Google has posted a very sweet picture as their logo for Valentine's day. It shows an older couple dancing into their future together. He holds a cane up in the air, as if he hardly needs it - of course it could be a staff of wisdom or your basic happy phallic symbol, your choice. She holds some heart shaped balloons - could that be hope, which floats as we all know, or simply high spirits? (1) This sweet little drawing reminds us that love is great and good at any age. Bless the (mostly young) folks at Google for reminding us of that.
What do we look for in love? More than simple romance, I hope. Whether we are gay or straight, most of us are looking for something long term and loving people we can count on. If we want to stay together for more than a weekend we need to know how to fight fair. Take a look at that drawing of the older couple again. Do you see them carrying baggage? That's because they let that all that stuff go. They carry the essentials in one hand, and hold their partner's hand with the other. That's how love thrives.
Are you holding on to anger or resentments today? Here is a simple ritual for taking stock and letting go. Maybe it's time.
Or perhaps it's time to leave? Studies show that women tend to stay in relationships years longer then they really wish to. In many cases, it is because we are afraid to be on our own, or have real world concerns about caring for our kids, finding decent health care or reentering the workforce.
As long as we deny people affordable childcare, health care and housing and as long as we make it difficult for them to re-train or find good jobs, or have access to safe birth control methods, then they are stuck in place. And isn't that just what certain controlling, religious fanatics have always done to women? Change is a radical act, gentle readers, and loving someone as an equal, worthy of our respect - whether they are the same or the opposite sex - is a big step on the road towards changing us both personally and culturally. As Annie Laurie Gaylor askes:
Why should women--and the men who honor women--respect and support religions which preach women's submission, which make women's subjugation a cornerstone of their theology?
And I'll ask this question today of our community: Why do Pagan men and women, who celebrate the connection between the sacred and themselves, still tolerate bad or abusive behavior from their partners? And how to we help them to heal their wounds and go on to choose partners who will treat them as they deserve?
So today, I would like to celebrate the kind of love that goes beyond roses and chocolate, the kind that supports us, cherishes our best self, forgives us our faults and laughs along with us.
My thanks to Sheri and Bob's Marriage Blog at About.com for referring folks to this post. Check out their site for some excellent links they have posted today on Tips For A Long Lasting Marriage & Forgiveness and Letting Go.
(1) There is nothing a Pagan like me enjoys so much as deconstructing symbols.
Hearts and Flowers: Reclaiming Valentine's Day
Spiral Steps Support Groups