“He who has no house will not build one now. He who is alone will be alone for some time. Will be wakeful, will read, will write long letters and will wander restlessly along the lanes when the leaves fall.” – Rainer Maria Rilke (originally in German “Herbsttag”)
I had a discussion about “husband” with a friend the other day. She told me that it felt odd to be married. What is a husband, anyway? As the author André Alex questions: is it someone with whom you have a relationship, a relationship that evolves because time passes and one changes? I would answer: Certainly. But in some way, I could say the same thing about a house or a dog, even (if only instinctively), I feel that a husband is more than a house or more than a dog. So my question is: Is a husband desire or love? Desire and love are way too inconstant to make anything at all, right?! I mean it in the sense that today, for example, my version of love and desire may include my husband, but tomorrow it may not. The next day they will, and then they will not. She did not want to continue the conversation further and switched to “Valentine’s Day” and what to buy for her husband.
“Then things become all at once strange”– Margaret Laurence, The Diviners
Today, I had the most amazing dinner-date at a local Italian restaurant with my five-year-old son whom I love so much. As far as relationships, I believe, a partner does not need to be a constant presence, a shadow, or a version of myself but rather an equal, not an idea, a nuisance or habit to fix or constantly nourish (a project), but rather someone who can challenge me on an intellectual level, a shoulder to lean on, someone who has no fear of change, has confidence, spontaneously invites me to a romantic dinner, has good and not only one-sided conversations with me, plans a fancy night out but is also comfortable talking on the couch with a cup of tea, has good emotional intelligence, has a sense of self awareness, someone who can make me laugh and has similar goals and dreams, invites to spontaneous bookstore dates and at the bookstore comes up with the idea to pick a book for each other – that element of serendipity and then we go out for dinner to talk about all things bookish. Someone who is curious and is willing to read aloud to me (especially when I cannot sleep). The basics. In my head, a couple is made up of two opposites, centered around some passion and attraction that mystery causes. Both are curious about and drawn to each other because of their dissimilarities to ourselves. In a healthy relationship, I am fascinated by my counterpart, and I can learn a lot by spending time together. If I do not feel this, I have to move on. Firstly and more important, however, is self-love and the relationship I have with myself before I can fully open up to someone else.
In addition, it is important to learn to argue properly. We all get annoyed and stressed out from time to time. We can be nagging, grumpy, irritated, stressed out or all of the above simultaneously. No couple is perfect, even if some try to make us believe it by posting “happy couple” pictures on Facebook or Instagram. The key is to argue in style with no tension left afterward. No name-calling, no dishes throwing. I want to add to also be apologizing and forgiving. This way it is easy to move on. The air is clean. Overall, having the same rhythm is more important than I often realized. Going to the gym together, or climbing, or jogging. Having the same sleep/read cycle or how both get inspired by the same author. Whatever it may be for you; just feel the same beat. And if you don’t, then sometimes leaving is the only reasonable thing to do and to give energy to relationships that are deserving of it instead of draining.
I celebrate Valentine’s Day every day so this day has no significance to me. But it is 9.45 pm on the actual Valentine’s Day and if you are freaking out because you do not have anything for the love of your life or you forgot this day altogether, I have some emergency tips for you to make up for it tomorrow. (Him/Her = Them)
Take them for a long walk to reconnect. Look at things together. Go to a museum. Talk. Laugh. Get coffee or tea. Surprise them with a little gift just because it is NOT Valentine’s Day anymore. Read together or to each other. Suggest and start a project together, i.e. train for the half-marathon or any other adventure. Sit them down on the kitchen counter. Pour them a glass of wine and kiss. Put on some Jazz. Cook dinner. Repeat every two weeks. SHOW them you love them. Telling is not enough. Give them a “Sunday”: A whole day carefully planned, no kid(s), Spa, brunch, wine and a movie at night on the couch. Be generous: with money, with matters of the heart and with time. Conquer the world together.