Now that the chocolates have been eaten and the flowers are nicely resting in a vase, we can now talk about the other 364 days of the year.
Don’t get me wrong, as much as I used to characterize Valentine’s day as a gimmick holiday created by Hallmark to generate additional gratuitous consumption, I no longer see it as a meaningless holiday. In fact, I think it’s a great opportunity and excuse for couples to be creative and do meaningful things for each other. On the same token, I don’t feel people should create unnecessary expectations nor limit themselves to just one day.
The truth is, no matter how special we make Valentine’s day, those feelings of excitement, mystery, and gratitude are fleeting. It doesn’t mean that it won’t be memorable, it’s just that human beings are complex and dare I say, needy. This is especially true when we are in relationships. People have needs that require ongoing care and attention. Just like a flower that requires water and light to survive and blossom, there are specific qualities that help support long-lasting and meaningful relationships.
So what exactly are those relationship qualities that help make the other 364 days fun, enjoyable and meaningful?
Strong and loving relationships usually involve two people who have a deep desire and commitment to openly communicate, build trust, respect and grow together. These things do take time to develop, but communication and trust, along with a bit of patience (ok sometimes a whole lot of it is required) lays the foundation for everything else. Albeit they also sometimes work hand-in-hand, for example mutual respect allows communication to be balanced where opinions can be shared without one person overpowering the other. Without trust, everything falls apart! Trust opens up the flow of communication and supports growth. Trust is earned through a consistent pattern of positive behaviour. It’s fragile so don’t f*#% things up! 😀
There are many other qualities that I can cover, but they essentially fall under one of the above categories. So let me leave you with this final thought: don’t over-romanticize relationships because it does take work. After the honeymoon stage comes the realization that the other person isn’t perfect, but that can be said about everything in life. Commitment to love is a beautiful thing and always remember that with every experience a learning opportunity is born, so don’t ever forget the lesson. Have fun, be creative, and stop to smell the roses because love is a gift!