We aren’t huge celebrators of the Valentine’s Day.
I recall our first one together back when we were dating. I was so excited because it was our first. I was naive 20 and I actually thought big teddy bears and heart shaped balloons and long stemmed roses and copious amounts of chocolates meant someone loved you.
Of course I now know that only chocolate matters, but then, before I’d seen the holes in my thinking, I wanted hearts and flowers too.
I was throwing mad vibes at him about the upcoming holiday for days in advance and finally, he sat me down in my dorm room and said something along the lines of, “Reel it in lady girl, I think Valentine’s Day is stupid, we’ve been dating a month, I’m not planning some major romantic gesture, we’re not getting engaged to some D’Angelo jam at Olive Garden, but do you want to catch a movie and hang out anyway?”
The precedent was set.
Fast forward seventeen years holy-crap-we-are-so-freaking-old and Valentine’s Day has even further diminished in importance because we are too tired/busy to care and no one with a life wants to watch your kids on Valentine’s Day so you can catch a movie and hang out.
Instead, DudeDad gives me copious amounts of chocolate and I try to throw him something thoughtful and useful (none of those annoying coupons for things we know good and well I’m never gonna do anyway) because he is insane doesn’t like chocolate all that much.
We make an appointment to Netflix and Chill Netflix because we have the energy of a couple of 85 year olds and we can’t stay up any later than our half grown kids anyway. Then we give in and call it a night by falling awkwardly asleep on the mini van couch where we will wake up later with necks so sore we won’t be able to look at each other to talk for a week.
And you know what?
It. Is. Fine.
Better than fine.
For us. Which, when you really get down to it is all that really matters here anyway right?
I’ve read so many posts about keeping the spark in your marriage, and dating your spouse, and livening up your relationship, and bringing romance back that I’ve gotten a little introspective about my own marriage.
Are we going to last? Do we love each other enough? Spark? Where is the spark?! Wait, was there ever a spark?! What even is a spark?! Never mind, sparks sound exhausting. OMG, we are doomed!
Glamour and Marie Claire and every magazine and marriage article posted on any website ever says WE ARE DOOMED.
We’re supposed to be spending more time connecting and going to marriage retreats and exploring our love languages and when is he gonna give me a wall of roses?!
It’s easy to get distracted and caught up in the noise of other people’s relationships. I mean who doesn’t want a little Jay & Bey or a little Joe & Sophia or even a little Kim & Kanye in their lives? Their romances are so in your face and, um, sparky with their 10, 000 roses, and the huge diamonds, and the creative, romantic declarations that none of us can even afford to imagine.
But even if you pretend celebrities and their relationships aren’t real (they’re kinda not if you think about it), even people in your daily lives want to weigh in on how you should love your spouse if you want to keep them. What you should say, what you should do, how often you should do it, what it means if you don’t.
Only, guess what?
Not really. Not anymore.
I guess that’s what 17 years of hanging out with someone will do.
It gives you strength in yourself and in your partner. It teaches you to trust yourself and him more than the words of outsiders. It lets you know that even if all you do is Netflix and Netflix chances are you’re probably both gonna be cool with it.
It teaches you to believe that how much or how well or how big you love each other doesn’t have to fit into a greeting card. It doesn’t have to score all B’s on a test in the February issue of Glamour Magazine. It doesn’t have to be drunk or crazy or dangerous or look or feel even a teeny bit like that of anyone else’s.
I don’t base how strong our relationship is or how likely our marriage is to survive the test of time on how many grand romantic gestures my husband has performed for me. Just like he doesn’t measure my love for him on how many home cooked meals I have provided. Which, thank God, because he’d be broken hearted and hungry.
It’s okay that our love is the quiet and steadfast sort and I know our relationship is strong because it has been tested. I know our marriage will survive because we work hard together to make sure that it does. And I know what works for us even when other people swear it can’t.
We turn off the noise, we turn on the Netflix, and we love our way.
No Jay and Bey, no Kim and Ye, just two people whose name’s don’t even rhyme with that.