There has been a lot of discussion this week about marriage whether to allow gay marriages to be held in churches or at the other end of the spectrum the very public revelations of how the Huhne’s marriage broke down. I always think that when the latter is played out in the press it always makes one look at one’s own with a slightly more discerning eye and as we enter Valentine’s Day week it seems even more timely.
In most cases, including my own, marriage just rolls along at a pretty even pace and every now and then you are reminded how long it has been and how that is longer than the average life sentence for murder! However, like all marriages, there are those ‘toothpaste moments’ i.e. when you have a blow up about something very minor like leaving the lid off the toothpaste tube, a small irritation that is maybe shielding a more deep rooted problem. You need to be able to laugh at these moments and not let them blow out of all proportion but when you live very closely with someone for a long time it can be hard.
I remember I had a friend who very literally had a toothpaste moment and split up with his girlfriend of some years because she accused him of being wasteful with the toothpaste and not rolling up the tube as he used it. My friend realised that he and his girlfriend were not compatible and luckily someone came along and invented the pump dispenser so that this issue would not blight future relationships he had!
I approach Valentine’s Day with an enormous amount of scepticism as I regard it as a commercial venture however I accept that February is a very grey and depressing month so it is not just retailers and restauranteurs who are cheered by the embracing of this feast but for the rest of us it is a harmless day of loving fun! Having said this I will be disappointed if I am not given a traditional and very beautiful bouquet of red roses if a tad overpriced from my OH and I have already ordered one of Grace’s clever finds of the personalised wine stopper.
Meanwhile my focus has been on my two eldest children who have been down for the weekend and next Thursday is clearly a day of great expectation and possible disappointment. What happens if you are single, receive no cards or presents as those around you are inundated with red coloured gifts then surely it can be the worst of days highlighting an already accepted fact that you are on your own. My eldest daughter who is currently ‘resting’, i.e. has no serious boyfriend, is going to deal with the day by going out on a double date with 3 other single friends so that they look like Valentine couples. Meanwhile my eldest son, having witnessed a few more Valentines day is a little more reserved and whilst he knows there are restaurants turned over to singles nights which sounds to me a bit like a cattle market crossed with speed dating, I think he will be having an evening in and not wasting his money on an over-priced evening with someone that there is no hope of a relationship! Cynical possibly? Practical maybe?
It is a fact that this generation do not go out out on dinner dates as we did because most of their courting is conducted via text, Twitter or Facebook. They have long conversations, show their latest photos, update their statuses explaining how they feel, even announce the death of a relation or friend on these social media sites without even stepping outside their flat. They can conduct a ‘relationship’ without seeing each other or even speaking to each other. So this slightly takes the romance out of dating and maybe 14th February tries to inject that back into modern couples. Will they be sitting at their dinner tables checking their smartphones to see what and where their friends are up to, uploading photos of the meal they are having onto Twitter and later if their date did not rate them very highly they maybe receive a text dumping them! It’s a harsh world so will they ever get to marry and stay so for over 20 years enabling them to get annoyed with their OH for never drinking the tea that I make for him, or always having to re-wash the pans that he has apparently washed - just a few of my toothpaste moments!!
Meanwhile I have am also about to order one of the Peacock Pantry’s Valentine hampers with popcorn, chocolates, and a romantic film of my choice for a night in with my loved one and some face to face conversation!