Valentine’s Day, or as they say on Wall Street, Hallmark Day. I woke up this morning to a mobile made by The Redhead, with about twenty-five hearts, and each one had on it something we loves about me, or our relationship. Now that is love!
Sometimes I wonder why love is so hard. It does not have to be, but I know from experience that it often is. Two people in a relationship can be like two gears meshing. Sometimes they fit well, and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes the gears are well oiled, and run smoothly, and sometimes they are not. (And sometimes there is a lot of grit in the gears!) Given the high rate of divorce (and in full disclosure, I am part of those statistics) it is a wonder why anyone would get married. But they do. Love draws people together. Love overcomes the misfit patterns that seem to gum up the works. Love is what helps recreate our gears to fit someone else’s. Love is the oil that keeps the gears running smoothly, and love is what causes us to clean those gears out on a regular basis.
I think the hardest part of relationships is that we forget to love. We forget the work it takes. That is understandable, because in the beginning it does not feel like work at all. We love doing what our beloved loves doing (even if, deep down, we hate it!) We love the talking and sharing the giving. We love to open up to the other person. It is not work at all.
But give things a few years, and it does not come as naturally. And THEN is when it is most important to do the work. Yes, sometimes it feels like work. When you are child free, you can spontaneous. You can go out on romantic dates on the spur of the moment. You can make love on the dining room table, you can lounge in bed all morning on your days off. But children change things. Jobs change things. Age changes things. You have plan dates, plan sex, plan to have romantic moments. But the key here is PLANNING. You do HAVE to plan them, and you ought to plan them!
The Redhead is great about that kind of thing. As I said earlier, I woke this morning with a Valentines mobile around my head!
In his book Still Life with Woodpecker, Tom Robbins asks the question, “How do we keep love alive?” I don’t have the definitive answer to that, and to be honest, in my experience I know about how to watch it die, but I do know that keeping love alive is perhaps one of the most important things we can do.