work and deluded himself it was for her, so he couldn’t just be there in person. By the time I got through to him, it was too late. She filed for divorce.
As busy as I am, I always say that if something really matters to me I make time for it. I might not have unlimited time to see someone I care about or to help indefinitely if I have work to do. But I’ll make the effort if that person matters to me. If I find myself making excuses, I realize I don’t care that much about seeing the person. And I know that someone who can’t make time for me is someone I can’t count on, so they get lower in my priorities too.
The way to spell love is t-i-m-e.
Time comes in many flavors. It can be dropping in for a few minutes on a work intensive day to check on a sick friend. Or doing something one on one with a child. Or taking a walk with your romantic partner. Or helping a friend shop for a new car. Or attending an event with someone. Or a gazillion other things that show you’re willing to give time to that person.
While you can’t always do everything for everyone, do you best to at least compromise about being there for the ones in your life who mean the most to you.
During the last years of my Mom’s life, she had Macular Degeneration, which left her visually impaired. She was frustrated at not being able to do many things. Mom was in Florida so I couldn’t just run over. Sometimes it overwhelmed her and she needed to talk and called me. She seemed to have radar for when I was doing 10 things at once on high speed. Or on the phone with a client. She was a good Mom to me. I loved her dearly. So when I’d hear her voice I’d take a deep breath, ask her to hang on a minute while I asked my client if I could call back, and I’d gently tell her it was a very good time to chat.
I felt good being able to return the love I’d gotten from Mom. I know it meant the world to her that I made time to comfort her when she needed it.
Giving someone time is truly a blessing. And don’t forget yourself when you’re spelling love. Make time to relax and take care of yourself. And to have fun! The gift of time costs nothing out of your wallet but as they say in the Master Card commercial, it’s priceless. And if you’re in person, don’t forget to add some hugs!