Do you remember the days of David Cassidy and The Partridge Family?
Cassidy’s first breakthrough single was Cherish and I, like many of the fans, couldn’t get enough of it. Cue hair flipping, dreamy, happy memories; sigh … *
Ever since then, the word ‘cherish’ conjures up special feelings for me; something beyond love. The Oxford Dictionary’s definition – “protect and care for (someone) lovingly” – resonates strongly, even if the word itself seems a tad sentimental or old-fashioned.
When I think of my Beloved sister, for example, I so badly want to wrap my arms around her, protect her from anything even vaguely unpleasant and care for her lovingly, in any way I can. And that’s not just the big sister thing. It’s actually an act of complete and utter selfishness on my part because she is a truly wonderful human being. I adore hanging out with her whether in person, by phone or even by text. So given that I want as much of that, for as long as possible, why wouldn’t I also want to do anything I can to ensure the longevity of our sisterhood, including letting her know exactly why she is so worth cherishing?
And that had made me think about how we show those we cherish, that we do.
In his book ‘The five love languages’ Gary Chapman, with many years as a marriage counsellor to draw from, identified the five emotional languages as:
- Words of Affirmation
- Quality Time
- Receiving Gifts
- Acts of Service
- Physical Touch
He makes a compelling case for understanding the preferred ‘love language’ of those who matter to you and using it whenever possible.
Further to that, recognising that your cherished one is doing his or her best to show you how they cherish you – in their language (presuming they aren’t aware of Chapman’s work) – can give you a greater appreciation for them.
For example, my Beloved is an Acts of Service man. He takes pride in anticipating my needs and does a wonderful job of taking care of me, and those I love, in kind and practical ways. Such as: taking Spike the Spoodle to the Vet, planning the evening meals around my schedule, leaving the outside lights on when I’m coming home in the dark, bringing me a morning cuppa in bed, organising the window cleaning, deadheading flowers in my butterfly garden. Small things they may be, but the fact that he thinks about what will bring me joy and ease, and then attends to those small things so willingly, without prompting, makes me feel cherished. Which, of course, makes me treasure and cherish him all the more.
Although big feats of bravery, grand gestures and lavish acts of love get lots of attention these days (especially in social media), I think – perhaps unsurprisingly, given my Beloved – that we all best demonstrate our desire to protect and care lovingly in the quiet, small, private, deeply personal ways. A perfectly timed and thoughtful message, a bunch of flowers from your garden (just because you know the receiver adores them), a reminder of a shared memory, telling someone what makes them special to you, a truly empathetic response, a card in the mail, attentive listening, asking after the wellbeing of someone important in their life, remembering a date of significance, stepping up or in when reserves are low… surely we can all find it in our heart to do some of these, or more, for those we cherish?
What are the small things that make you feel cherished?
* For a look at the teen idol as he was waaaaay back in 1972 you can watch him flipping his hair around here