Life is not a witty romantic comedy, and marriage is not a happy ending wrapped up in a perfect little bow.
Love is complicated. And marriage is f*cking hard. That’s just the truth. There isn’t a Hallmark card for the wife who feels neglected and unappreciated or the husband who works two jobs to provide a life for his loved ones that he isn’t even able to enjoy himself. Life is messy and stressful and sometimes tortuous, which can make romance difficult at best.
But even though being a grown-up sucks most of the time, Valentine’s Day shouldn’t just be for the newly-impassioned lovers who are still swirling in their blissful ignorance. It should be for all of us—even when the passion has faded and the realities of adult love have dampened our spirits.
Patience is a virtue in marriage that is not often discussed. However, we should all be prepared for the strength it will take to survive from one passionate moment to the next. The stretches of time between these moments become longer and longer the more time we love one another, but that doesn’t have to be the case. There are moments in each day where we can be mindful of the spirit of the human being that we have tethered ourselves to, and take the time to nurture and adore one another.
Even more importantly, we must take the time to nurture and love ourselves, not letting the mundane take away our power and question our beauty and brilliance. It shouldn’t take an orchestrated, consumerist holiday to show us how magical we are. We should take the time, every single day.
The reality, though, is that we can all get tunnel vision at times, and we forget to show each other the love and passion that we deserve. But the knowledge of this and the understanding that comes from reflection is a mighty force. We can use that force to shape our lives and to find the magic again. What is important to remember is that every passionate, meaningful and beautiful moment we share with someone that we love is a gift—it is its own happy ending.
Marriage is not a single plot; it is a constant stream of consciousness with many story lines and plot twists. Each of these happy endings should be celebrated, every small moment of magic should be honored.
The following letter to my lover is one of reflection, to share the powers of my insight and to remind him that I am here—and I will always be here—no matter how long the spaces are between the moments of romantic bliss.
My Valentine’s Day advice is this: Skip the cliché abbreviated Hallmark card and choose to pause, reflect and write something from your heart. Your words will be cherished over the stock photos and romantic quotes of someone else. Put your soul into your words. There is no truer expression of love.
In the beginning, I was your obsession. You were consumed by thoughts of me, and in the moments that you were close enough to touch me, you were an insatiable lover.
Your embrace healed my broken soul. Your kiss awoke the goddess in me, who had lay dormant from years of abuse and neglect. I blossomed before you—no longer bound by the silently excruciating chains of my past. When we came together, time stood still.
The force of our love was so powerful that I was sure the entire universe looked on in breathless anticipation. I never knew that love, passion and sex could be such a powerful force. I was your fantasy in those days—your sexual goddess and you worshiped with reverent abandon. You were not timid or fearful of the power I possessed because you knew your own power. I worshiped you too, and the goddess explored the power in submission. We explored sex in ways we never even conceived—our open minds and ravenous appetites only fueling the fire between us. I was in awe that anything could burn so brightly, and I knew then that I had found my twin flame.
I know now that a brilliant fire such as ours cannot burn unattended forever.
Life, reality, has the power to dampen even the most luminous blaze. We built our home, our family and our marriage. Slowly, the fire has lost its brilliance. There are no more days spent exploring each other’s bodies, locked away in hotel rooms and shut out from the reality just outside our door.
Now, we are lucky to have a single moment alone—a stolen kiss, a shared shower, or a quick rendezvous in our closet are the best we can hope for. Your attention once wholly focused on me has turned toward the reality of your career and the unbelievable weight of supporting and nurturing a family. I have more love for you than I can ever express for the sacrifices that you make, and for the light and love you have brought into our lives.
This is the ebb and flow of life.
As our focus has shifted, the goddess has slowly retreated—reality a burden too great for her to bear. However, in the time between our carnal dalliances and our banal present, something incredible happened. I have learned to love myself. I see myself as you saw me in those early days, dazzling and beautiful. I no longer seek the validation that your touch inspired. I know now that my power comes not from your love of me, or from your nurturing of my tortured soul. It is within me.
It was always there but I was too broken to know my own strength, to know that my divine sexuality was intrinsic to my being.
I no longer need your touch, but I need you to know that I still hunger for it. When we find ourselves with a moment alone, I want you to come back to me. Look at me as you once did and stand in awe as the goddess reappears.
I am still that woman you once knew, thrilled by your touch. I can be both the madonna and the whore. I am your loving and devoted wife and mother to our children, but I am also your provocative, enticing siren. There is no need to separate the two. The goddess is a part of me and she always will be.
I still feel the thrill I felt the very first time your lips touched mine. Though we are now deeply rooted in the mundane, there is nothing ordinary about our love. The explosive force is still there, the embers waiting patiently to be stoked into their former glory. Ours is a passion which will never be extinguished, even though we are unaware at times of its existence. It does not need our acknowledgment to continue to burn.
The goddess is not gone. She has not been broken and she is not intimidated by our new reality. She is patiently awaiting your return.
Come back to me, my ardent and fervent lover. Reveal yourself in all of your glory when the universe opens up a space for us to burn brightly again—even if just for a moment.
I will be here, waiting.
Author: Ruthie Whiddon Lynch
Editor: Molly Murphy