Valentine's Day--Recall the Romance
As Valentine’s Day approaches, it seems like the economy has been taking a toll on relationships. This year, refuse to get caught up in the hype. This Valentine's Day, allow your thoughts and actions to precede and replace the mindset of a frantic purchasing driven quandary.
Like many married couples, I remember well, the economic struggles we faced in the beginning. With a mix of blind faith and an unrealistic belief that together forever, we could simply “live on love." We were ready to take on the challenges of the world, naively believing we knew what the challenges would be and what the future would hold.
It was a simple time where we basked in contentment, solace and joy. One of the greatest things we learned early as a couple, was not to take things too seriously. We learned to laugh and we were, and still are, truly happy.
We lived paycheck to paycheck and still do, but I digress. The point is, we survived. We worked all day and feasted on simmered crock-pot meals, sandwiches and frozen pizza. I became a coupon queen and a master of multitasking, as I tackled the demands of working full-time and taking care of household responsibilities. As glamorous as all of that sounds, eventually, the reality train radically collided with the non-problematic world where we resided. The birth of our children, bills and trials forced us to “grow up”, at least by the world's standards.
Jump ahead, some twenty-seven years later and we can't help but shake our heads in disbelief, as we remember and wonder how we survived those painstakingly, difficult years. Unfortunately, for many couples, the economic downturn of the past few years has meant that those difficult times have not remained a memory but have returned, resurrected and manifested in the form of financial setbacks, job and home losses. This final proverbial "straw that has broken the camels back" has triggered the demise of many marriages.
As an observer of human behavior, I have found that, most often, the root of a problem is not in the remembrances of past struggles that resurface in the present, but failing to recall our, then, reactions to similar circumstances. It is the reaction, therefore, not the circumstances that ultimately are reflected within the relationship.
This Valentines Day, try to think back to the time when you first met your spouse. Remember the tough times, but recall the way the two of you endured and overcame the challenges. I decided to do this myself; this is what I remembered.....yet often failed to recall.
- I remembered a time when we did not have furniture….but failed to recall that we sat on a pallet on the floor, eating fried bologna, spinach and applesauce (hey, it was a meat, a vegetable and a fruit), watching a 13” Black & White TV, without cable and LIFE WAS GOOD!
- I remembered working a “crap” job at the mall, but failed to recall the big snowfall that covered my car, made the roads treacherous and learning that my spouse had arrived early to clean off my car and follow me home and LIFE WAS GOOD!
- I remembered living in that “dumpy duplex”, but failed to recall the times we would laugh at the silliest things until tears streamed from our eyes and LIFE WAS GOOD!
- I remembered when we couldn’t afford a babysitter or eat out; but failed to remember the simplicity and the romance of eating baked chicken and rice, smothered in cheese, while the kids ate spaghetti AND we all laughed and enjoyed dinner......by candlelight and LIFE WAS GOOD!
- I remembered the time when other families were going to Disney World and taking vacations and we felt as if our kids were cheated; yet failed to recall the Friday night game nights that instilled memories they still cherish as adults and LIFE WAS GOOD!
- I remembered a time when our work schedules conflicted because of different shifts and making the decision to quit the best paying job I had ever had; but failed to recall that it was the best decision of my life; saved our marriage and restored communication and reestablished our friendship. Yes, friendship. Your spouse should always be your “best friend" and LIFE WAS GOOD!
Whether, your matrimonial state is that of a newlywed couple or a long relationship that has experienced both good and bad days, the key lies within the ability to laugh, enjoy each day and eventually realizing that, in the end, everything else is just………..STUFF and recognizing that LIFE REALLY IS GOOD, so listen to each other, laugh often and LOVE ALWAYS!
For parents, particularly new parents, it is important to retain the mindset of a “couple” identity. When hectic schedules are allowed to monopolize all of your time, there is little time to talk about anything else but “the kids.” Eventually children grow up and a couple can find themselves left with……..each other! YIKES! It is what you do in the interim that can make the outcome fantastic or disheartening. Remember LIFE IS GOOD!
Finally, with Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, many couples are feeling like they are caught in a vise. Expectations from advertisements imply expectations of grand romantic illusions. Illusions that can be costly, increase stress, cause depression and plunge one further into debt, making one forget that together, LIFE IS GOOD!
When Valentine’s Day rolls around, if you can afford gifts, GREAT, give them; however, if you can’t, accept it. Either way, this year, plan now to make Valentine’s Day 2013 memorable through genuine, LOVE DRIVEN ACTION and realize that love combined with laughter means embracing what life has to dish out, take circumstances (good and bad) as they happen and recognize that a lifetime is but a fleeting spec in the universal time-frame. Learn that time spent together is forever embedded into memories and those memories live forever and that makes LIFE GOOD!
Happy Valentines Day!!!!