According to Wikipedia, lovers began exchanging small tokens and sending the first valentines in 18th century England. We bought into this idea, and Hallmark has been capitalizing on it ever since.
On Episode 15 of "Connected," I went all out celebrating Valentine's Day. I slaved in the kitchen for hours to make one hell of a home-cooked meal. I also decorated the apartment with balloons and covered the windows with hearts. And as a special added touch, I even wore a headband with little spring hearts attached. You ask why did I do this? Well, I did it all for love.
Ah love!! Remember the rush of emotions you felt when you saw your new lover for the first time? That magnetic, undeniable attraction? That feeling is driven by oxytocin!
Oxy-what? Oxytocin is known as the bonding hormone that creates the feeling of romantic attraction. For those of us who are lucky enough to feel this emotion, it is intoxicating.
Until it isn't.
After about two years or so, this feeling tends to fade away. You start questioning your relationship. Do you still love each other? Sure, of course. But the passion and the rush of emotions becomes a bit harder to replicate from when you first met.
Oxytocin is the same hormone new mothers produce when they give birth. This literally wires a mom to love their newborn no matter what, even if they look like Chewbacca. Everything the baby does is adorable. Whether he or she burps, farts, spits up on you -- it's all just oh so cute!
Then comes the terrible twos... Well isn't that coincidental, that they get terrible just in conjunction with the oxytocin wearing off. Nature gave us this chemical so that when a man and woman procreate there is a nesting period. This is to ensure that a women can "keep" the man around until the baby is able to at least walk on its own.
That is why you have to take the time to study love like a subject in school. And learn how to expand on the subject. You can understand how to keep the spark alive even when nature takes away our glorious little chemical. It's going the extra mile to do something special for your partner.
I have been in relationships where we've made an agreement to not buy each other gifts, no matter the occasion. But what we actually did was make an agreement to not celebrate our love!
This, I found, is in actuality a recipe for disaster. I didn't get my boyfriend Josh anything for Valentine's Day, but what I did give him was a little extra effort. I went out of my way to SHOW him that I love him. That's all people need -- a kind and loving gesture that makes them feel loved.
We all have different ways we need to be loved. A note on your love's car before they go to work can go a long way. In the book "The 5 Love Languages," the author tell us how to show your partner affection by speaking their love language. There are five: quality time, words of affirmation, gifts, touch, and acts of service.
Usually people have a strong combination of two, and then one that creeps in and out, but isn't a must in their relationship. My love language is definitely words of affirmation and acts of service, as well as touch in smaller doses.
Along with knowing and communicating what you need, it's also important to learn your partner's love language. If you think you are loving your partner with gifts, but what that person really needs is quality time, you are going to run into trouble.
Love is a science! Yes it's patient and yes it's kind, but it's also something that's changing every day. And if you want that long-lasting, loving relationship, you need to learn to study yourself and your partner. As long and far as your love life goes.
Speak your partner's love language, because learning it is the most important conversation your heart will need to have. And most importantly, don't wait until Valentine's Day to speak it!