18 February 2009

I'm a little late, and a lot anti-valentine...

As everyone knows, this last weekend was Valentine's Day. Now I'm in a happy and healthy relationship, and have been for a number of years, but I'm still more of the school of anti-Valentine's parties and Valentine's sucks cards. One year I made anti-Valentine cookies with a friend - they were cookies decorated with broken and bleeding hearts and messages of hatred and gloom. It was one of my favorite Valentine's Days ever.

However, that sort of thing is less appropriate when one is happily married, so GeekDad and I celebrated our Valentine's with our first dinner out without BabyA. I've written here before about how much work it is to eat out with a Baby, but I really had forgotten how NICE it is to be able to eat an entire meal without handing out crackers and making funny faces and wiping mush from a little face. I love my daughter, but I REALLY enjoyed my meal out. This was the first time in a long time GeekDad and I were able to have a conversation, and not just talk, and I was reminded how lucky I am to be with someone who gets me.

Which brings me to the actual topic of this post. It's been on my mind quite a bit lately, probably because of all the Valentine's hoopla, and also a conversation I heard on CBC radio, and another I had with my Seester. We were talking last week about relationships, and marriage, and babies, and one of the things we discussed was how I found it very frustrating in the churches I attended was this annoying emphasis on finding THE RIGHT ONE. There's this whole movement where you are supposed to pray that God will bring the right person into your life, which I think is really problematic. First, I'm not a believer in the whole idea of soul-mates, which is really what THE RIGHT ONE means. I don't think there is one person with whom you are compatible. There are people with whom you are more compatible, and people with whom you are less so. But relationships, and marriage, if that's for you, is about finding one of those compatible people, and then working your ass off at becoming the RIGHT ONE for them.

Because relationships are work - a lot of work. You start with getting used to co-habitating with someone, with all those things that are fun, but also all those annoying habits, and differences in handling meals, and chores, and even in how you communicate. And then you add in all those stressful life events, like the death of loved ones, and moving to a new house or a new city, and losing a job, and finding a new one. Throw a kid or two into the mix, and things get even tougher. And you start to see how this person handles stress, and whether they remember to keep talking to you, and sometimes you talk to each other, and sometimes you just let each other rest, so you can actually handle talking to each other again. You get angry, you get frustrated, you get sad.

But you also work at finding ways to take care of this person, this partner. You learn when to make them talk, and when to just let them be, to sleep, or think, or get their mind to a different place. You think about ways to show them you love them, whether it's little or big. You find ways to make their family happy, because you know it makes them happy. And you talk and fight and make love and compromise and WORK. And if you're lucky, they do all those things for you too. And somewhere down the road, you discover that you haven't found the right one, you've become the right one, and this person has become your right one, because of all the work and love and talking and fighting and compromise.

I think this is why I'm not such a fan of Valentine's Day, because it seems more about infatuation than love. The gestures of Valentine's Day are nice, but they are peanuts beside all those things that really make a relationship work. And the truth is that you don't find a Valentine, you make one. Don't get me wrong, I totally get that even finding someone with whom you are compatible and who feels the same way about you is hard, and not really fun, and can absolutely suck alot of the time. But I think if people were allowing themselves to look for someone they could work at a relationship with, and not magically have a relationship with, it might be just a little bit easier.

I am so lucky, because my partner in geekdom, my GeekDad, knows from work. He does all of these things, the love and the talking and the work, for me, and inspires me to do these things for him. And I hope that with alot of work and a little luck and just buckets and buckets of love, we will continue to work at being the right one for each other. So I won't wish him or you a happy Vaalentine's Day. I'll say to my GeekDad - I love you, and thank you for everything. And I will wish all of you the joy of a labour of love!

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