14 February 2014

It's All About the Love, Y'All

I ask you, is this not the cutest lil' cactus* you ever did see?

Despite being a prickly little devil (and it is -I'm still nursing a few thorns in my thumb), the white flowing tendrils and pretty flower on top make it a lovely, romantic gift for that special someone.

(In this case, that 'special someone' is my brother's girlfriend, who luuuurves cactuses... cacti... whatever. She loves them.)

Our Valentine's plans are pretty low key. Actually, they're non-existent. We don't really celebrate in this house, except to indulge in a bag (or forty) of cinnamon hearts until the first five layers of our tongues burn off. Daryn's away at a conference today and tomorrow (like, who schedules a conference on Valentine's Day?? No one who's wife or husband is happy with them, clearly.) The Girl has swimming, too, which means we'll be sitting on the sidelines of a muggy pool, sweating through our track pants. So you know... that's pretty romantic. And with day #2 of D's conference starting at 7.15am, we'll be hitting the sack at 8.30pm (that 5am wake-up call is really early.)

We might order pizza for dinner. Because we're classy like that, and everybody knows that true romance starts with extra cheese and garlic dip.


Anyway, I had this big post planned where I was going to tell you all about love languages: what they are in general, what ours are specifically, what that means about Love at the Money Pit, and how you can find out your own language.

It didn't work out.

I'll tell you all about that stuff another time (love is a popular theme over here at Money Pit... Love.) I decided instead to share my thoughts on some of the most popular "love" sayings going around. They're not what you think. (My thoughts I mean. The quotes are pretty standard stuff.)

"Love means never having to say you're sorry." - Jenny (Ali McGraw), Love Story

WRONG. Totally, utterly, completely wrong. This is wishful thinking in the extreme, and such bad advice to live by. It sets people up for failure, you know?

Daryn and I apologize to each other ALL. THE. TIME. Not because we fight all that often, or don't generally get along. Completely the opposite, actually. We apologize when we've been wrong, of course, but also to acknowledge when we haven't offered the best side of ourselves to the other. Especially then.

We spend so much time out in the world, putting on our game face and giving other folks - the ones who don't matter as much or even at all - the bulk of our energy. It's easy to come home and drop the fa├žade, and we should be able to do that. If we can't be 100% comfortable with the person we've chosen to be with until death do us part, with whom can we be? But completely at ease doesn't mean crabby or short-tempered or impatient. The energy we put into giving the people who don't matter our positive attention should be given at home, too. Sweatpants are OK, if there's a smile and a hug and undivided attention attached.

So when we don't offer the best side of ourselves to the other, we apologize. And we apologize for being thoughtless, or careless, or forgetful, or flippant, or distracted or short-tempered. Because apologizing says to the other person: You matter. You matter more than anyone, and you deserve my very best. I didn't give it to you in that moment, but I want to be better for you because you deserve it.

So say you're sorry. True love means owning your shit, and being grown up enough to apologize when it hits the fan.

"You don't marry someone you can live with - you marry someone you can't live without." - author unknown

Um, yeah. Sure. Sounds good on paper. But how do you know you can't live without them until you've tried? And have you ever lived with someone who was too much like you, or completely the opposite of that? Don't get me wrong - passion is important in any relationship. Might be TMI, but Daryn and I have been together more than 18 years and are still super hot for each other. SUPER hot. We are accused very frequently of acting like teenagers - we think that's a good thing.

But compatibility? Equally as important, if not more so. Critical, really. Passion rears its lovely head two or three times a week, but it's compatibility that lets you share a sink with your partner for 50 years without cracking heads or filing for divorce. It's compatibility that gets the laundry folded and the dishes washed and the dog walked. Passion doesn't make the grocery list, baby, and it definitely doesn't hit up Loblaw's every Sunday. Passion is amazing but life needs a lot of filler and if you can't get along then, you'll never make it to the finish line.

What I'm saying is: passion and compatibility are BOTH important in a successful relationship. Marry someone you can live with AND can't live without. That's the sweet spot right there.

"The heart wants what it wants. There's no logic to these things. You meet someone and you fall in love and that's that." - Woody Allen

Yes. I think that's actually true. Sometimes, against all odds and even though you know you shouldn't - and everything in the logical part of your brain says, No, this isn't a good idea - you fall in love with someone.

But relationships are more than that, in my opinion. At least the ones that go the distance.

Falling in love isn't the same as staying in love. And being "in love" isn't "loving" someone. Being in love is loving the feeling as much as you love the person. Loving someone is about the person, and it allows for good, bad and in between.

Being in love sometimes just happens; loving someone is a choice. Every day, whether our lives are good or bad in that moment, whether we're struggling or coasting or on top of the world, we make a choice every waking minute to stay with the person we love; to work together, to work toward a common goal, to make it work. When you choose differently - when you decide that maybe today, you'll take a day off from the work - is when things go to shit. But choosing to work - together, through and forward - is really loving someone (and loving yourself, too, enough to invest in something bigger than yourself.)

So yeah, you meet someone and you fall in love. But that's not that. The rest takes work, and commitment, and choices.

My goal is to have both: I want to love Daryn, and be in love with him. After all these years, he stills makes me giddy. I have a wicked-bad crush on him, and get pretty damn tongue-tied when he looks at me that way, or kisses the back of my neck. (TMI again? Sorry. What can I say? It's Valentine's Day.) But I love him, too. Trips to the grocery store are our "date" afternoons - we make the most of time together. We have lunch, we laugh, we offer gratitude for dishwashers loaded or floors swept, or driveways shoveled. And for us, it works.

"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage." - Lao Tzu

Yes. YES. A thousand times yes.


So, happy Valentine's Day to everyone. I hope you celebrate in whatever way is perfect for you (including not celebrating at all), and that you are surrounded by love on this day and always. And I don't mean just boys, or girls. I mean everyone, anyone: family, friends, partners, children. They all count: Valentine's Day isn't just for lovers, it's for everyone who loves anyone.

Cheers to you! We're celebrating with a large meat lover's and a few (hundred) cinnamon hearts.


*I've only just now realized that if you didn't know this was a cactus, it could easily be mistaken for a boob. I mean, that flower at the top? Pure nipple action. My bad. It really is a plant, you guys. And maybe a prickly boob is just the perfect symbol of Valentine's Day, in the history of ever. But if you are offended by the boob cactus with its nipple flower, my bad. So sorry. Way it goes around here.