After an exhausting courtship of just over a month and a half I was lucky enough to marry my soul mate. Yes, just a month and a half from the first moment we met to the exchanging of our vows, in my house with our friends and family, exactly twenty minutes into the New Year. Some may call it my way of never forgetting our anniversary date, but I look more at it as fate. You see I believe in the ‘Happily Ever After’ that Walt Disney sold me on with all of his adventures and stories when I was young. However, I did make sure that we renewed our vows ten years later in a church. Again, some may see it as romantic but I see it as a way to take away any doubt that I had with her original ‘I do’s’. You see, at the same time of those infamous words, “do you take John to be your, blah, blah, blah (you get the point)” someone asked at the exact same time, “Who wants a beer?” To make a long story short I got the “I do” but have always wondered what she said “I do” to, me or the beer. Now I know after all these years… it was the beer.
What kept us going throughout these past fifteen years was not only love but a lot of hard work. We seem not to do things that ‘everyone’ else does of taking each other for granted and I think this is what has kept us strong. One decision I made after we were married is to continue to find new ways to keep our romance strong. This commitment has been a good choice as well as a stressful one and this is where this story originated from. It all started on our first Valentine’s Day when our dogs decided to chew apart a stuffed animal that her ex-boyfriend gave her. I had to do something to honor the burial of the past and bring forth the life of the future and that I did. I set up a treasure hunt throughout our house ending downstairs in the dryer with a new teddy bear waiting for a place in her heart. She found the bear and I found the pot of gold to romance. This experience came across as a person that would go the extra mile (kilometer) to bring joy and love into his mate’s heart. It has all the ingredients of success: (1) love (2) commitment (3) thoughtfulness (4) being difficult and (5) being original. I could have bought her flowers and/or chocolate said sorry, blamed the dogs and turned on the football game but there was more on the line here. We were a newly married couple with high expectations who needed a way to close the door on the past, be careful of her heart while trying to look like a hero and hopefully remind her that she had made the right decision to marry this stranger. How could she not love a guy that has gone through this much work to bring a new meaning to the day of love? With the wonderful love and affection that I received from this little bit of guilt (from the dogs chewing her last boyfriend teddy bear) it somehow turned in my favor and started me off on the new road that would help me become the Valentine’s Guru of love. So each year after I tried to equal and out do the following year’s idea and thus creating ongoing internal stress as the next day of Valentine’s drew near.
The journey would usually start right after Valentine’s Day had finished. I would start to ask people for ideas or a special memory. The sad thing is that no one was able to give me a good story, gift or memory. All I heard was, “Nothing special. All I get is flowers or chocolate” “take her out for dinner” “give her a card” and “I don’t believe in Valentine’s Day” (he’s probably still single). It seems that most people take the easy way out which has made this time of the year one of the most expensive times to buy flowers. After hearing all the negative feedback to my question of help and advice, I started to ask myself…Why? What happened to all the romance? Lost? Forgotten? Or has it become a nuisance that gets in our way of life? In these days of no romance, to show someone that we truly love them means that we have to make the extra effort of getting in our car and driving to the mall to go through the rows of cards and read a couple of the cards to match it with the right colored envelope to pay for the card to get back in the car and drive home. Unless we are really in trouble we add flowers or chocolates. How unoriginal and boring. If you do not believe me ask your mate or even better your mate’s friend.
