As we get older, I think the meaning of Valentine’s Day stays with us, but many couples no longer need the confirmation of love with a gift. Couples who have been together for twenty, thirty, fifty years and more can find their love in other ways.
I’ve been married to the same man for 46 years and I can tell you there have been very few gifts coming my way on Valentines. On our first Valentine’s Day as a married couple I realized the man I’d married wasn’t going to be a man to try to impress me with gifts. We were in the Air Force living in Germany and were walking through the military complex on our way to the liquor store. I stopped in front of the window of a flower shop. He noticed, smiled and said something like, “You want a flower for Valentines?” I smiled big. He then stuck his hand in his pocket, pulled out some money and told me to go in and buy something for myself and he’d go to the other store. What?? Didn’t my new husband understand what Valentine’s meant? Obviously not.
Or maybe he did.
That day I went into the flower shop alone, pouting of course, and bought myself a pot plant. A croton. It lived in our small apartment and grew into a beautiful plant. Every time I watered it, I remembered that day on base and had to giggle. When we packed up to come back to the States, I had to leave my croton, but every once in a while, I’ll be reminded of that plant. Like that plant, our love grew during those years in Germany and beyond.
I no longer expect a gift on Valentines, but I did put my foot down one year and told him I expected to get at least a card. Now I do get a card on Valentines and on all other important days, but even without a card I know that love can be shown in many more meaningful ways. Sitting together in the quiet of an evening watching the water or the sunset, holding my hand in public, taking me fishing or dancing when I know he’d rather do something else, watching a romance on TV with me—little things that I cherish as gifts of love.
An expensive piece of jewelry would be nice to get someday, but do I need it? Nope. What I need and what most older couples need is the gift of being together with your Forever Friend and Love.
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