Traditions Of Love

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Valentine’s Day elicits strong feelings in people – positive and negative.  There’s the V-Day haters (who’ve had bad relationships or feel pressure because they aren’t currently in a relationship), and the V-Day lovers, (who go about annoying all the haters by declaring how wonderful love is).

I confess, I’m in the lover group, and I live with a romantic man (Mr. Romantic), so there’s no ignoring V-Day even if I wanted to.  Which I don’t.  So sue me.  I believe in love.

Nevertheless, I haven’t always been happy in love, nor have all my relationships been good.  Some have been pretty darn awful, and I’ve put in my time feeling irritated with the whole February 14th “rubbing my nose in it” day!

Plus, as I’ve said before, I think our modern Valentine’s Day is harder than ever on couples (see Love Is Harder Online).

But all that aside…  does anyone even know how this red-filled, expensive card, long-stemmed roses, dinner out, pressure to express our love event even started?

According to the “experts” (whatever that means), apparently not!

Ask most people and they’ll tell you it’s because of Saint Valentine.  But did you know there was more than one Saint Valentine?  I sure didn’t.  Until I looked it up.  No one seems 100% certain which saint it was.  Not to mention that the stories of how it all started are just that… legends… about priests performing forbidden weddings, doing miraculous healings, and spreading the gospel of Christ.

Then there’s the folk traditions and various customs that link Saint Valentine’s with the advent of spring.  One earth-type version has Saint Valentine doing something mystical with the roots of plants, and causing the season’s new growth.

They weren’t all priests either… there’s a ‘Jack’ Valentine that left sweet treats for children at their back doors.  Not sure why he did this, but apparently the kids were scared of him.

My favorite story is that Valentine’s day is when the birds sing songs of love to each other, pick their forever mates and get married.  S-tweet!

Valentine’s Day is celebrated in lots of countries around the world, by lots of different names with lots of different legends and stories.

It’s not all just about romantic love either.

In fact, romance didn’t seem to be the main focus in most of the origins surrounding the celebrations.  Even now, not every country relates the day with romance.

Some interesting facts, according to Wikipedia:

Estonia and Finland translate Valentine’s Day into “Friends Day”.  It’s about showing your friends how much you appreciate them.  In Iran, it’s a festival that combines a celebration of the earth with love towards mothers and wives.

Valentine’s Day is illegal in Saudi Arabia, because it’s seen as a distinctly Christian holiday, not sanctioned by Islam.  The ban has created a black market there for V-Day shop items, like roses.

The countries that spend the most on Valentine’s Day are China, South Korea, and Singapore.

Sadly, much of the local customs and origins of V-Day are being lost around the world, as the westernized, commercialized version of Valentine’s Day spreads and trumps a lot of the original celebrations.  Still, it’s clear that Valentine’s Day is not just about romantic love.

It’s about LOVE, period.  Religious love.  Love of nature.  Love of family and friends.

Just LOVE.

I definitely think that’s something to celebrate!

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Mr. Romantic

marcussen family wedding photo

Hubby and I just celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary together.  We celebrated by painting the kitchen window and front door (one of those shades of white).

As of this post, it’s already been two days since our anniversary, which means I can no longer remember whether we even went out to dinner or anything.  We may have had Taco Bell.

Friends and family wished us a happy anniversary on FB, and we were tagged in one of our wedding photos which showed up online.  (That’s me in my Kelly green wedding dress.)

All in all, it was more fanfare than I usually think to give to our anniversary.

It’s not that I’m not happy with Hubby.  I am.  Very.  I think we have true love.

People tell me I’m lucky to have a husband like him and I think they’re right.  He is, after all:  handsome, friendly, kind, forgiving, and lenient.  That may seem like a strange list of attributes for the perfect husband, but personally I think that’s the right kind of man to have.  (If you had to live with me you’d probably tack on a few more of those “lenient”.)

And then there are those poppy-blue colored eyes….. sigh.  But when it comes to romance, we are complete opposites.

I can only take so much of all that mush.  Hubby, on the other hand, is over the top.

I’m glad I have a husband who remembers every anniversary, birthday, first date, etc.  I’ve heard plenty of stories from women who would give anything to have a man who brings them flowers regularly, wants to hold their hand wherever they go, tells them they’re beautiful when they’re wearing paint splattered clothes or haven’t brushed their teeth yet.  (Hubby does all of those things.)  But a little goes a long way for me.

I try to think more romantically for him.  It ain’t easy.

Like, once, we were in the bookstore and I saw him reading a book about putting more romance in your life (as if!).  A few days later I was drinking an iced tea when something caught in my throat.  I started choking, and up came a little piece of paper.

“What the hell is this?”  I said.

“Read it,” he replied.

So I did.  I don’t remember what it said, but the gist was that Hubby had frozen little love notes in the ice cube tray.  Something he’d read in that fool book.  He had that tender look of love in his eyes and expectant smile on his lips.  I think I was supposed to tell him how romantic that was.  Instead I belted out – “You could’ve killed me!” – then spent the next half hour apologizing and trying to sooth his hurt feelings.

There was the Easter season that Hubby hid a dozen long-stemmed carnations for me to find.  Instead of an Easter egg hunt, it was a flower hunt.  (Okay.  I have to confess.  I kind of liked that one.)  Still, I would’ve been just as happy with one green egg.

Luckily, I have to say, that after 22 years he’s gotten used to me.  So on our anniversary I was getting the supplies together for us to paint.  I was annoyed because he was procrastinating, wanting to spend a few minutes time going down memory lane and talking about our wedding.

“You know,” he said.  “I’m so glad we got married.  I’m totally happy with you.”

“Well, whoop-de-do,” I replied.  “Let’s get this window done.”

He laughed and we got down to work.  Later, when we were sitting at the table surveying our handiwork, my earlier response seemed funny to me too and I thought about writing this post.

I knew Hubby never signed on to our computer.  I don’t think he knows how.  He doesn’t read my blog.  He doesn’t have a FB account.  He doesn’t text.  Computers aren’t really a big part of his life.  As far as his days are concerned, what happens online isn’t part of the real world.

Still, our family and friends ARE online.  They can see what I write about him.  I wondered if I was being fair to him, or doing something he’d rather I didn’t do.  If that was the case, I’d respect his wishes.  So I asked him.

“Now that I write that blog I find I put a lot of our conversations into my posts,” I said.  “You’ve become one of my favorite subject matters.”

“Uh-huh.”  He stood to go into the other room.

“How do you feel about that?” I asked.

“Whoop-de-do,” he answered, as he disappeared from view.

Ah… true love.