Valentines Day can be a high pressure day for couples. In fact, it can be so high pressure, that many couples break up before the holiday because they don’t want to risk getting it wrong or celebrate a love that can’t match the hype of the holiday.
Kevin and I have our own Valentine’s Day hurdles. Cards and gifts are a learned love language for Kevin while I love listening to the language of gifts. Our first Valentine’s Day as a dating couple was a clue that this would be a communication glitch for us. So- what does 41 years of married romantic love look like for a couple who does not speak the same Valentine’s love language?
Well- it looks like staying up late when a re-entry glitch causes concern. Yep, that happened to us on Monday night after I flew home from Chicago. I sat on our stairs while Kevin leaned against the wall. We didn’t budge until we’d talked it out, re-affirming our love even in our messiness.
41 years of married romantic love looks like not settling for no romance. We take time, make time, create time which can be easier now with no children at home. Not saying we don’t miss our kids, but there are perks of an empty nest.
41 years of married romantic love looks like sharing the load. Kevin does all our finances and taxes, household repairs and car maintenance while I manage the hospitality side of our home. We’ve found what we’re good at and, though these tasks are chores, we are thankful to be able to care well for each other in these arenas. It is pretty sexy to be so well cared for.
41 years of married romantic love looks like being cherished, held, comforted,
encouraged, supported, cheered.
41 years of married romantic love may look mundane or messy. It is in the dailiness of living life together rather than in the extra special celebrations that we find our love thrives. So we invest in the habits of walking and talking and praying together, enjoying simple meals and discussing our concerns, hopes and dreams. That dailiness can sometimes be messy when we need to engage uncomfortable issues. We are solution seekers, not content to live with ill-repaired or broken concerns even though this requires attentive, hard work.
41 years of married romantic love looks like living with integrity and honesty side-by-side while choosing not to become stuck in negativity. We may have to talk about hard things. We may need to speak the truth in love. But, we don’t have to stay stuck in a negative downward draft. We can confront and soar.
41 years of married romantic love knows we will fail. We actually plan for failure by knowing our weak areas. So we try to anticipate danger and strategize how to live our weaknesses and troubled areas well. It seriously helps to talk and pray together before we get to the danger zone.
41 years of married romantic love recognizes we disappoint ourselves and each other. We aren’t even close to being perfect spouses. So we repent, forgive, practice grace and mercy, and accept each other right where we really are with unconditional love. We do not assign blame or fault but move ahead into forgiveness and hope.
41 years of married romantic love means we choose to guard our thoughts and words. We don’t say things like, “What’s wrong with YOU?” or use words as weapons to tear down the other or build up ourselves. We choose to guard against anything we might think or say that could hurt the one we love so much.
41 years of married romantic love requires we do not let issues or differences or challenges come between us. We purpose to remember we are on the same team, with the same ideals and goals. We sit side by side facing problems and solve them together instead of letting those issues come between us. We don’t always share the same perspective, history, priorities, or expectations about issues so we have to work hard to come to an agreement that works for both of us. We choose unity over division. We won’t let a difference win by division.
41 years of married romantic love looks like intentional living together. We both have time-consuming, demanding jobs so if we want to have energy and time for each other we have to plan our days around each other’s schedules. Our relationship doesn’t just happen- we have to make it happen. Which means we look for opportunities to create special moments or occasions to celebrate each other.
41 years of married romantic love looks like still learning how to love each other well. We are still asking questions, still learning, still growing and changing to become all God would have our marriage be. 41 years of married romantic love allows us to invest in each other and our relationship as if we have another 41 years of married romantic love ahead of us.