– Forgiveness – Forgetfulness - Laughter - Space
Valentine’s Day Thoughts
By Joanne Sales
Did you know that the St. Valentine we honor on February 14 was
actually a martyred priest in ancient Rome? That’s interesting,
considering half of Canadian marriages now end in divorce. Apparently,
falling in love is much easier than staying in love.
My husband and I just celebrated our 40th anniversary. We got
married when we were 20. A more unlikely marriage there was not.
I was at the top of our high school class of 900; he was at the
bottom. Nevertheless, the day after we met, we walked through
the halls saying, “We’re going to get married.”
Ha ha ha. Everyone laughed out loud! That was good. Laughter is
important in relationships. (So is food! After Richard switched
from cokes and white bread to real food, he acknowledged his surprise,
“I didn’t know I was smart!”)
There are theories that successful marriages depends on similar
sized earlobes, middle finger proportion to body size, humor,
similar levels of cleanliness, spiritual background, etc. Here
are some keys that we found to be important, in the many ups and
downs of 40 years: Space. Laughter. Friendship. Forgiveness. Forgetfulness.
Early on we learned to give each other space – literally
and figuratively. We each had our own passionate interests. The
relationship wasn’t the only thing that mattered. Time alone
and space apart are essential for perspective and to keep one’s
own life meaningful. In any important relationship, we don’t
want to be like the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
“You’re not here? That’s fine. I’ve got
plenty to do.”
Forgiveness is a big one. Given enough years, everyone is going
to blow it. We’re all slightly crazy, emotionally scarred
and limited in wisdom, with a vast cavern of unknown, unacknowledged
forces and issues inside us which rise up now and then to inspire
ridiculous behavior and harmful actions. So we’ll make mistakes.
We need the ability to say, I’m sorry, and mean it - to
sincerely ask forgiveness and to forgive and forget.
So we developed a pattern of not sweating the small stuff. You
know, the small stuff. Like infidelity, ruining each other’s
careers, wasting mutual resources, inequality of work loads, bad
habits.... You know - the small stuff. Eventually you learn to
say, “Whatever. Let’s move on.” A bad memory
is a wonderful blessing.
No one is ever going to be everything we thought they were. Nor
can we fulfill other’s lofty expectations. That’s
ok. We become friends, and surprise ourselves by being more than
we thought we were. We grow to respect the mystery of another
Besides, love grows. At first, you love just each other. Then
maybe there are children and you love them. But eventually, you
begin to notice that the same story, “our story,”
is taking place everywhere. All across the planet.
Once, I had a painting of Mother Mary. Inside her heart, surrounded
by Light, she held the whole earth. The whole earth. That’s
the kind of diffused, expanded love that makes a relationship
last. A little less focus on each other; a lot more love for the
human family. And then in the process of the work of one’s
life, you turn around in the kitchen and someone is standing there.
“You’re still here? Wow... That is a lot of loyalty.
But you know, when you turn around in the kitchen, you may not
see a partner. You may see a sister, a parent, a child, a neighbor,
a friend. The same awesome mystery is at work. “You’re
still here? Wow… That is a lot of loyalty. Thank you. Thank
That is love.