As Valentine’s Day approaches, it's time to take a proactive approach and 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.
30 years ago, a shy young girl (and yes, believe it or not, I'm talking about me) married the love of my life. Together we leaped into marriage with a mix of blind faith and an unrealistic belief that together, forever we could simply “live on love" and change the world. We were ready to take on life's challenges. Boy, were we wrong!
Our wedding was small. We were married in a simple candle light ceremony in 1986, followed by a cake and punch reception. We couldn't afford a traditional honeymoon destination but planned to renew our vows and one day have a real 'honeymoon'! (Alas, still waiting on that one).
After our reception, we stopped at a drive thru for a burger on our way to the Owensboro Executive Inn where I had reserved the Honeymoon Suite six months prior. The hotel was packed with kids having parties because it was, of all things, prom night. Checking in, we were told that our "suite" had been given away but they would comp us a room, a room was on the top floor (6th floor I think). Anyway, the kids in the hotel had decided to jam the elevators, so we walked the stairs. So much for being carried over the threshold.
Life resumed and we were happy. 1986 was a time where we basked in contentment, solace and joy. One of the greatest things we learned early on as a couple, was not to take things too seriously. We learned to laugh at our circumstances. Looking back, I guess it was either laugh or cry.
We lived paycheck to paycheck, and still do to some degree, but I digress. The point is, we survived. We worked all day and feasted on simmered crock-pot meals, sandwiches and frozen pizza. I quickly adapted and became a coupon queen and a master of multitasking, as I tackled the demands of working full-time and taking care of household responsibilities.
Now, as glamorous as all of of this sounds; eventually, the reality train radically collided with the non-problematic world where we resided. The birth of children, bills and trials forced us to “grow up”, at least by the world's standards. Hubby found a 'day gig", (known as a job, in the rest of the world) and I began my quest for a better paying career.
30 years later, we can't help but shake our heads in disbelief that we actually survived those painstakingly, difficult years. Struggles are just part of the package. It's important to recognize that a struggle is really just a life hurdle. You have three choices when facing a life hurdle....you either jump over, crawl under or turn around and run.
Sadly, I think to many couples choose to run. You see, I have discovered that the root of a problem is not in the remembrance of past struggles, but rather in the failure to recall our reactions to circumstances. It is the reaction, not the circumstance that is ultimately reflected in a relationship.
This Valentine's Day, make a concerted effort 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 take this challenge myself. These are a few things I remembered....and what I often failed to recall.
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, thus making one forget that being together is what makes LIFE GOOD!
When Valentine’s Day rolls around, if you can afford gifts, give them; however, if you can’t, accept it. Either way, this year, plan now to make Valentine’s Day 2016 memorable through genuine, LOVE DRIVEN ACTION! 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!