This year my husband and I will be celebrating our 20th Valentine’s Day together. TWENTY. One has to get pretty creative to make Valentine’s Day romantic and exciting after this many times around. We used to do surprise weekend getaways, romantic dinners out and give cards declaring our love for each other. But recently we haven’t done much more than acknowledge the day with our kids. It just seems silly after all these years.
For one thing, I hate flowers; just another thing I have to take care of. And with these stubborn 10lbs I want to lose, chocolates are not really appreciated. Plus, after 20 years together these things now seem frivolous and small. Even the cards and words are just that; words. We have been together 20 years. Not only have we said all of these things (many times) but we have lived them for years.
The fact that we have been together and in love for 20 years says much more than a card or a box of chocolates or even a weekend getaway ever could. Don’t get me wrong, I love surprises but at this point in our relationship I don’t think it is necessary. I know he loves me. I don’t need these things to give me that.
But I have a feeling I may be in the minority here. For some people these gestures mean a lot. They must because I know that many people in marriages as long as mine go elsewhere in search of these things. They aren’t satisfied with the steady love and knowledge day after day that you are in this together. They want more.
Or at least they think it’s more but, in my opinion, it is much, much less. I remember that feeling in the beginning of our relationship and I think anyone who says they don’t long for it at times is lying. We all do. The excitement and thrill of what might be. The passion of a new love. But all of this is in anticipation of the deep, life-long love that only years together brings. You simply can’t have it both ways and I believe that the loss of that initial excitement is a small price to pay for a lifetime of true love.
Recently I was sent a press release from PInow.com, a network of Private Investigators, with some very disturbing statistics. Did you know that 30-60% of married people will cheat? That 74% of men and 68% of women would cheat on their partner if they knew they wouldn’t get caught? That more people successfully catch a cheater in the days surrounding Valentine’s Day than any other time of year?
I mean, we have all fantasized about the what ifs but I don’t just decide not to cheat because I am afraid of getting caught. I don’t cheat because I love, trust and respect my husband and I expect the same from him. Our whole marriage is based on that and I don’t think I could go on in our marriage if that wasn’t there.
What do these statistics tell me? That I am the minority. That the promise of romantic gestures and the desire for passion and those early relationship butterflies are enough to make most people stray. That the warm feeling and knowing of that familiar love is not enough to keep people together.
Or maybe it’s not that at all. Maybe I am the minority because after 20 years with the same person we actually have these things and most people don’t. Maybe the fact that he is still the man I want as my Valentine all these years later is the most romantic gesture of all.
Happy Valentine’s Day my love…again.