Why can’t Valentine’s Day be everyday?

Valentine’s day has come and gone and I’m sure it made a lot of people happy, but it also left some feeling sad and lonely. I must admit I used to really get into the whole concept of needing to get a big Valentine heart filled with chocolates and a romantic card filled with loving accolades. I still find it a lovely day to spend with the one I love, but divorce, maturity on my part, and a deeper understanding of what love means has given me a different perspective about Valentine’s Day.

I really want to work on everyday being a Valentine Day. That probably sounds foolish on some level, but if we truly believe in the fact that to love and be loved is the metaphor of the Valentine message than trying to have it on a daily basis is not that farfetched.

We bandy the word love about to describe a myriad of things we enjoy. “I love chocolate, movies, eating out, going on a vacation, sleeping in, and on and on. How often have you heard people say those things? But “real” love is not about the aforementioned. They’re really about things that delight. I can delight in a variety of things. To love requires a host of ingredients.

Scientists have discovered one of the ingredients by studying prairie voles. “The prairie vole is special for having pair bonding with its partner. The male has a continuous contact with its female, which lasts for all of their lives. If the female prairie vole dies, the male does not look for a new partner. Moreover, this constant relationship is more social than sexual. For this bonding to occur, the male must stay one day with the female after they breed. “

The outcome of this study is related to the hormones oxytocin and vasopressin. Human beings have the same propensity. When we touch, and cuddle we release these hormones which help to bond us. Does this all sound like “too much information”. On the contrary I find it fascinating. Love needs touching and hugging to sustain it.

Touch is an important facet, but there are also a list of other ingredients which help couples stay in right relationship to one another. The following traits have been designated to be a critical part of a lasting relationship by the Gottman Institute, leading researchers in the field of sustainable partnerships. Individuals who have endured the ups and downs of long-term relationships have strong friendships, trust, make allowances for each others foibles, create and help to foster each others dreams, use admiration instead of contempt ,manage conflict, have a shared value system, and nurture one another through gratitude and positive messages. And for me one of the most important is to learn to laugh together often!

 

 

 

 

           

It’s the insignificant details that truly delight people…Like remembering how I take my coffee in the morning.

I love surprises, and I really enjoy surprising others, too. It’s one of those treasures in life that should never be abandoned. To really catch someone unexpectedly, you need to be awake and sensitive to what they say and do when they’re with you. “Waking up” is a continuous process. There’s no limit to your awareness, but it takes practice. How many of us have lived or worked with someone  for years who has to keep asking us how we like our coffee. You wonder if they would remember your name if they had to take you to the emergency room. The poet Kabir expresses this idea very well: “If you are in a deep sleep, why waste time smoothing the bed and arranging the pillows?” It takes the ability to listen and be fully present in conversation so you’re able to recall the things that please others. It doesn’t have to be extravagant or complicated; in fact, it’s the insignificant details that truly delight people. To remember how a certain individuals take their coffee or what their favorite colors are means that you care and you’ve paid attention—you’re awake! Similarly, you need to remain open to the surprises that occur in your life. They can be lovely gestures from others, and sometimes they’ll be nothing more than a sudden appreciation of something new and wonderful. There’s a profound side to living a life full of surprise: It can spur your ability to be grateful. To act as if each day has wonderful unknown opportunities opens the door to being thankful and feeling happiness. I’ve watched many children clap their hands gleefully at a butterfly, flower, or rainbow—it’s the merry delight in the unexpected that they’re experiencing. What’s really great about kids is that they are surprised repeatedly over the same thing, however, our culture is making it more and more difficult for this to continue, since anything new becomes old very quickly. I have grown to greatly appreciate the surprise of finding my mate has emptied the dishwasher, cleaned the countertops and vacuumed the crumbs off the kitchen floor. I am totally surprised and delighted when I sleep through the night and when I can still fit in some of the clothes. It makes for a really good day. Try to fill your life with surprise and don’t allow cynicism to become your ally, for it will only age you quickly…then the only surprise you’ll get is an early death