My hubby and I are not big on Valentine’s Day.
Don’t get me wrong – there is a lot of romance in our marriage, but maybe that is why the day doesn’t have as much importance in our lives. We celebrate our love every day of the year. It certainly wasn’t always that way, in fact of our many years of marriage, I would say only the last few have been truly happy.
Much of the problem centered around my illnesses and his not being able to understand where my behavior was coming from. He couldn’t see that it wasn’t really directed at him and certainly wasn’t on purpose or in my control. Now that I am able to love myself, I am able to both show him love and accept it in return.
The biggest turning point was the passing of my father. He lived with us for the last four years of his life and I became his primary caregiver, which was by no means an easy task physically, and even more emotionally. When Dad was no longer here it left a void that was bigger than either of us imagined.
First, I didn’t know what to do with myself because I no longer had to be there for him 24/7/365. Well, actually it was 23/7 as he had a care worker come in one hour each day to get him cleaned, dressed and fed each morning. He could have had more care but didn’t want it. He couldn’t see that it was as much (or more) for me than it was for him. My father had been hard on me all my life – I never felt good enough for him and as he showed signs of dementia he became more difficult. I felt beaten up emotionally as each day passed whether he was here in our house or at the hospital.
I didn’t seem to have a minute to myself and this meant I also didn’t seem to have much time for my hubby. He already felt the burden of my bipolar and other conditions between us and now I would have to interrupt our short evening time together to help Dad get ready for bed. And heaven forbid I was a minute too late or early so I was constantly getting up to check on him.
This was also taking a toll on my physical and mental self. I was pushing myself beyond my own health boundaries because Dad didn’t want to share me with anything or anyone. Everyone would tell me how well I was looking after my Dad…except my Dad.
His passing should have taken the strain off our marriage, but it didn’t. At least not for awhile. In fact, it almost imploded. I felt like he should be comforting me through my grief and my health. He was tired of doing this and not getting anything in return. He felt shut out, unloved and didn’t think this was ever going to change.
We were at the point where neither of us had the energy or desire to try anymore. We were ready to call it quits but neither wanted to be the one to leave. We lived in the same house, but that was the extent of it. I think the one thing that got us through that was the fact we had been friends for a lot longer than we had been married.
Then something happened. I woke up to the fact that I was an “adult orphan”. I no longer had to live up to the perceived expectations of my parents. My mother had been gone 17 years and my Dad one and I was still acting as if I was living under their rules. I could finally be me – I could finally be Lydia and I was going to have a great time finding out who that was.
My hubby didn’t buy into this changed self at first. He still saw me as the crazy woman and didn’t want to see anything else. But I won him over finally. I liked who I was – I could even for the first time say I loved me – and slowly he came around to seeing the changes as well.
It was like we were starting over, getting to know each other and falling in love again…or maybe for the first time because I am not sure either one of us really knew what love was before that. These last years have not gone without a few bumps in the road, but they are few and far between. We deal with them and move on.
I hired a life coach who has been amazing in showing me how to obtain my true potential in all aspects of my life, self, and marriage. With all the psychiatrists, psychologists and counselors I have had in my life, she is the only one who has tapped into my true being.
My faith has been strengthened as well. I know that I have come through a lot of challenges only by the grace of our Father in Heaven. He knew before I was born what my purpose in this would be and He has been molding me for that all my life. And I am ready for anything He wants me to do.
So how did we spend Valentines Day? I am still in a major pain flare and so spent most of it on codeine and asleep. I did make him a steak dinner and heated up some Chinese food for myself. We went for our normal dinner out on Sunday, but nothing special, just our usual restaurant. I am allergic to most flowers, especially roses, chocolate gives me migraines and we NEVER go to dinner on the day because of the crowds. Hubby had made me our gluten/egg/dairy-free version of French toast a couple of days before for breakfast (it is actually very delicious – more so than it sounds). But he would have done that even if it wasn’t Valentine’s Day.
So as you can see, for many years Valentine’s didn’t have meaning because we didn’t feel loved by the other the rest of the year and now we celebrate it every day and will for the rest of our lives. We take our love and our lives one day at a time and enjoy each and every minute of it.