I'll be honest, after 15 years with the same man, I don't get too anticipatory about Valentines Day. This isn't a slam, or saying that he is poor at gift giving, or anything of that nature. It is more a growth in my view of our relationship that doesn't come down to the test that Valentines Day can become.
In our day and age, a lot of what we know and learn about relationships comes from what we see. And I'm not talking about from our parents. Lets face it, most of us learned a LOT of things from TV and movies, and from Glamour and Cosmopolitan. We had Sex and the City, Friends, When Harry Met Sally as our relationship guides. We see tiny problems wrapped up and fixed in 30 minutes, longer and bigger problems may take 90, and a "R" rating. The issues work out, the relationships succeed and fail in a perfected cadence that falls in line with the next episode or scene. The men are who we feel really exist, the women who we want to be. Sadly, I think we forget it is all scripted. It is planned out and well written. Written as we would have our "best life" scenarios exist. But life is the farthest thing from scripted. It's a crap-shoot.
Media, in all forms, presents us many times with what I call, "Prime rib and Lobster" relationships. The communication is aged to perfection, the foreplay is broiled Lobster tail perfect, and the sex is Dom Perignon mind blowing. This, especially in our teens and 20's, is what we believe real relationships look and function like. The reality is, ESPECIALLY after kids, the majority of your relationship is of the "Mac and Cheese" variety. They are the weeks, maybe months, of creamy goodness punctuated occasionally with Prime Rib. This is not a complaint rather an observation. Some days it may be generic Mac and Cheese, others the home made variety. There is nothing wrong with Mac and Cheese. It is fulfilling, comforting, and yummy. The problems arise when you are continually coming to the table bringing your prime rib wishes to yet find another bowl of Mac and Cheese. With the continual expectation of a Prime Rib and Lobster relationship, you miss the the miracle of how hard inedible pasta magically becomes a soft, comfort food when added to water. You miss the mystery of how powdered cheese doesn't actually contain cheese. You miss the rebellion of deciding to add 3 tablespoons of butter, and not two. You miss the messiness of a boiling over pot, staining the burner pans that remain no matter how hard you scrub. You miss the change in the wooden spoon, as its edges slowly soften from years of mixing noodles and ingredients.
Some of the greatest love stories I know of who make total box office bombs. A snooze to read, because they are love stories created out of years of Mac and Cheese days. Comfort, security, and a choice to love, (even when you want to throw the pot at his head) are pretty boring if you were looking inward. They would make for horrible cinematic features. We tend to thrive on the drama, miscommunication and misinterpret signal. We want everything to get messed up so that it can work out, over prime rib and lobster.
After all, who ever heard of making up over Mac and Cheese?