Monday, February 14, 2011

I Know Today is Valentine's Day, But Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?

Most people I know would shudder in horror at the thought of an arranged marriage. The pragmatic streak in me, though , can see the benefits of employing a gaggle of busy aunties to make matches. They usually have extensive knowledge of all parties involved, including factors such as age, reputation, interests, occupation -- even native language. With all this information at hand, tapping into The Auntie Network is almost like insider trading.

By contrast, the "love match" involves relying on a certain set of physical symptoms to determine if two people are well-suited to one another. These include:

  • Racing heart
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Flushed cheeks
  • Changes in appetite
  • Loss of sleep
  • Jumping on couches
Taken together, these symptoms normally signal a need for the emergency room (or at least medication). However, during courtship, we consider these to be positive indicators for potential happiness.

Seeing as it's Valentine's Day, far be it from me to humbug any method that brings two hearts together. I had a love match, and here I am nearly 11 years, 3 kids, 4 dogs, and 19 goldfish later with the same excellent man. On the other hand, one of my cousins had an arranged marriage. He was instructed one day to meet his family for lunch at one of the swankier hotels in Seoul. When he arrived, he received the surprise of his life as he was handed a suit and told that a woman was waiting for him at the altar in the next room. He's been married longer than I.

[Editorial note: The author has omitted a lesser known but widely accepted marriage practice. It is an amalgam of the aforementioned methods, commonly referred to as the "shotgun wedding." This is a type of arranged marriage that results from a love match. This strategy chiefly benefits the bride's father, who for a small investment in bullets, realizes either a son-in-law or a new wall trophy. End note]
No, this is the point I have been driving toward. I think even people in the best of relationships experience annoying or even hurtful moments. These moments usually occur after one's heart has stopped beating erratically (or the blue pills have run out) and all the aunties have gone home. In these instances, one makes the conscious decision to love or not to love.

Being somewhat thick, it's taken me nearly a decade of marriage to understand that love is not an emotion. It is an activity. Fortunately, just like any activity such as running, painting, or extreme ironing, it can be practiced. Also, the more we do it, the more proficient we become.

***Big-time Cheese Alert***
Today, in honor of V-Day, I would like to commit to practicing -- no, to being love.
I will be longsuffering, patient, and kind (even when my children are not).
I will not be envious or boil over with jealousy because my needs are met. I am content with what I have, and I can be happy for others.
I will not be boastful or vainglorious or display myself haughtily (even though everyone knows that I'm perfect!!! HA!)
I will not be conceited, rude, or act unbecomingly, especially toward waiters and cashiers.
I will not insist on my own rights or my own way (or mutter nasty names when someone flies through the 4-way intersection when I got there first) because I am not self-seeking.
I am not touchy or fretful or resentful, all qualities my husband will appreciate.
I will pay no attention to a suffered wrong. I won't even hold my breath and smile while secretly hoping the universe crashes in on that person.
I will not rejoice at injustice or unrighteousness, but I will rejoice when right and truth prevail. So long, schadenfreude!
I will bear up under anything and everything that comes. I have the grace to do this.
I will be ever ready to believe the best of every person, including that driver on the cell phone who just cut me off. My hopes are fadeless under all circumstances.
I will endure everything without weakening because Love never fails. Amen.
My third-grader made today's art for me.
He calls it Heart of Hearts.


Teri said... [Reply]

Awesome Julie :-)

John said... [Reply]

Happy Valentine's Day, my dear. Your love is what binds our family together!

Jodi said... [Reply]

Wishing for all of you happy days full of love!

Julie said... [Reply]

Thank you all! And a Happy Valentine's Day to you, too!

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