The reason behind this story is to give you a fighting chance to not only grow some new memories and strengthen your love but to be different. For my wife and me it was designed around Valentine’s Day but you can use these ideas for any other occasion like a birthday, your anniversary or just because you love her and she is worth it. I am old fashion and believe in the “happily ever after” tale of love like I stated earlier but realized like anything in this world you have to be proactive not reactive. If you are always taking the easy way out and just buying her the regular chocolates and/or flowers and you just get a nice kiss on the cheek, which was just like the kiss of last year, do not get mad at her get mad at yourself for not being more imaginative. You have the power to control what she tells her closest friends, family and coworkers. Your choices will be heard by her either stating, “Ya, all he got me was flowers again this year” or with a sparkle in her eyes: “I woke up this morning and he had me go on a treasure hunt and after he had me running all through the house trying to figure out his clues I finally came to the end and he got me this wonderful, lovely, (whatever)” Now you have her love for life and all your friends, family and coworkers think you are the greatest thing since slice bread, all because you put your words into action. You took your love to a new level; a level that tells her that she is the most important part of your life and you will do almost anything for her so as to move your relationship towards the ‘happily ever after’ chapter of love. And while you are enjoying this feeling of being Superman to her the other guys that got their mates a card, chocolates and/or flowers are embracing the position of the Joker. But beware of the men that hear about your actions and special gift for they will see you as a trouble maker against the world of the traditional men and will blame you for their unoriginal and boring gift. All they are going to hear from now on is: “Why aren’t you like John?” or “John’s wife is so lucky to have him.” and “Did you hear what he did for her?” ‘Why can’t you be like him?”
So now is your chance to take your romance to the next level. I will add my compilation of ideas (in later blogs) that I have used over the years that will help you on this new journey to rekindle your love and say no to capitalism at the same time. My valentine ideas range from simple to hard and from normal to bizarre, but one thing is for sure all are made from love. Each chapter will have an idea; some hints of what to say and what you will need to accomplish each task. Some gift ideas will be longer than others do to in regards to the time needed to build, design or get the gift ready. I believe that true love is a special gift that is hard to find and once you have it you must constantly water it so it will grow and grow. So I challenge you to do something different and create a memory of love that will last forever.
The flowers you give her will die; the chocolate will be eaten and forgotten like most of her past valentine’s memories. Why not decide to make a change and be the instigator to the new romance in your relationship. Gandhi once said, “Be the change you want to see in the world”. If we bring his comment closer to home we could change it to, “be the change you want to see in your relationship”. Do not just sit and wait for her to make the first move, you must make the first and second move since it is all about her and only her. Do not concern yourself if she just gets you a card or chocolate since you are now in charge of the romance in your relationship. Anything important takes time to grow so be patient and never give up. It does not matter how long you have been in your relationship to start to ‘court’ her again. The only choice you have to make is when are you going to start? If you do not make the effort, why should she? At my wedding, we had our best man read from Corinthians 13 in the Bible. It represented what our relationship was centered on.
“Love is patient, and love is kind, It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
We could also add that love is hard work, love takes time and effort, love is truly there for the taking, love is not for the lazy, love is not bought in a corner store, love is there for all, love needs to be constantly nourished, remembered, acknowledged, appreciated, respected, wanted, worked on and loved. Love is the greatest gift you can ever give or receive. So my recommendation is start today, right now, and “be the change you want to see in your relationship”. Just remember the day is about love and making her happy. I wish you luck and hope to run into you one day to hear all the amazing stories that you were able to create in your relationship and hear you say, “Happily ever after” is achievable.
Here one of my ten-year valentine gifts – a poem – to my wife.
“Here we are at Valentines; the most stressful day I found
I have set a challenge for myself; that will put me in the ground.
I started with a simple task; to show my new wife I care
A treasure hunt around the house; ended with a hidden bear
I’d thought I’d keep the challenge up; to see where I could go
Coupons, cookies and a candy card; I’ve become the Valentine’s pro.
A classic guitarist played our song; with a dance and then a rose
I ‘built a bear’ with our two sons; a song made from my prose.
A puzzle and a homemade book; with hundred – I love you’s
A mosaic next of the three I love; now, where is my trusty Muse?
I do not like the time we get; one day to show my desire
So this year I’m doing something new; I’m ‘raising the bar’ much higher.
So to my wife and one true love; I hope you get my drift
That a day is not enough for me; to share my special gift
I’ll start by mailing the two of us; a special souvenir
Then a weekly task for us to follow; throughout the coming year
But now can I rest and catch my breath? Is the challenge all but done?
I think not, as I sit back; the ‘16th’ has just begun!”