Today is Valentine’s Day. Some people embrace the opportunity to express their emotions to another and some people avoid it at all costs. This has always puzzled me because to live life behind ten foot walls is really no meaningful life at all. It seems some people can more easily express feelings for their car than for their spouse. Why is it so easy for some people to express feelings of fondness for an inanimate object and so difficult to convey those same (and deeper) feelings to another person? Fear perhaps.
It seems kind of odd and self-defeating to express love and affection to those special to you just once a year. If you plant a tree or start a garden, do you water it just once a year? How far could you drive your car if you filled it up just once a year? Feed your cat or dog once a year and you probably won’t have that pet for very long. Doesn’t it make sense that for a relationship to thrive and grow, it needs to be fed more than once a year?
Many of us have a hard time allowing someone to see the real person inside. Perhaps it’s the fear of vulnerability or the need to control or that you will seem weak somehow if you allow another person that close. In my opinion, this is the essence of intimacy, of real love. Allowing yourself to be revealed, warts and all, and yet you are still loved! To paraphrase Helen Hayes, “It is perhaps the only glimpse we are permitted of eternity.”
Laurie and I don’t make a big deal of Valentine’s Day. That’s because we treat every day like Valentine’s Day, remembering to say “I love you” early and often … doing little things that we know the other one likes. Spending time together, sometimes just driving around and talking or just holding hands.
Your relationship with a significant other has an energy all its own. It needs the same care and feeding that your car or your cat needs. Daily, weekly, monthly…and with any luck, for decades to come.