Life adventures, inspiration and insight; shared in articles, advice, personal chats and pictures.
The greatest Valentine’s Day gift is pure love itself. We use love to frame and enrich the blows and joys of living. Romantic love can mature into a multi-faceted relationship that doesn’t perpetually yearn and burn, but blossoms from roots of deep-seated friendship that remain constant. Much romantic love isn’t love at all and never will be. Talk to anyone who has a truly long-term, successful love relationship, and that person will tell you the partner is home, trust, and support. The part sex plays may change week by week as life changes.
Being together a long time doesn’t guarantee a couple has a good loving relationship. Sometimes the participants are together out of habit. They may be too stuck, afraid, or lazy to ask if they’ve kept their relationship vibrant and healthy—or to care. They don’t want to know the answer. Love requires tending—from both sides. Love requires paying attention to your partner and his or her needs as well as your own. You give what the other person needs, not necessarily what you like to give. You give laughter and joy and occasional happy surprises.
My husband and I have been together for 39 years. Ours was not his first marriage, but I flatter myself to think that I was his first true wife. I was the first to want to know, embrace, and stimulate his soul. I could feel him doing the same for me—and we are still at it. We’ve held hands through many tribulations. The effort is rarely 50/50 as the burden shifts from one side to the other and back again—as it should.
I’m amused by the fuss over weddings and who should or should not have them, since weddings are often only a legal and social convenience with no guaranteed correlation to whether they sanctify a true marriage of the soul. Some do; some don’t. Frequently, the participants can’t tell. You can’t tell from the outside or by where the wedding was performed. If you could, there would be no divorce or domestic violence–no ball-and-chain jokes. My husband and I have one of the lucky marriages, because we make it so. We don’t automatically assume we’ll have a good relationship forever if we don’t keep earning it. For us, the party is never over.