“A successful marriage requires falling in love many times,
always with the same person.”
There are so many electives offered in high school and college curriculums today to help young people become successful in their careers. However, few if any, are offered on living a lifetime commitment in a relationship. When we were involved in the Marriage Encounter movement in our early years of marriage, we were invited to teach a course on communication in relationships at a local high school. When we stated that Love is a Decision and not a feeling it created quite a stir and tremendous discussion. Anyone who has remained married for over 50 years as we have can share many stories of the often times they have had to practice
“Love is a Decision.”
Valentine’s Day should be a national holiday because so many young married couples need a day just to focus on rekindling their romance. When you consider the fast pace of society, both spouses working, carpooling kids to school and nonstop after school activities filling every hour of the day, there just isn’t much time to focus on romance.
All relationships, including those in professional and social groups, go through three phases: romance, disillusionment and true joy.
In early marriage if romance is not evident the relationship typically heads for disaster very quickly. This is certainly evident by the high rate of divorce. It takes time and work to come up with creative ideas to spice up romance regardless of how short or long we have been married. One of our most memorable occasions was when I rented a room at a downtown hotel and checked in. I had brought Jeanne’s clothes and makeup to the room earlier. I told her our company was having a small gathering with the Vice President at a suite in the hotel.
Of course when we knocked on the door to enter there was no one there. Jeanne thought we were in the wrong location! I then said, “Let’s go downstairs to have dinner and then come back to our room.”
On the Marriage Encounter weekend we taught the value of each spouse writing a daily love letter for 10 minutes while apart and their sharing those letters with one another before going to bed. Fr. Chuck Gallagher was insistent that all team couples had to participate in that practice daily or they could not give weekends. Instead of searching for a Valentine card that has the right message it may be a good way to spark the flame of romance by getting a $1 notebook and spending 10 minutes writing what you truly appreciate about your spouse and why you would not want to go on living without them.
Happy Valentine’s Day!