Valentine’s day has come and gone and I’m sure it made a lot of people happy, but it also left some feeling sad and lonely. I must admit I used to really get into the whole concept of needing to get a big Valentine heart filled with chocolates and a romantic card filled with loving accolades. I still find it a lovely day to spend with the one I love, but divorce, maturity on my part, and a deeper understanding of what love means has given me a different perspective about Valentine’s Day.
I really want to work on everyday being a Valentine Day. That probably sounds foolish on some level, but if we truly believe in the fact that to love and be loved is the metaphor of the Valentine message than trying to have it on a daily basis is not that farfetched.
We bandy the word love about to describe a myriad of things we enjoy. “I love chocolate, movies, eating out, going on a vacation, sleeping in, and on and on. How often have you heard people say those things? But “real” love is not about the aforementioned. They’re really about things that delight. I can delight in a variety of things. To love requires a host of ingredients.
Scientists have discovered one of the ingredients by studying prairie voles. “The prairie vole is special for having pair bonding with its partner. The male has a continuous contact with its female, which lasts for all of their lives. If the female prairie vole dies, the male does not look for a new partner. Moreover, this constant relationship is more social than sexual. For this bonding to occur, the male must stay one day with the female after they breed. “
The outcome of this study is related to the hormones oxytocin and vasopressin. Human beings have the same propensity. When we touch, and cuddle we release these hormones which help to bond us. Does this all sound like “too much information”. On the contrary I find it fascinating. Love needs touching and hugging to sustain it.
Touch is an important facet, but there are also a list of other ingredients which help couples stay in right relationship to one another. The following traits have been designated to be a critical part of a lasting relationship by the Gottman Institute, leading researchers in the field of sustainable partnerships. Individuals who have endured the ups and downs of long-term relationships have strong friendships, trust, make allowances for each others foibles, create and help to foster each others dreams, use admiration instead of contempt ,manage conflict, have a shared value system, and nurture one another through gratitude and positive messages. And for me one of the most important is to learn to laugh together often!