Valentine’s Day is the day of love. But in my marriage, and I would bet in your relationships as well, love is an everyday event. And with this philosophy comes a lot of savings and a lot less stress.
If you celebrate love everyday, then when February 14th rolls around it is just another day – another day of love. This means that it is not necessary to spend hundreds of dollars on your loved one to show them your love.
Let me share what my husband and I have done for 11 years that has worked great for us:
* Get a card (from the dollar store) that helps us say what is sometimes hard to put into words.
* Make a romantic dinner at home (which we do at least once a week already). I love to make my shrimp scampi which is 3 ingredients and takes 15 minutes to make.
* Rent a movie or watch an old classic on TV.
I am very blessed. My husband, every so often for no reason at all, brings me beautiful flowers he buys at Aldi (if fresh, they have beautiful choices at low prices). That means more to me than a day on a calendar where he feels obligated to buy me something and take me somewhere.
The lesson here is not one of savings, although that works. And it is not one of love, although that is very important. The lesson is about not letting society decide for you what something means and what is expected of you. My husband and I do not feel bad for one second for how we celebrate. And if anyone asks what we are doing, we proudly tell them. Valentine’s Day is a date on a calendar but having and celebrating love in your life everyday is priceless.
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Once a couple loses the spark in their marriage, that marriage can begin to feel more like a business arrangement than the loving and healthy marriage it was supposed to be. This is happening way too much in this country where we currently have a 52% divorce rate.
One aspect of my firm is to help couples work out their problems and try to save their marriages. It is reported that 80% of divorces happen due to financial issues, but usually the real issue is something deeper; it just showed up in their money. However, many marriages can’t be saved because one or both parties are not willing or perhaps the marriage happened for reasons other than love and respect.
When a marriage can’t be saved, the relationship quickly turns into a business transaction. Many of you have gone through this, as I have, and some of you are going through this now. Here are a few tips I wanted to share with you on how to handle this huge business transaction:
- It is always easiest to blame the other person. But in order to come out of this transaction unharmed and healthy, you must take responsibility for your part and let go of what the other person has done. I know you think this is impossible, but you need to do it – not for them, but for you (and your kids if you have any). Anger, hatred and bitterness have no place in your life and your success so get rid of them immediately and move forward.
- I see this happen a lot, especially in women – you completely rely on the other person to support you. This can happen for many reasons: maybe this is your first time being on your own and you are scared, maybe you lack the self-confidence to know you can make it on your own, maybe you are still holding on to the bitterness and you just want them to pay. Whatever the reason, you need to know that you are awesome, you are strong and you can do this on your own. Stop holding your spouse prisoner over a few dollars. Take this time to go out and prove to yourself, the world, your kids and them that you don’t need a man (or woman). You’ve got this.
- Always be fair – even if the other person isn’t. Even if you are left with nothing – financially speaking – you are something and no one can take that away. You can start over and build up your life and your finances and never look back. Most of the time, holding on is only hurting you, not them.
My divorce was bitter. I was left suddenly with no support and an infant daughter. And look where I am now. For the first 5 years, I wallowed and I held on by refusing to sign the divorce papers. Then my sister got in my face and asked me what was I waiting for – he wasn’t coming back, he had moved on and it was time for me to do the same. She loved me enough to help me see I was only hurting myself. A year later I met the man of my dreams and have had a wonderful life and marriage ever since. But I couldn’t do that until I moved on.
I love you enough to tell you that if you are going through this today, forgive and move on. Become everything you were put here to be. Don’t let someone else stand in your way. And if you feel like you are headed this way, I hope you can work it out and get the support you need.
Everyone should be happy and have someone who loves them unconditionally. That is my sincere wish and hope for you today.