Valentine’s is a funny day for people. Some love to hate it and all it’s manipulative consumer-baiting tactics by boycotting all the Hallmarky chocolate-covered hoopla and locking themselves into their apartment so they can escape the madness in the security of their own thick scowl. And then, there are the others who have been waiting all year for the rosy-hued holiday plumped with love notes, cupids, long-stemmed roses jacked up way beyond all comprehension, romantic candlelit dinners, slinky pink lingerie, glitter and more sugar than anyone could possibly consume. If we’re having to pick sides here, I can safely say I choose Love. Big bold fluffy ridiculously overpriced Love.
I’m a sucker. What can I say?
The thing is, I could ultimately care less about the fanfare of one particular day, because as far back as I can remember, my aim has always been to spread as much V-Day across my schedule as possible, filling in the nooks and crannies with unexpected love notes, kind words and gestures of unadulterated yum. Like butter! Only, love. I’m a goofball. Whatever.
The miraculous thing is that I’ve married a man who is just as nutters about love as I am. In fact, probably more. Which means that after 8 and a half years of marriage I still get texts like this:
It’s bananas I tell you! I literally wake up in the morning and immediately break into a groggy-eyed smiley dance when I see this man. It’s so cute it’s almost illegal. It’s beyond the level of cuteness on a high-spectrum cute-ometer. Right off the charts. Redonk.
Some of you in the first category of V-Day are trying not to vomit on your sweater right now. It’s cool.
So, what’s up with that? I mean, did I just win the lottery with this whole love-crazed situation?
Actually… I’ve carefully analyzed the situation and realized a few things that the two of us do really really well. And today, my darlings, I impart that wisdom to you.
Here we go:
1) Love, Attention, + Consistency.
These 3 elements are essential for growth in any relationship, be it with a dog, a plant, a child, a career, or a lover.
Here’s the key– These three things must always work in triplet. Any two things without the other is straight up abuse. Love and attention that comes in unpredictable doses is abuse. Consistent attention without love is abuse. And consistent love without truly paying attention to someone is, you guessed it, abuse.
2) Find out your Love Languages.
There’s this fascinating book by Gary D. Chapman called The 5 Love Languages. In it, Gary talks about how every person receives love in a different way. The 5 languages are: Physical Touch, Words of Affirmation, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Acts of Service. The wild thing is that while Receiving Gifts may be super important to you, your partner might give a flying hooha about Gifts and only wants to speak the language of Physical Touch. Therefore, by finding out your respective languages, you can start doing a better job giving your partner what they need. You can take the free quiz here.
This is where I kind of won the lottery; My man and I speak exactly the same languages. Which rocks, because we both need similar things, so we just give each other the kind of stuff that we might want for ourselves. Bingo!
Case in point: James and I are big on Words of Affirmation, and therefore we are love note fools! We go crazy with them. A few years back we started a practice of coffee notes. First one to rise makes the other one coffee and on the coffee machine we leave a little note to simply say I love you. Sometimes it’s really plain and other times its wildly elaborate. And sometimes you wake up and you really just don’t want to make coffee or spend the time making a coffee note, and those are the times when it’s probably the most important to do it.
3) Choosing Love.
Look, It’s mostly cute as hell, but it ain’t always a cakewalk. Let’s face it, we all have days when we’re questioning our sanity. And/or that of our partner.
Being committed to someone is about showing up for that person. It’s about knowing that “this too shall pass” and “tomorrow is another day.” It’s about waking up every single morning and deciding to love that person come hell or high-water. (Unless it’s toxic– and then you should get some serious therapy and/or get the hell out of there. Really.)
4) To Talk is To Love.
This is a well-known saying around our house. We know that more often than not, conflicts arise because of miscommunication. I didn’t tell him how I was feeling, or he didn’t tell me about his aversion to classical ballet… whatever it may be, it’s best to get it out in the open as soon as possible. Otherwise you risk the deleterious effects of escalation. What’s cool is you can totally use any means at your disposal, so if the issue you want to bring up is heavy, then instead of sitting down face to face, you might want to write a note or an email. However you gotta do it– get’r done.
My man and I know that allowing each other the time, freedom, energy and respect to be the best-est we can be as individuals will in turn make our joint venture more explosive, prosperous, joyful, and radiant. James allows me the freedom to be more me, and I allow him the same courtesy. Happy wife = Happy life.
And that, dear lovelies, is how we roll.
Oh, and one more thing– cut each other some slack. You both have shit that drives the other one crazy. It’s okay. Nobody’s perfect. Have some compassion.
Oh, and laugh a lot. That helps.
And sex. Lots of sex.
Okay. Somebody stop me.
Whatever your V-Day affiliation, I wish you a sublime February 14th spent in the fashion you most desire. And should you chance upon me in the streets of Manhattan floating above you in a sugar-fueled high, please kindly tether me to the nearest candlelit dining establishment. I’d be much obliged.