Happy Valentine’s Day! If you are or have been married, or I suppose even if in a long-term relationship, you and your partner have probably developed an insider language. A collection of words that mean something only to you, or that do exist in other contexts but not with the same connotation. For example, my wife and I have demonstrations and counter-demonstrations, a concept that originated from pressing the button. It’s… a long story. But it brings us much amusement.
But my favorite word creation is ValDayVersary, a combination of Valentine’s Day, her birthday, and our anniversary, which all happen to fall within days of each other. When I first proposed this idea, she of course said “You better not wrap all of that into one day. I want all three celebrations!” And naturally, that’s what it has turned into: a two-month reveling in our relationship and all we have that kicks off each year. It really sets a tone that can carry us forward through all kinds of craziness, the likes of which we discover as we encounter unusual obstacles.
I think this kind of creativity is key to surviving and thriving in a partnership that one expects to last for a life time. Though I certainly don’t know everything yet, as our newlywed status ends I feel that I am now qualified to give some advice in how to work with your significant other in a way that hopefully both of you find pleasing.
First and foremost, as the Wesley Snipes character said in White Men Can’t Jump, “listen to the woman”. To be more inclusive, listen to the “other half”. People will let you know, either directly or indirectly, what they want. Especially in the beginning, she would sometimes say “You should buy me some flowers or something tangible to express your love for me”. I didn’t take this the wrong way, understanding that it was a way to get a newbie like me who had never been in such a sustained connection, to understand the basic expectations. As time has gone on I don’t have to be told these things, as I absolutely want to do them. The indirect hints take more attention, as she might say “I sure could use a new bag,” or “it’s been a while since we’ve had a meal out together”. Of course not everything is material in nature, as usually the most valuable thing you can give of yourself is your time. Just be aware and pay attention to what the person is saying in that regard, as I discovered on wrapping up year 1 that I had missed some subtle cues that led to missed chances to connect.
Speaking of, for me at least a very important element is to make each other laugh a lot. Life serves up enough challenges to cause anyone to crumple from the weight of it. We work together to conquer these challenges, but whenever we have the chance and are up to it we enjoy joking around with each other both verbally and physically. And to me at least, that has rapidly increased the sense of bonded purpose between the both of us.
I do not know what awaits us going forward, but I am becoming more excited as experience and age education us on how to not only deal with whatever life serves, but also to have a lot of fun while doing it. Here’s to your laughs, language, and love. I find it hard to believe that it has already been five years since that first Valentine’s Day when we met, and our origin story really kicked into gear. (Funny side note, as I wrote that, Michael Jackson’s “Remember The Time” came on as I was writing this part). What do you remember of the beginning of your relationship? Have you developed any strange language between the two of you?