Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching! Since the 1300’s, Valentine’s Day has been associated with love and romance. How do you keep love and romance alive? How do you do it if you are tired from working? How do you do it if you have children? How do you do it if you have children with Learning Differences or other disabilities?
I don’t claim to have all the answers, I’ll leave that to the experts. But, I will tell you that after 29 years of marriage it is still a challenge to keep love and romance alive. According to Shaunti Feldhahn, social researcher, best-selling author, and popular speaker, “Divorce isn’t the greatest threat to marriage. Discouragement is.” I would agree with this statement.
Whenever I felt my lowest and wasn’t sure there was an answer for what was going on with my kids, I would feel like the world was against me and that there was no hope. This is when I would reach out to my husband and look for support. Most times that support was there. However, I think the key was that he was not my only support. I built a team of personal and professional people who I could call on when times were tough. Sometimes they just listened, sometimes they offered suggestions, sometimes they just let me cry, sometimes we laughed.
Finding healthy emotional releases helps to keep pent up frustrations in check. If our frustrations become overwhelming, most of us tend to get angry. I know when my frustrations were at their highest, I would sometimes burst out into anger over the littlest of issues. Everyone has different ways to release pent-up emotions. Find what works for you and make it a part of your routine.
My husband and I tried to find ways to make things funny and light. I would always tell him that if I decided to get a divorce, I would take the dogs and he could have the kids. I would say, “If you come home and find me and the dogs gone, you’re on your own.” He would always laugh and ask me what he needed to do to make sure that didn’t happen because he couldn’t live without the dogs. LOL
Find what brings laughter and contentment into your lives. Find things that you can share that make you both happy, no matter how simple it is. One of our favorite things to do is to go out to breakfast. So, after the kids had gone to school, we would head to a restaurant. We found that we could really talk about things over breakfast. Sometimes we would even take the mail or a list of things we needed to talk about so we knew what needed to be discussed. We always left feeling like we had some good time alone and accomplished something at the same time.
Doing something like this also gives you time to understand what is going on in each other’s lives. I think that this is key in love, romance, and staying together. I may not know much about the day-to-day things that my husband does, but I do know how he feels about his work. My husband traveled a great deal of time for his work. When he came back into town, he was discouraged from making decisions about the kids until he and I had a chance to talk about what had been going on during the time he was gone. If your spouse does not know that your child has been grounded, your child will be smart enough to ask your spouse if they can do something, get permission, and then leave. You come home or out of the kitchen, find out what happened, get frustrated, and yell at your spouse. Keeping each other informed about the goings on with your children is key
Besides keeping each other informed, find ways to get a break. Every so often, the primary care giver needs to get a break. I know it is hard to do, but even if you can get a couple of weekends at a friend’s or relative’s house, it can do wonders for your mental health. It can also give the non-primary care giver a feel for what you go through all the time, especially if you can take a week or more away from home. Will things be done the way you would have done them? No. Will everyone survive? Yes.
What’s all the above have to do with love and romance? After 29 years of marriage, I have found that it is the little things that start to build a barrier between us. How can you think about romance if you think your spouse doesn’t support you? How can you think about love if you are so tired you can’t even make it through a TV show?
Over the next couple of weeks, decide how you want to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your spouse or loved one and do the emotional work beforehand so that you can reduce the barriers and enjoy some love and romance. Keep the following in mind as you do this emotional work.
"When two people are angry at each other, their hearts distance a lot. To cover that distance they must shout to be able to hear each other. The angrier they are, the stronger they will have to shout to hear each other to cover that great distance.
What happens when two people fall in love? They don’t shout at each other but talk softly, because their hearts are very close. The distance between them is either nonexistent or very small.
[. . .] When they love each other even more, what happens? They do not speak, only whisper and they get even closer to each other in their love. Finally they need not even whisper, they only look at each other and that’s all. That is how close two people are then they love each other.
[. . .] So when you argue do not let your hearts get distant, do not say words that distance each other more, or else there will come a day when the distance is so great that you will not find the path to return." - Unknown, Awakin.org
Happy Valentine's Day to You & Your Loved Ones!
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