Love is in the Air! Or is it Valentine's Day hype? This commercialized holiday is this week. I hate all those commercials on TV with the ugly diamond jewelry, the piles of chocolates in every store, and the roses everywhere. Many women (and young girls) wait to see what "they will get". I have had clients say, "I can't break up with him until AFTER Valentine's Day!"
I teach couples that come to counseling about "Palma's Triangle" of a healthy relationship/marriage. Picture an equalateral triangle (I don't have a scanner to show you my handout.) One corner is "FRIENDSHIP", one is "PASSION", and one is "INTIMACY".
The friendship side is the "I LIKE YOU" part of sharing with each other, enjoying just being together, laughing, having fun, enjoying common interests and activities.
The passion side is the "I LOVE YOU", and includes romance, a physical chemistry, sex (I wrote "sex" on my blog???), closeness, touch, and connection on a both physical and spiritual level.
The intimacy side is the "I TRUST YOU", and is about honest communication, respect, and being vulnerable with each other. This is the person (or should be) you can be the "safest" with to be COMPLETELY yourself...the good, the bad, and the ugly. They accept you the way you are, and you are "completed" when together. And Vice-versa! (Brad's definition of intimacy!)
I am blessed in my marriage, so it feels like "Valentine's Day", all through the year. It would take too many blogs to give examples of the "romantic things" Brad and I have done for each other! But here are a few examples from the most simple to some over-the- top gestures!
When we were dating, Brad said the lyrics to the old song, "Once in a Lifetime" perfectly reminded him of how he felt shortly after we met. ("Once in a lifetime, a man knows a moment - A wonderful moment, when fate takes his hand. And this is my moment - My once in a lifetime - When I can explore a new and exciting land. For once in my lifetime - I fee like a giant, I soar like an eagle - as though I had wings. For this is my moment - My destiny call me, And tho' it may be just once in my lifetime - I'm going to do great things.") I found the sheet music in an old music store, and had it matted with a heart-shaped photo of us. It still hangs in the hallway to our bedroom.
Brad writes the most amazing words in his cards to me. He is a good writer, and writes beautiful (but not sickening) words about our love. They are very personal and sweet. (For example, he has written in an Easter card, how I remind him of the colors of spring, and how, like the symbols of spring in the life cycle, our love is renewed, and changes during the seasons.) WHile we're on the subject of cards, we NEVER give each other just ONE card. For every occasion, we give each other several. Sometimes they are handmade (raid the scrapbook supplies...)!
I always know I am in Brad's thoughts when we are apart (and we are apart three days each week!) Last week, he was in a Pasadena bookstore, and saw the new issue of "Tastes of Italia". He picked it up for me, as he hadn't seen it around the house yet!
Thoughtful! Another week, he brought home an Italian newspaper to help me practice reading in Italian.
One trip to Italy (our honeymoon), we invented a different kiss in each town. We had the "Venice Kiss", the "Rome Kiss", the "Positano Kiss", etc. THAT was fun!
I probably create special meals (or desserts) for Brad as a way of showing affection. They are loving gestures, but not usually good for the diet! I am safe when I make him chocolate desserts, as they don't tempt me at all!
Over-the -top examples include our very first Valentine's Day when Brad planned a whole surprise weekend to Mendocino at a charming B&B, with a fantastic dinner, and walks on the beach. For his 50th birthday, I packed, took him to the airport, didn't tell him where we were going, and faked which gates we might be departing from up to the last second. We finally had to board, and got on a flight to Orange County. He thought, "Disneyland". I kept driving, and he was quite surprised when we arrived at the Ritz Carlton, Laguna Nigel, and checked into a suite on the concierge floor that was filled with flowers and champagne!
That reminds me of a Saturday in the Bay Area, a few years ago, that my single friend, Joy, was visiting us for the weekend. The three of us went into San Francisco for a "marathon shopping day" around Union Square. Brad stuck it out through Nordstrom, Macy's, Neiman Marcus, Crate and Barrel, a "girly lunch", a coffee break at a Maiden Lane cafe, and finally we ended up having a drink at the Saint Francis Hotel.
It was a little after 4 p.m.. We were leaving the bar ready to go home for the day. As we were walking out, Brad said he was "stopping at the rest room", and would meet us outside. We waited, and waited! It seemed like a long restroom stop (about 10 minutes). Finally he came running around the corner with two gorgeous bouguets of flowers wrapped in cellophane with streaming ribbons! There were white Casablanca lilies for me and pink Stargazers for Joy. He had "run" two blocks each way to a street stand we had passed earlier!
Maybe the way Brad treats my girlfriends is not "romantic" to others, but I love how he is with them. He totally respects our "girltime", joins us when invited, and then carries our bags! He is a gentleman, welcoming, accepting, and enjoys their uniqueness and even their quirks. Though I never met his mom, I'd sure like to thank her on her lessons during his youth about, "how to treat a girl".
Travelling together is one of most romantic things we do! We love exploring a new Italian hilltown, or taking a weekend away near home. We are both fairly easy-going, and enjoy seeing new places. We seem to talk non-stop on car trips, or can snuggle quietly and happily beside each other for an afternoon nap or some "downtime" to read our books.
Though Brad allows me lots of room to plan our days, we both try to include things we know the other enjoys. Brad is my shopping SAINT, and I occasionally attend an Air Force Academy football game, or spend a day wine tasting, or going to a music event of his choice. Brad has put up with countless scrapbook stores, bead shops, and even whole day Bead and Scrapbook Expos! We both love the beach, pool time, and FOOD. We also like just hanging out at home. It's SO EASY!
Wow, this is getting LONG! Let me cut to the chase. It's the simple stuff that is most important. The backrub when one is tired or sore, the cup of coffee waiting when you get home. There is no magic formula for love and romance. Be yourself, enjoy your partner. Trust, respect, laughter, honesty, kindness. That's it! Keep the flame alive.