We wondered, how will Valentine’s Day be for you? We hope it’s good. As we looked at the history of Valentine’s Day, one legend says it was pretty tough for Valentine, a priest who lived in the third century. Emperor Claudius II decreed soldiers couldn’t marry because they wouldn’t be as strong.
Valentine defied the decree and continued to marry soldiers. He was imprisoned. While there, he fell in love with the jailor’s daughter. Before his execution, he wrote a love note to her and signed it, “From your Valentine.” That’s a sad ending to a love story, but a wonderful tradition of celebrating love followed! Later the Catholic Church made Valentine a saint.
Not every love story is tragic, but every time people choose to love, there’s risk. Maybe you learned this lesson early in life, as I did. I (Lynn) dated someone and thought it was love. It didn’t end well and I was hurting. I told mom that I never wanted to risk loving again!
I still remember my wise mother quoting Alfred Lord Tennyson, "'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all." She also added that when I knew what real love is, I would be glad for all the learning on the way. Doug and I have been married many years now and it was well worth the wait.
Have you ever “loved and lost”? It really hurts, doesn’t it? This can happen when relationships don’t work out well and even when there’s a death. And it takes courage to risk loving again. When we lose people, or even pets that we love, it can be hard to want to try again.
What happens is that we link a good feeling (the love) to a bad feeling (the loss). It’s easy to remain in limbo and sit on the fence with these two forces acting at odds with each other. Being stuck without a good relationship can be a sad situation, but there’s something else that can also happen.
People can stay in a bad relationship, or even an abusive one, if they believe that there is nothing better for them. Sometimes they even begin to believe that they deserve what’s happening to them. With professional help, they may be able to make important changes so they can feel love again. If the relationship is abusive and nothing changes, hopefully, they would have the courage to leave and the courage to love again in the future.
Once out of a bad relationship and meeting a person of interest, it’s important to not project the negative past onto the new relationship. Caution and time to get to know themselves and what it’s like to be in a solid, trusting relationship can help improve chances for real lasting love.
So, what does it take to have good, loving relationships?
We wanted to find a couple to share about their good marriage and the risk it takes to love. We met a wonderful couple from Glencoe, Craig and Fran Rausis Exsted. We asked them about the courage it takes to love. Fran said, “It’s a process that never ends. Expanding and learning about how to open my heart.”
Craig shared, “For me I feel it’s a natural process to want to love. It’s in our being to do that. I’m very grateful for the six years we’ve had together.”
Craig and Fran told us that before marrying, they took a couple years to get to know each other. “Yes,” Craig chimed in, “Love is patient. Love is kind.” And then he laughed as he added, “Love is testing.”
We discussed how love gets tested through tough times. We could see that they work through those times and have a very loving relationship.
The Beatles would have us believe what's in their song, "All You Need is Love." Sounds great, but in addition to love, it takes a whole lot more qualities such as: honesty, faith, respect, patience, kindness, good communication and commitment to keep love alive.
What about you? How are your relationships and what would make it a wonderful Valentine’s Day for you?
Some thoughts: To have a great Valentine’s Day, celebrate the good relationships and love in your life. You may enjoy letting others know you care for them. It isn’t just about romantic love; it’s also about appreciation.
Love yourself and don’t depend on someone else to make your Valentine’s Day wonderful. You are special, so celebrate you, too! And we ask you, “Will you be our Valentine?”