I am posting today as it is Valentines Day, anticipated by some and dreaded by others.
I’m sure we have all heard differing stories about why we have Valentines day, which all seem to stem from a roman saint/priest called St Valentine. He was secretly marrying couples as the emperor of that time had banned marriage, believing married soldiers to not be as efficient as unmarried soldiers. It all ended with St Valentine being martyred which is not very romantic at all, but it does speak of a love that comes from believing in something so passionately that he was willing to die for it, a far cry from the hearts and flowers and romance that we have turned Valentines day into.
John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
Here is another story about love
It was 20th February 2010 and she was taken to London for the day as a special early birthday treat. She was so excited to be spending the day together and being spoilt. She had no idea what the plans were for the day but knew it was going to be amazing, just being with him made her so happy. They mooched about drank coffee, looked in shops and generally soaked up the atmosphere and each other. When it was time for lunch he took her to a wonderful mezzanine restaurant in Covent Garden. There was a live quartet playing classical music, so perfect, so romantic! Lunch was ordered as well as some champagne, after all it was her birthday the next day. While they were waiting for the food to arrive she went to ‘powder her nose’. She was completely giddy with excitement, so happy and didn’t want it to ever end.
While she was in the toilets she prayed
“God I am so happy and I know this is a ridiculous thought because we haven’t been together very long, but I would really like him to ask me to marry him. I’m completely in love with him and would love to be his wife. Help me to just enjoy the time we are spending together and not to be disappointed when he doesn’t ask”
When she arrived back at the table the food was waiting and she went to start eating.
“wait a minute” he said “there’s something I want to ask you”
“But I’m really hungry” she replied
“No, I want to ask you now”
He then pulled back his chair, got down on one knee and holding her hand in his said
“You know I love you don’t you? Will you marry me?”
There was no hesitation “yes, yes I will” she replied with tears running down her cheeks.
You may have guessed by now that was Mr H and myself, almost 7 years ago in fact.
It sounds like something out of a romance novel doesn’t it? Everything I mentioned is exactly what happened and it was one of the most wonderful days of my life, but we didn’t ride off into the sunset and just live happily ever after.
Romance is an important part of love but it is by no means the only part, unless you have the other elements that are crucial to a loving, caring and balanced relationship romance will not keep you going forever. Mr H and myself, like most couples, experience our ups and downs and sometimes the downs seem to be more frequent. We genuinely thought that because we had both experienced the heartache and pain of divorce that we had learnt what ‘not to do’ in a marriage and that we wouldn’t experience a lot of the challenges we faced in our first marriages – wrong with a capital W!
It’s so easy to look around at others and think they have it all together, we all want that perfect relationship, but the fact is, IT DOES NOT EXIST! The reason it doesn’t exist is because nobody is perfect. We watch films and imagine that perfect moment with the man or woman of our dreams. The truth is everyone wakes up with bad hair and breath at times, we all have irritating habits and we have all been raised by parents who are imperfect, that’s life, that’s reality which is why love needs to be so much more than that gooey feeling.
I love a bit of romance but if Mr H and myself are not in a good place I can’t suddenly become all romantic and forget where we are at, I need to feel connected to him and that he is connected to me otherwise it’s just a show. Staying connected requires time, effort and patience not bunches of flowers or gifts, which of course is lovely too but not enough on it’s own.
Instead of the media and society telling us what we should be doing and feeling on Valentines day and putting such unrealistic pressure on us to do something romantic or hope that someone will do something romantic for us, we need to invest in our relationships all the time and do what’s necessary to keep our connection strong and most times that requires patience, trust and difficult conversations. It can be painful and scary but that’s how relationships (of any kind, mums, daughters, brothers etc) evolve and they always need to be evolving or they become stagnant.
Please don’t read this and think that I am anti valentines or romance, I am pro healthy, happy, real, honest relationships. In the past I have been good at the unhappy, unhealthy kind and I am learning, constantly about new ways to cherish and honour the people in my life that I love, but it will always be a journey of discovery.
I also want to mention those of you who are single wether you are young, haven’t found your someone yet, are going through divorce or choose to be single. Whatever your situation, you are important, you are special, you are beautiful, you are every bit as valuable. You don’t need to be in a relationship to have value. I was a single mum for 5 1/2 years and it was hard at times, but I also learnt so much about myself and started to like who I was. Remember being in a relationship is hard too just different. My point is, be kind to yourself, enjoy this stage of your life, there will be times you look back to now and have such good memories. Learn to love and appreciate you.
It would be great to hear from you and how you are doing.
Sending you huge amounts of love