Do you remember having crushes in high school? That feeling in your stomach when that person would walk by and you’d just stare out of the top of your eyes and wish, just wish, they would look over at you and say hi. Or get to your locker only to find an anonymous romantic note from someone and wonder who it’s from, hoping upon all else, that’s it’s from that guy you were staring at earlier in the day or that girl that was watching you skate with your friends around the parking lot. Well, what I’ve learned in my fifteen years of working with adolescents and generously being allowed into their lives, is that love at 15, really isn’t a whole lot different than love at 28 or 37. The feelings are the same and the my stomach still drops when they enter a room and look right at me.
Alex and I have been together for some time now and what I know is that it takes work. Love comes naturally, but it takes some work to keep that excitement and passion alive. I remember being single before I met Alex and my friends would ask me what I was looking for and I would reply, “someone who will walk around a book store with me on a Sunday afternoon and then go home and read in bed” or “someone who will stare at me across a room like I’m the only one they see” and finally, “someone who looks across the table at me during dinner and tells me they want to skip the rest of the meal and hurry home.” And all of that came true.
As most of our friends will tell you, we’ve had a rocky past. It wasn’t easy getting where we are today. And unlike Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher who swear they don’t fight…we fight all the time. Well, maybe not all the time, but enough that is continues to cause struggle in our daily life like walking across a bridge whose ropes might collapse at any time. But we’re still here dammit!
And honestly, I think Valentine’s Day is a perfect time to remember how important you are to one another. Every day I hear people say, “But you should practice that every day.” and “We don’t need one day a year to make me feel inadequate when I treat them well every other day.” My reply is simply a smile, but what I’m really thinking is that Alex better remember it’s Valentines day and buy me some damn flowers! And he will, because we’ve started to communicate our differences. We’ve started to explain to each other what’s important to the other one.
When I first got sober over 15 years ago, I dedicated my first year only to staying away from alcohol and drugs. It was so hand to mouth for me that I couldn’t understanding the thought process behind addiction and I couldn’t enjoy the benefits, past not being in jail or financial ruins, of not using. 15 years later, it is not a drinking disease to me but a thinking disease. Every day I enjoy what sobriety gives me including being able to stay calm in difficult situations like my mother’s illness and death, or to be patient when something doesn’t go my way or to try and understand where other people are coming from. Love relationships are the same. The first few months or year should be dedicated to the hand to mouth. The phone calls, dates, stayovers and random texts. After that, the true understanding of your bond begins, and although difficult, as were the later years of my recovery, the benefits are much greater because now you have a true understanding of one another.
No relationship is perfect. Everyone argues and everyone has differences. Imagine a Japanese man and a Swedish women in a relationship speaking their own languages. At first, they won’t understand each other, although they will assume they do through facial movements or eye gestures. After a few months they might start picking up a few words and finally being able to understand one another and truly speak to one another. That’s what we do every day in our romantic relationships. And a lot of us don’t try and pick up those small words…we just stay focused on the non-verbal cues, ruining what could be truly communicated. And some of us, like myself, probably say too much. Sometimes, less is more.
Honestly, and I don’t care what anyone says, we all want to be in love. It makes us feel good. Love DOES NOT suck! It’s awesome. We just need to jump start our hearts every once in awhile even if that means taking a risk. Allow yourself to be laughed at. Wear some sexy underwear or costume and heat up that bedroom, even if it inspires laughter. What greater way to get to know each other again than to be each other’s favorite comedians. Buy flowers…or pick them, hell, even a dandelion on a summer day makes me a little happy. Mustard plant and grass in a small glass jar can even look pretty. Make cards, or children’s books for each other. Cook for one another or buy them a slushy. It doesn’t take much to think outside the box. And not to toot my own horn, but I’m really good at this stuff so if you need any suggestions…please contact me.
What I’m really saying is, love yourself and your partner enough to do whatever it takes to get that car rolling down Lover’s Lane again. I’ve even started 2-3 session Cupid Couching Retreats for couples to help them spice up their life and allow love back into their daily lives and find that love they felt when they were 15. (If you’re interested please contact me). It’s in all of us. Young love. I want that…don’t you? I want a note on my windshield and a stare across a room. Now, I just know I want it from Alex.
So no matter how much you hate Valentines Day or think it’s corny or Hallmark’s way of making money, which it is but who cares, dedicate this Valentine’s Day to either improving your relationship or improving yourself…because we’re on borrowed time as it is!