Amateur vs. Professional Lovefests

I was whining about Valentine’s Day in my last post. About it being amateur night and all. I sound like a super-cranky, sour grapes sourpuss (does anyone use that word any more?). And I’m not.

I had a perfectly nice Valentine’s Day (and yet my husband’s and my celebration is yet to come… saving it for the weekend).

My complaint about such Hallmark holidays is that they’re all about the expectations, and then they never match up, and those involved end up feeling crappy about their perfectly good relationships.

Or even if the guy does what you wanted (“Flowers, my favorite dahlias, please!”), you think he did it only cause he HAD to. He can’t win. You can’t win.

Valentine’s is “amateur night” compared to what heavy-duty love demands. I don’t care whether it’s with a romantic partner or “just” friends (and believe me, friendships can be underrated in our culture, as they have the power to make or break happiness), working out the nitty-gritty of life together and showing up for the hard work of love is a BIG deal. And something to celebrate.

And that sort of love has nothing to do with hearts and flowers, whether the card was oversized, whether the flowers were fresh, whether the heart-strewn boxers or Speedo were well received, or whether a favorite meal was perfectly executed. It has everything to do with

  • perseverance
  • going the places the other loves from time to time
  • letting someone else tell the story the way they remember it
  • patience
  • remembering “you’re no bargain either”
  • trying again
  • showing up for a hard conversation
  • doing the dull stuff
  • getting another glass of water for someone who could get their own
  • staying committed when the other didn’t turn out like you thought they would
  • sharing the last bite of your amazing salad
  • growing old together
Give me a thirty-year marriage (or a friendship where we keep showing up to try again when we’re honest enough to admit we hurt each other) over the flush of a Valentine’s Day. At least that’s how it looks from this side of 50.

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