Wisdom is denied the young. To that end, I often feel I am called to write, as a sage, in order that young people might hear, receive and understand. It’s to them I dedicate today’s blog, “My Love Letter”, an earnest effort in teaching young, and old, how to keep, protect, and continually flame the fires of love.
As I watch smart phones, social media and modern mores, change the face of falling in love, I’m nostalgic for the old days. The days before texted emoticons replaced the art of love letters and breathless anticipation. Today, on the week of my 35th wedding anniversary, I write a love letter to young lovers seeking earnest guidance on the subject of love. I’m qualified to do so because if I’m anything, I’m lucky in love. Not by accident, but on purpose and by design.
I’ve worked hard to understand the intimate love that exists between two people. Studied it intently. Read countless books on relationships. Sex manuals included. Trust me here: There’s a tremendous amount to learn from King James’ Proverbs 31, The Capable Wife, all the way to, and up through, The Mutli-Orgasmic Couple (one teaches you how to live outside the bedroom door, the other creates a world unto its own behind it, yum).
A willingness to study a broad spectrum of work regarding any subject, is never a bad thing. But it’s especially useful when wanting to understand the subject of love. And, if there’s adequate follow through on the best guidance learned, earned or received, the study will reap untold benefits. So keep this in mind – from biblical advice to the most secular of instructions – all is fair in love. I encourage you to crack the books. Priceless stuff to be mined inside.
Never let your love for one another go stale. You’ll thank me many times throughout your life for this sound guidance. Keep the mystery and excitement alive. Sex inside a great relationship never loses its magic. It’s one of the many gifts of falling, being, and staying in love. There are much worse things than building a solid foundation on fantastic sex.
Adding to the joy of being in love are movies. I’ve two favorite genres: Heroes and Love Stories, with the two often going hand-in-hand. From Braveheart to The Last Samurai. Stories that highlight and pay tribute to the best in us, should be mandatory requirements for enhancing love affairs. My all-time favorite romantic movies are many. I find they serve to make relationships, often weighed down by tedious day-to-day issues, easier to nurture, grow and take to extra-ordinary heights. Movies offer a fresh perspective and often give wings to love (Google 100 best love stories and then make a point to watch them).
My personal favorites span decades. From Gone With the Wind to Pride and Prejudice. Groundhog Day (yes, Groundhog Day, an absolute favorite!) to Something’s Gotta Give. All are filled with countless ideas for keeping love alive. Never underestimate the power of good books and movies to build happy unions. Make at least ten percent of your date nights, romantic movie nights. And, despite what guys say, as long as their honey is snuggled in tight, they secretly love chick flicks. I also recommend actually going to a theater once in a while instead of just utilizing the lazy man’s “Netflix and chill” approach. Speaking from experience, big screen time adds to the anticipation of getting home. And more than once, making it home was a Herculean feat we couldn’t quite accomplish. Yes, I’m bragging.
And music. My God, music. Music is manna from heaven when it comes to fueling the fires of love. It’s not so much the notes, but the spaces in between that leave us breathlessly wanting more. There are songs for every aspect of love, from falling to building to coming to terms. Be adventurous in music. I happen to be an easy mark for anything from The American Song Book, the Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald era, but staying current has its upside, too. All you need do is Google, “the best music for making hot passionate love” in order to spice up your roll in the bedroom.
There’s so much more to being in love than having a great sex life, but having a great sex life is certainly one of the best things to be found in long term relationships. It’s worth talking about and nurturing and working hard to keep alive. That said, here’s something else to think about.
For me, staying in love all these many years had more to do with having something to look forward to. Rather than make a wish list of “things” I wanted, I consciously traded the receiving of gifts in exchange for adventures and memories.
My husband and I established our home in October, 1982. We married in an ultra private ceremony, at sunset, in a quiet olive grove. Our honeymoon spent on a private 40′ sailboat in the British Virgins. Our first anniversary was celebrated at the same hotel as our wedding night, but was more exciting at our being overjoyed by my having serious morning sickness. Our third anniversary was mostly spent talking about our baby girl (at home with her grandmother) as we sailed the Virgins, retracing our honeymoon.
I won’t bore you with continued details covering dozens of anniversaries, but know we’ve spent very few dollars on presents over the years. Rather, we opted for experiences (in an effort to prepare this week’s blog, I surprised myself by being able to write down nearly every memorable way we’ve spent celebrating anniversaries!). There are endless and unforgettable ways to build a love that lasts for decades. Many of them are free.
Though the years have changed our outward appearance, and our age difference has diminished his physical drive, I’ve long since learned love is more than unquenchable passion. For all the little (and really big) reasons in life, I remain tenderly committed to my husband.
If one was to ask me what brought us together, I’d have to say it was an intoxicatingly powerful mix of pure chemistry. The heart simply wants what the heart wants. When we married I was 25 and he, 43. To me, he was so incredibly handsome. He made my heart race; I couldn’t keep my hands off him; and, as he’d lie sleeping next to me, tears of joy would slip down my cheeks at the mere thought of knowing he was mine.
As we work on our fourth decade together, a million memories have paved the way to here. Of all those life events, it seems the most difficult ones define us. They’re the ones that proved the strength of our love and our commitment to our vows. We overcame huge losses and massive mistakes. We weathered blows to our collective hearts. He carried me when I didn’t think I could get through another day of sorrow. I’d have to say, in retrospect, those days were the best days of our lives. We were tested, and we made it through more in love than ever.
I have perspective when I say the joyful memories have outweighed the bad a thousand-to-one. The loving way he reaches for my hand; the way he walks on the outside of the sidewalk to protect me from harm; the way he tiptoes from our bedroom when I’m overly tired in the hope I’ll get a couple more hours of desperately needed sleep. The way he misses me when I step out of the room; the way he’s never complained about a single one of my trillion honey-do’s; the way he loves our daughter with an extraordinary tenderness that has never once wavered, not even for a moment. This is the stuff of which real love letters are comprised.
So, my Darlings, though I’ve long ago given up on anniversary cards and flowers and gifts as a way to say, “I love you”, know this love letter was sent to you to help you understand what it takes to build a meaningful life with the one you love. Trinkets, though often appreciated, are empty and inadequate ways to show love. They are incapable of doing much more than memorializing the true essence of long love affairs.
With mindfulness, and despite how the years will change your outward appearances, you will find your lover every bit as handsome, if not more gorgeous than the day you fell in love. That you will go to sleep each night with a song of love for them in your heart and their name, forever sweet, upon your lips. Undoubtedly, you will be forever grateful our God brought the two of you together.
Love changes us. It makes life worth living. Yesterday. Today. And for all our tomorrows. If you’re really looking for love to last, best to skip childish emoticons and learn, daily, to write your best Love Letter.
(I do not have permission to use this music.)