Valentine’s day is a special day for young lovers as it’s a day full of grand gestures and big surprises, but it’s also something meaningful for those lovers who have stood the test of time and managed to make it to another Valentine’s day. It’s a day that goes from representing flowers, chocolates, and amorous feelings to representing a love that gives us strength and empowers us to love ourselves, not just each other.
Mr J and I have been together for more than eight years now and while we’ve had our fair share of romantic Valentine’s days, we’ve had those cruddy ones where plans (and life) just don’t seem to work out as originally envisioned. One example comes to mind like that one rainy, cold and dreary Valentine’s day a few years ago in France when all of the restaurants were closed, giving us the only option of going to McDonalds and catching a movie where there was nobody else in the audience. And so we drove that night on our scooter in the freezing cold, I clutching onto him not just through the rain of the night, but through the rains of life.
We get through them, eventually, with commitment, self-discipline, and enough self-reflection to keep working on ourselves and our marriage in order to keep that spark that ignited our love into a burning flame that keeps us warm when we’re feeling exposed and bright enough to guide us through the darkness of uncertainty.
When I think of my husband, I think of the love and support that makes me feel like I can try, do, be, and have anything my heart desires. In my work, I’ve noticed that most people are motivated by negativity – the naysayers and the struggles – but not a lot is said about the positive things that drive us, which is something I work on a lot with my clients. I turn the focus from what isn’t working and what needs fixing to considering what does work and what gives us strength and that changes the nature of any dialogue (internal or external) completely.
It’s a love that gives me strength to overcome my issues and correct my flaws, the courage to face whatever fear I’ve allowed to temporarily paralyze me, a joy that encourages me to see the beauty in the imperfections and a patience that tells me to stop and savor every moment and embrace every thing – every situation and even myself – for what it is and who I am right now.
It’s not a secret that through loving one another, we love ourselves – every great master from the dawn of time has made this truth a point of discussion and self-reflection – and marriage is just one of the many ways this truth is made real in our lives.
For Valentine’s day, Mr J took me to one of my favorite shops and allowed me to pick a treasure to commemorate the day, and I chose the plate (picture above) that says May there always be an angel by your side without really thinking why it resonated with me until the next day. I do believe in ethereal angels, in that they’re guiding us, protecting us, and serving us with unconditional love, but our angels can be those on earth who have chosen to stand by our side and continue to do so each day – which in my case is my husband.
Happy Valentine’s Day, my lover. Again, like our wedding day, I take the vow of no vow to love you not always, but in all ways.