Archive for Thursday, February 16, 2006

Romance a 365-day commitment

February 16, 2006

The meaning of true love is hard to define. Everyone has an idea of what it is and should be. Man's search for true love knows no bounds. We all have read and heard of countless stories of the things people do in search of this priceless commodity.

What exactly is true love and how does one measure it? And what exactly is the definition of true love? The Bible describes it as the act of laying down one's life for another. That is also referred to as the greatest act of love.

I don't know many of us who personally know of someone who has literally given up his or her lives for another. While acts of heroism and special extenuating circumstance might make someone do that, it's not a common trait.

This past Valentine's Day, I noticed the bombardment of advertisements for individuals to express their love in gifts. Failing to do so was implied as a failure by the individual to affirm the love.

Interestingly, the failures were most often referred to men. Why men get such a bad rap on Valentine's Day is beyond me. Buying your loved one diamonds or flowers does not in any manner affirm the love. To me, that's almost a "cop out" for what I think true love means. I'm sure you have noticed how everything gets a little bit more pricey on Valentine's Day.

It's been a long time since I have gone out to eat on Valentine's Day. The atmosphere is so non-intimate. You are seated in a packed restaurant and are able to hear the conversations all around you. How is that romantic? Unfortunately, these are the standards that define the romantic nature in a guy.

Over the years, I have learned that true love cannot be bought with flowers or diamonds. It doesn't make a man any less of a person if he does not indulge in these activities. I'm almost convinced that Valentine's Day is a "cop-out" day for many who don't understand or are willing to take what it takes to make true love happen.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not against Valentine's Day. I think it's fun and should be acknowledged for what it recognizes. I'm just disappointed that many people make that single day the focal point of their expression of love.

I say it's a "cop-out" day because it is generally accepted that a man can "penance" his unromantic trait by indulging in all the material stereotypes on that day. That is a shame because in any relationship, true love, or just plain love deserves more than a single day of special attention.

My parents recently celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary. I marvel at how they were able to make it work, considering the first time my parents talked for any length of time was on their wedding day. You have to believe that there was a lot of work put in that relationship to make it last that long. All the changes they had to make and learn to put up with each other's quirks, while still staying committed, could not have been salvaged with gifts just on Valentine's Day. They stayed the course by working at it.

My dad is not any less of a man because he didn't take my mom out every Valentine's Day or buy her jewelry. Instead, he showered his affection throughout the year. He would bring back small gifts when he traveled, got her jewelry when he saw something he liked, and once a month, the whole family went out to eat at my mom's favorite restaurant.

I've come to understand that true love truly involves a lot of work. It is about the way you look at your relationship over the long course. It entails the things we bring into a relationship each day. The sacrifices, the laughter, the fights, the intimate moments, the procrastination, the nagging, the joy of each other's company and the many things we face in our daily lives. These work together to bring a couple closer in the pursuit of true love. It's not easy, but it's worth every bit of it when you stay the course with your soul mate and find yourself, a half-decade later, with your true love by your side.

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