Love Notes

Friday, February 12, 2010

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I have two friends, one Virgo and one Libra, that I frequently refer to as the little angel and little devil on my shoulders (though they have a habit of swapping places).  They are my very closest and longest lasting friendships, close enough to call sisters.  I don't know what it is… something about those September girls.  
Now, one of my sisters loves Valentine's Day so much that she swoons at the mere mention of it.  She is in love with love.  The other, however, hates, hates, hates it.  In her mind, it's a sell-out ridiculous holiday, primarily celebrated to keep Hallmark in the black.  (I dare you to guess which one is which, based only on their signs. ;)  I can see her point.  I can see both of their points, actually, which is why I'm always the middle child.  And so, much to the wistful joy of the one, and the undoubted chagrin of the other, I have decided to go ahead and buy into this Hallmark holiday, and do a little blog in honor of Valentine's Day.  This is not the kind of thing I would normally do.  I've never been much of a girly-girl.  But I am sentimental, and more of a romantic at heart than I sometimes like to admit.  So, I figured, what the hell?  I've gone through my share of love and heartache, and I've learned a few things.  Here's what I know.

Care and Feeding of Your Love Life:

1.    Be honest.  I have learned this the hard way.  Lies of any kind, on any level, breed mistrust in relationships and will keep you from ever having the truly connected, truly transcendent relationship that most all of us are really looking for.  If you want to be close and you want something real, you have to be naked, at least mentally and emotionally (though the physical kind doesn't hurt).  ;)

2.    Know yourself.  You cannot be truly honest and truly yourself if you don't know yourself.  Get in touch with you before even attempting to get in touch with another.  If you're already in a relationship, take some time on a regular basis to spend with yourself.  Journal, do something creative, or take yourself out.  Whatever you do, do not let yourself get out of touch with who you are, your desires, your fears, your principles.  You are the most important relationship you have.  And the more you know yourself, the better you can communicate who you are to your partner.  If your partner doesn't know you, he or she can never really love you.

3.    Communicate with your partner.  This may seem like a 'duh' point, but so many working couples lose touch with each other, "like ships passing in the night," as they say.  That's when things start to fall apart.  On a very regular basis, you must touch base and reconnect with your significant other.  You have to take time to talk about life, where you've been, where you are, and where you're going.  If you're going to be in a relationship, you must be in your relationship.

4.    Be a good listener.  Again, not always as easy as it sounds.  When your partner is talking, it is imperative that you give them your full attention, or let them know you're distracted with whatever right now and when you'll be able to really focus on what they've got to say.  This, of course, goes back to communication and honesty, but just because you can talk doesn't mean you know how to listen.  Make sure you're putting just as much effort into both.

5.    Be passionate.  At every stage of a relationship, whether it's just getting to know each other, seriously dating, or 30 years into your marriage, showing your beloved how and why they spark up your life is essential.  What do you love about them?  What attracts you to them?  What about this person sends shivers down your spine and makes you never want to let go?  Share it, show it, never let them forget it.

Before I leave you (you thought it was over, didn't you?), in true firespark fashion, I feel compelled to share with you some of my favorite romantic books.  Most of these are not listed in the 'romance' section, as that's a genre I generally avoid.  They do, however, portray my idea of love; a soaring, powerful, complicated thing that many believe makes the world go round.

The Bridge Across Forever by Richard Bach:    I read this book the year I met my Virgo sister, and have never, ever forgotten it.  Some books just don't fade.  This story is one of them.  This is a romance, in the truest sense.  It is about connection, how difficult it is to let your guard down, and the absolutely amazing things that can happen when you finally do.  If you didn't believe in fate before, you will after reading this.

The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen:  I just read this one a couple of weeks ago.  This is a book about love, friendship, magic and being true to your self.  The friendship between Chloe and the main character, Josey, reminded me so strongly of my relationship with my Libra sister that it was almost spooky.  It takes place in a small resort town in North Carolina in winter.  Josey is in love with her mailman and never leaves the house except to run her mother's errands.  This is her transformation into herself.  This is truly a Phoenix tale.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling:    Ok, you know I'm a Potter fan (or you should by now), so stop groaning.  I had to recommend one at some point.  This, of course, is the big 'romance' volume (though, of course, it is so much more than that).  But, if you haven't read the rest of the series, don't even think about starting here!  I've just got two comments on this one.  First, that kiss!  And second, this was the end of the "shipper wars" (do feel free to google the term if you're in the dark here), and it turned out just the way it was supposed to.

Bag of Bones by Stephen King:    Yes, a Stephen King book.  Yes, it's a horror novel.  Yes, there are some seriously disturbing elements in this story.  BUT it is also a romance.  I wouldn't steer you wrong.  This is a story about a widower haunted by the ghost of his wife.  It is beautiful.  It is painful.  It is ethereal.  If you like a little chill with your romance, this is the book for you.  It's an addictive read.  This book made me fall in love with Stephen King (after not having read his work for some years) all over again.
Lisey's Story by Stephen King:    This story, although not technically related, is the virtual flip side of Bag of Bones.  Lisey's Story is told from the perspective of the widow.  The writer is dead, and his wife is picking up the pieces of their life.  Here again we deal with the hereafter, and the strength of love that goes beyond the grave.  This story is intimate and powerful and, at times, brutally honest.  This is marriage at its most intuitive.


sarah franz-wichlacz said...

obligatory noises: **cough, puke, gag,shudder** ;) on that note,
i am proud of that list of yours m'dear and would only add to it one thing: let your partner be themselves as well... you can't change anyone, they change themselves.... they also need time off to themselves or with their friends.... and you also don't have to love every one of their 'hobbies' but you should understand that it is something they are passionate about and at least respect that.
....and i just noticed my copy of 'the bridge across forever' the other day, thinking about reading it...
<3's you sis :)

firespark said...

THERE she is! :) And, yes, absolutely right. You have to love your mate for who they are. That's what love is, after all.
<3 you back!