Be the one

Oklahoma sharecroppers, 1914, by the father of Don O'Brien, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Oklahoma sharecroppers 1914, from Don O’Brien, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

“I met one woman in Georgia who has been married to her husband for over 60 years. After being asked for her best relationship advice, she paused and then said, ‘Don’t be afraid to be the one who loves the most.’ ”  Nate Bagley

It seems to me this is the one piece of advice we don’t hear very much.  We are warned repeatedly, and with some justification, to beware of being taken for granted, taken advantage of, hurt or mistreated.  And all these things really do happen to people who love, far too often.

But the big truth is often overlooked: it is giving love, not receiving it, that makes us happiest.  It’s true that loving brings great risk, but not loving is also risky, and miserable.

Taught from birth to value equal rights and opportunities for all, we sometimes confuse this with thinking everything else should be equal, too.  We prize getting a good bargain for what we pay, and investing our time and money in ways that are likely to bring equal or greater return.  But that policy doesn’t work well for connecting with others.

In truth, it’s likely that very few relationships are completely reciprocal.  Just as people differ in the ways they tend to show their love, they also differ in their capacity to love others, and that’s really okay.  The important thing is that we all keep moving in the right direction– that of loving more, always more– and not stop to compare ourselves with others or keep some sort of emotional ledger that has to balance to the penny.

This Valentine’s Day, I invite you to celebrate the honor and privilege of loving more.  Join Jeff and me and a cast of millions as we all go on, “Dancing in the Minefields.”


  1. Beautiful message. Thank you.

    • You’re welcome! Thanks for being here.

  2. Jill

    My Mother and Daddy were married for 66 years!

    • Jill, what a wonderful legacy and example! My parents’ 66th will be this year.

  3. Thank you Julia for this reminder to be the one to love the most. I needed to hear that today. Ron is going through more iv antibiotics and kidney surgery to be scheduled. He has lost more weight and please keep us in your prayers. I will be walking through the minefields today. I love you.

    • Cherie, it’s quite a trick to watch our feet while still looking up…but with faith and hope, we can manage it. You and Ron will stay in my prayers, and I hope that this week will bring you some relief and good news.

  4. Mary Ellen

    Thank you Julia for a wonderful Valentine message. My parents were married ’till death did them part. As were my husbands parents. All are gone now, but they set true and great examples of love and marriage. My husband and I will celebrate our 20th anniversary this year. Happy Valentine’s Day!

    • Mary Ellen, congratulations and Happy Valentine’s Day! Thank God for the long-timers who show us how it can be done.

  5. Mary Ellen

    P.S.: Today I’ll be the one who loves the most!

    • Thanks- I’ll try to manage that too! ❤

  6. Don and I love that song & frequently sing it to each other or share on each other’s fb wall. Thanks for the message. 🙂

    • Barb, you may have been the one who first introduced me to that song. Whoever it was, I’m grateful! Hope all is going well Chez Winters.

  7. bobmielke

    I don’t know where I first heard this phrase but it will always stick with me. It states that you can’t outgive God! Just try! 🙂

    • So true, and the more one tries to disprove it, the more convincing it is! It’s one of the few, maybe the only time(s) God challenged us with the words “test me in this.”

  8. MaryAnn

    My Dear Julia, your post today is spot-on! It buoys my spirit to higher places: as our Father’s Word teaches. Thank you! This year, Paul & I celebrate 52. I love the joy on the faces of these sharecroppers.

    • Congratulations Mary Ann! I love those faces, too. I’m guessing each of them was the one who loved the most.

  9. Amen and God’s blessings on you and your family, Julia.
    And, from me, A HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!

    • Thank you Alan! And the same to you. I’m happy you are here.

  10. Carolyn Miller

    Hello friend and Happy Valentine’s Day to you. Here I go again, had some pain last week end , checked with the oncologist, went in for CT and it is my two hernics. I will be having surgery on Feb. 23rd. Not looking forward to this but he said it could ,and would, get worse. So hope to be better by the end of March. I’m really tired of all this . Jeff probably knows how I feel. Hope he is doing okay. You all take care and I will drop you a note after surgery. Hugs to all.

    • Oh dear Carolyn, I was just thinking of you and praying for you this afternoon before I got this. I must have been picking up your long-distance vibes. I am so sorry. Yes, Jeff does know how you feel, and Matt does too. I remember a couple of years ago when we couldn’t seem to get his heart rhythms normalized despite several hospitalizations. One day when we found out he was in flutter again he just sighed and said “I’m so tired of all these doctors.” He rarely complains but my heart just melted. I am so sorry for all you are going through. We will keep praying and do let us know how it goes. We love you.

  11. Fantastic, love that song Julia! He’s got a beautiful voice. True enough, there are going to be minefields but having a friend, lover and confidant for life is well worth the efforts or sacrifices aren’t they? I think in a way, I’m less likely to fail twice because I see more clearly what is meaningful in a relationship at this age. Marriage will sometimes mean that I put myself second, be selfless and giving when I least feel it. That takes maturity, commitment and good communication. Also, I strongly believe marriage must be legal for everyone wanting to make that promise to the one the love and cherish the most. How can I consider myself more worthy or deserving than others? I can not. xox k

    • Thanks K, hopefully maturity helps us all tiptoe through those minefields. From what you’ve told me, I don’t think the failure was yours. None of us is perfect but in your circumstances I’m sure I would have done the same. I know a lot of people who have a better understanding of the value of a faithful spouse because of a bad first marriage. I think we all have tough times but you’re right, it’s worth the effort. ❤ Happy Valentine's Day!

  12. HarryS

    Our good friend, the Bard, said that “Love is merely a madness and, I tell you, deserves as well a dark house and a whip as madmen do: and the reason why they are not so punished and cured is that the lunacy is so ordinary that the whippers are in love too” (As You Like It, 3.2).
    . 🙂
    Bring it on!

    • Hey, I don’t remember ever reading that quote! He has some zingers, doesn’t he? No wonder he’s still popular. That quote reminds me of the words of Denzel Washington’s character near the end of the wonderful movie Glory: “We all covered up in it. Ain’t any of us clean.” Definitely a different context, but the same basic truth.

  13. Sheila

    Happy Valentines Day, Julia, Jeff, and Matt. 💘💖💝 The photo above conveys happiness and such love in that moment. Life and love does have its highs and lows. I think it’s probably at it’s best just somewhere between the two! I hope that I can convey my “caring for others” attitude all day long, in an even more special way. I’m off to a good start as I’m fixing Bill bacon and eggs instead of old fashioned oatmeal. 😍 I also want to share the video with him. I’d never heard that song….love it! ❤️

    • Sheila, how true about the lovely level ground between the highs and lows. I value that level ground more and more as I get older. Or as I have been fond of telling people (mostly younger ones) “Boring is good!” Not that I really know what it means to be bored. Glad you liked the song. It’s been playing in my head lots lately, especially the last verse. BTW Jeff and I were discussing upcoming schedules and I opened the calendar to the March page…oh my, if you haven’t seen it, you have a real treat in store!! 😀 Happy Valentine’s Day to you and Bill! ❤ ❤ ❤

      • Sheila

        Oh, Girlie, what am I gonna do…..ANTICIPATION!! I am so glad that I could welcome you to the “Porch” last year. ❤️

        • So am I!

  14. Anon E. Moose

    I just have about 15 more minutes (on the east coast, for a change) to “celebrate the honor and privilege . . .” And it is that same quarter-hour till that date I set, in which I would again comment on this blog. My comment is a brief one: This certainly is a robust body of work!

    • Thank you!

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