Beyond just that tingly feeling in your cheeks, or the butterflies in your stomach. Love is a force. It’s what so many of us long for, chase after, and sometimes even die for. For me, Valentine’s Day symbolizes more than just flowers and candy. It’s a chance for me to celebrate something I’ve fought for, and work hard to strengthen and cultivate every day. Here’s why I love celebrating Valentine’s Day…
The power of an everyday kind of love
Contrary to what you may think, we don’t make a big deal about Valentine’s Day in the Ramirez home. In fact, I’m sitting in my bedroom right now, while my husband edits a video for his Youtube channel in the living room. We had a delicious, home-cooked steak dinner at home. Watched an episode of 30 Rock. Caught up on each other’s day, and then promptly hopped right back into work.
We’ve been married for over 3 years now, so this scenario might not seem like much of a surprise. But, you know what, our love is actually the strongest it’s ever been. I’ve often asked Will if he loves me as much as he did when we first met. His answer is always that he loves me so much more. That’s the crazy thing about love – the longer you wrestle through it, the better it gets. The longer you stay the course, work through your problems, and learn the depths of your partner, the stronger your bond becomes.
I know I’m not telling you something you likely haven’t already heard a thousand times before. But, it’s the stability of this everyday kind of love; this constant in my life, that has served as the sure-footed launchpad for my dreams. I can rest assured in the sturdiness of our relationship – 11 years together, and over 3 years married. But, it wasn’t always like this…
A momentary lapse of judgement
I had lunch with a new friend today. I told about the year that Will and I were broken up. About the other man I’d reconnected with after being single for almost a year; someone I’d met a few years before Will. We connected almost instantly. But, nothing was ever official.
Through our many conversations, though, I realized that this guy had gone through a world of hurt. He had a lot of anger, and bitterness over his previously broken engagement, despite how much he denied it. And, although he never directed any negativity towards me, I had a bad feeling about this. Somehow, call it intuition, or the forewarning of almost every one of my girlfriends, I knew I couldn’t move forward with him. And, the truth is, I, too, was hurting. Still healing from a painful breakup. In no way was I ready to jump into another relationship. This would not have gone well. It was so unhealthy. So, despite his many attempts, I never did go out with him. And, after a few misunderstandings and miscommunication, we eventually fell out of touch. And, of course, I haven’t spoken to him since, and likely never will.
Taking the punches of the truth
For what it’s worth, that little fling, if you can even call it that, was quite exciting. I hadn’t felt wanted in so long. It felt good to have the attention from someone I was attracted to. But, for all that excitement, I knew deep down that this wasn’t it. He wasn’t the one. I was using him. In fact, in his last text message to me, he accused me of being a “terrible person”; that I only reach out to him when I’m broken up. He was right. Well, at least about the part where I’d only message him when I was broken up and lonely.
I’m not sure what I was chasing. Maybe the idea that I had some semblance of a future with someone else other than Will? That there was indeed someone else out there that I could see myself with? Maybe I was looking too deep into it all. Because, when it comes down to it, I earnestly believed that this man was really only after one thing. And, maybe I was, too.
That’s where the unhealthiness, the drama, and to an extent, the excitement of it all came from. I’d lost the steadiness of a love that was true. I felt lost without it. I needed something – someone, to fill that void. So, I went searching in my Facebook account, searching for the next best thing. The closest thing that I knew was a “sure” bet. Only to leave feeling less myself than ever before – emptier than ever before. And, now having further hurt someone who was already a mess himself.
Love takes time, effort, and patience
Anytime we try and rush or chase love, or speed up the process, things will inevitably go awry. A force as powerful as love cannot be manufactured or manipulated. You can mould love into whatever you want. Lust, as enticing as it may be in a moment, will never be love. It’ll never have the power to propel you further in life. It’ll never be the sound foundation on which to build your life, family, and dreams.
True love, and the steadiness of it, takes time. It takes patience. And, it takes effort. Shortly after I stopped talking to this man, I reconnected with Will. We’d be engaged roughly 6 months later. And, those 6 months were nothing short of a lot of hard work. Will and I had to learn how to love and trust one another again. We had to make a lot of changes, like how we spoke to one another, how we used social media, and the people we associated with. In order for us to be serious, and work towards marriage, we had to remain committed to the process – through thick and thin.
I’m sure we all have our share of relationship mistakes. People we wished we’d never met, dated, or hurt. Words we wish we hadn’t said, or had said. Things we can’t take back, or wouldn’t take back even if we could. But, the beauty of this messy life, is that it’s all leading us to something. Or, maybe even someone. Nothing you go through is ever in vain. There’s a lesson in everything. And, true love will find you. It may not look how you thought it would. And, it may not happen when you’d like it to. But, it will come. And, when it does, it’s worth celebrating. And, that’s why I love celebrating Valentine’s Day.
Here’s to my husband – the love of my life, my best friend, and my forever, funny Valentine.