Intimate love — 15 February 2010
Make every day a lover’s day

Today is Valentine’s Day- Lovers’ Day. Every February 14th we acknowledge our beloved with flowers, candy, presents, cards and a celebratory meal. It is a day to lavish and be lavished with words and acts of love. What a wonderful celebration. If only we can take this message of tenderness, recognition and joy and express it regularly throughout the year.

This holiday is named after Saint Valentine, a third century Roman priest, who one legend credits with continuing to marry young lovers in secret defying Emperor Claudius II outlawing marriage for young men to make them better soldiers. When discovered, St. Valentine was put to death. What a tragic fate for a Priest who sanctified love.

Many famous love stories in history and literature have elements of disapproval, struggle, feuds, secrecy, sacrifice and tragedy. Perhaps the power of love in face of grave hardships has always captivated our admiration for those whose passion has conquered all odds.

One true love story of two powerful Egyptians, Antony and Cleopatra, who married despite the fact that their love affair enraged the Romans, ended up tragically. While fighting the Romans, Antony was falsely told that Cleopatra died. In his distress, he fell upon his sword. Cleopatra took her own life when she heard of the loss of Antony. This story was dramatized by William Shakespeare and is still popular.

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert is another true story of love, partnership and grief. The Queen of England married her cousin, Prince Albert, who was initially unpopular due to his German ancestry. However, he became her confidante, supporter and eventually earned the people’s respect for his honesty and hard work. The couple was happy and had nine children. When Prince Albert died, Queen Victoria was inconsolable and did not appear in public for three years. She deeply grieved for her husband and wore only black for the next forty years until her own death.

Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, is still a classic tale. The teenagers, who loved and married despite their feuding families’ disapproval, ironically reunited their relatives subsequent to their tragic deaths. In “Gone with the wind” Scarlet O’Hara and Rhett Butler stormy marriage has been an all time classic, depicting intense emotions of love, passion and uncertainty. The stories are numerous and the greater the hurdles of love, the more interest they evoke.

So, if we treasure real life and fictional stories of struggles for love, why do we not celebrate our own with gusto? Why do so many partners despair and part –rather than heroically fight for their love and union?

Valentine’s Day can serve us as a great yearly reminder of how we should love and cherish each other every day.

• Wake up every day with a positive thought about your partner.
• Tell your mate daily how much you appreciate one of his/her special ways, help, caring, qualities, traits or mere essence.
• Take one minute each day to remind yourself one reason why you fell in love with your partner and tell yourself, “And I still feel this way.”
• Ask yourself every day “How can I be of help to my beloved?” If you are unsure- ask your spouse “How can I help you now?”
• Think about what gift you can give your lover that will spark his/her day by knowing he/she is loved. It does not have to be a purchased item.
• Smile often, touch, hug, kiss, embrace, look into your loved one’s eyes with warmth and approval in your heart.
• Accept your mate’s being as he/she is. Never start a sentence with “If you only….”
• Bring flowers for brightening the day- not only for special occasions.
• Send or write notes of love and support, appreciation or encouragement on a regular basis.
• Celebrate your mutual love often. It is your greatest treasure in life.

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About Author

Offra Gerstein, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in clinical practice in Santa Cruz, California for over 25 years, and specializes in relationship issues for couples and individuals for improved quality of life. Her work includes: mate selection, marriage, long term relationships, gay and lesbian couples, work relationships, parenting issues, family interactions, friendships, and conflict resolutions. Offra has lectured extensively to various groups, conducted support groups for several organizations, and has been writing a weekly column "Relationship Matters" for the Santa Cruz Sentinel since 2001.

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