WoDG Postcard

coffee cup
Making it Count

Author: Maven Blue
Column: Behind the Bar
Date: 2014-02-12 15:45:46

Saint Valentine’s Day. The all knowing wikipedia tells us that Saint Valentine is a widely recognized third-century Roman saint commemorated on February 14. Nothing is reliably known of St. Valentine except his name and the fact that he died on February 14 on Via Flaminia in the north of Rome. It could even be that the Saint was in fact two different men. There are two popular stories involving the Saint: a man who was arrested and imprisoned upon being caught marrying Christian couples and otherwise aiding Christians who were at the time being persecuted by Claudius II in Rome, and a man who restored the vision of a child, served Jesus and was condemned and killed for it.

How romantic.

And how do we celebrate the death of love?

Chocolate, flowers, cards, jewelry, and whatever else the commercial machine tells us to buy.

Now don’t get me wrong - it isn’t that I’m against love and the symbolic gestures that are a token of love. I like chocolate and roses as much as the next girl, but why do we need one specific day to commemorate love? Love is a process, not a one day affair. It should be celebrated every day.

My barflies are all in different stages of love. Some are newly in love, some are established in love, some have fallen out of love, and some are looking for love. And while there has been a buzz between pints about love lost,  relationships gone wrong (some horribly wrong), and steadfast relationships, not one of them has, at some point, regretted being in love.

So what makes love strong? What builds a solid relationship?

I asked my barflies these very questions and they came up with some heartfelt, and surprising answers.

1. Physical Intimacy - We’re not just talking sex here (although there is nothing wrong with that!), but something as simple as holding hands, hugging, playful kisses. Touch and affection is important to keeping a healthy relationship.

2. Spending quality time together - My barflies thought that this was important, but a few of them said that this is where they failed. If you don’t have quality time together, communication and understanding start to erode. Simple ways of spending quality time together? Making a regular date night. Finding something you enjoy to do together. Trying something new together. The focus is on having fun together and keep things playful with laughter and humor.

3. Communication - Another area my barflies often ran into trouble. When people stop communicating they stop relating to each other and what you end up with is a level of disconnect. The key to good communication is learning your partner’s emotional cues, and learning to question your assumptions about what your partner may or may not know. Expressing your needs helps to decrease resentment, anger and misunderstanding.

4. Give and take - You can’t expect to get what you want all the time. There has to be some compromise. Recognize what is important to your partner. Don’t make winning your goal. Learn how to respectfully resolve conflict. Resentment can build if you constantly ignore your partner’s needs.

5. Ups and Downs - there are going to be some … lots of them. You can’t expect every day to be sunshine and rainbows. Two people can’t live together and not have some sort of crisis, no matter how small or large. What is important is not taking your problems out on your partner, be open to change, and don’t ignore your problems.   

That, my friends, is the alcohol fueled advice given by new and seasoned barflies alike. Pretty enlightened if you ask me. The only question remaining is whether or not you take the advice. Maybe it will make you successful, and maybe not - but at least it is worth a try. 

Remember that when you’re out romancing .. new or old.