– by Dr. Alice Von Hildebrand

By Love Refined: Letters to a Young Bride

Dear Julie,

I’m grateful for your frankness. It makes my duties as your godmother easier to fulfill.

You say that although the analogy of the stained-glass windows is very moving, nonetheless true lovers are concerned with “great things, beautiful things” and should not let themselves be troubled by small things.

Roy wouldn’t agree.il_340x270.596187091_h7nq

He and my friend Evelyn have been married thirty-five years. She’s sloppy and he’s meticulous. During their honeymoon, Roy noticed that she always left the toothpaste tube open. He asked Evelyn to put the cap on, but she laughed at him, claiming he had the habits of an old maid. Time and again, Roy has asked her to change. Nothing doing! After thirty-five years, the cap still remains off and Roy has resigned himself to it.

Compare this to my own husband’s attitude. Early in our marriage, I noticed he would always leave the soap swimming in a small pool of water. It would slowly disintegrate into an unattractive, slimy goo – something I found unappealing. I drew it to his attention. From that day on, he made a point of drying the soap after each use – to such an extent that I couldn’t tell from the “soap testimony” whether he had washed himself or not. (Moreover – and this is typical of him – he too developed a strong dislike for sticky soap.) I was so moved by this, that to this day I feel a wave of loving gratitude for this small but significant gesture of love.

My husband was a great lover. And because he was one, he managed to relate the smallest things to love and was willing to change to please his beloved in all legitimate things. This characteristic is typical of great love.

I’m sure that as your love grows deeper, you, too, will come to see how the greater the love, the more it permeates even the smallest aspects of life.

With love,


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