“On the contrary, there is no place in the world where the amenities of courtesy should be so carefully maintained as in the home. There are no hearts that hunger so for expressions of affection as the hearts of which we are most sure. There is no love that so need its daily bread as the love that is strongest and holiest. There is no place where rudeness or incivility is as unpardonable as inside our own doors and toward our best beloved. The tenderer the love and the truer, the more it craves the thousand little attentions and kindnesses which so satisfy the heart.

It is not costly presents at Christmas and on birthdays and anniversaries that are wanted; these are only mockeries if the days between are empty of affectionate expressions. Jewelry and silks and richly bound volumes will never atone for the want of warmth and tenderness. Between husband and wife there should be maintained, without break or pause, the most perfect courtesy, the gentlest attention, the most unselfish amiability, the most affectionateness.

Coleridge says: “The happiness of life is made up of minute fractions, the little soon forgotten charities of a kiss or a smile, a kind look, a heartfelt compliment, and the countless infinitesimals of pleasurable thought and genial feeing.” These may seem trifles, and the omission of them may be deemed unworthy of thought; but they are the daily bread of love, and hearts go hungry when they are omitted. It may be only carelessness at first in a busy husband or a weary wife that fails in these small, sweet courtesies, and it may seem a little matter, but in the end the result may be a growing far apart of two lives which might have been forever very happy in each other had their early love but been cherished and nourished.

“For love will starve if it is not fed,
And true hearts pray for their daily bread.”

Home-Making by J. R. Miller, 1882

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