Yup. Valentine’s Day

14 Feb

Surprise! Reports of the Naked Investigator’s demise in a crack den were wildly exaggerated! I have been absent for some time but have every intention of writing more often. We’ll see how that goes.

Today is Saint Valentine’s Day. As a younger man I tended to rail against this “Invented Holiday,” but let’s face it… they’re all invented so just pick the ones you like and move on. (Ok, Sweetest Day is invented. I am totally calling “Bullshit!” on Sweetest Day.) Today I’m going to write about love.

Let’s begin by acknowledging that I am not an expert on relationships. I’m not an expert on anything. I have no background in psychology. While we’re at it, I have no formal training as an investigator but that hasn’t stopped me earning a living at it for a really disconcertingly long time now.  So. I have a laptop. I have a blog. I have some free time. I’m gonna write about love.

My wife and I celebrate Valentine’s Day in what I suppose to be middle of the road fashion. We tend not to make plans (A little gun-shy from Wedding Anniversary disasters of years past and worried that the bad luck that for a long time attended our efforts at celebration may migrate to another Relationship Holiday, but that’s another matter). In fact we almost never go out on the 14th. I make perhaps a little more of an effort than usual with dinner. We buy each other gifts but don’t go overboard. We get each other cards and I usually get to spend about five minutes complaining about Hallmark’s appallingly thin selection of cards in the “Wife” section.  There are chocolates. There is champagne. There is an evening spent comfortably in each other’s company.

There are people who work at making Valentine’s Day a sort of sporting event dedicated to extreme passion. Everything perfect, everything larger than life. Good for them. I will never medal in that particular event. There are people who ignore it. I advise against that. Lots of folks say “Why should I need a special day to tell my wife I love her?” You shouldn’t, but do it anyway.

I have led what I consider to be an almost charmed life, but I understand all too well that the people we love can be snatched away on the instant. I’ve seen it. I think it is important to let the people you love hear about it, to put in the effort to make them understand that you cherish them and that you want them in your life. Otherwise they might not know. And then they might not stick around for you to explain. I’ve seen that too.

I don’t really believe in Capital S Soul Mates. I happen to think that love takes some effort. Don’t get me wrong, I think that there are people who make a spark when you put them together. I think that spark can occur for any of a number of reasons, and no amount of effort will ever blossom into love without that initial attraction. I also happen to think that spark can happen with a number of different people for anyone. What makes love, in my opinion, is what happens after that spark.  If we’re going to follow the spark analogy to the fire analogy, (And why not? Lets.) you need to build a fire from that spark. Tend it or it goes out. Tending a fire is work.

There. I said it. Love is work. (We’re all on board with the analogy still, right? The fire is love. Tending a fire is work…. love takes work… we’re good, right? Ok.) It isn’t always effortless. You get out what you put in, and all those clichés.  If you think that once you’ve found the love of your life your job is over you are going to be very disappointed somewhere down the line.  Sometimes it’s really easy. Sometimes it’s not. The longer you’re at it, the easier it gets. You get to know each other, but if you’re paying attention you still learn new stuff. Even after 20 years.

The “Work” I’m referring to in a relationship is communication. I’m not talking about the easy, obvious stuff. I’m talking about the hard stuff. Really communicating with your partner means having the guts to tell them what you want, what you need from them. It’s saying “Honey, here’s what you’re doing that is pissing me off.” Or, “I’m lonely.” Your partner isn’t psychic. Maybe some things should be obvious. Likely they are not. Your wife isn’t going to know that thing about the dishwasher makes you nuts unless you tell her. Your boyfriend won’t do that thing you’ve been craving in bed unless you ask him to.  I’ve been married almost 21 years. Some days I’m a genius. Some days I can do no wrong. But some days I don’t know what to do. There are so many outside forces vying for our attention, so many things that can have an effect on our moods that we then carry into our relationships, so many things we can do wrong that sometimes your only really safe bet is to take hold of the person you love and tell them so.  And guess what…. Valentine’s Day is a freebie.

Seriously.  Here you have a custom-made holiday for saying “I love you.” Here is a day where you are encouraged to make your feelings plain. I advise you to take full advantage of it. You don’t need 2 dozen roses or a diamond necklace. You don’t need a steak dinner, or even that card I suppose. You DO need to take the time. Tell the person you love… that you love them.

Take good care.

© 2014 Roy Guill, The Naked Investigator

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One Response to “Yup. Valentine’s Day”

  1. Cyndi B February 15, 2014 at 8:02 am #

    Awesome and well said, my friend

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