I have been married for almost eleven years now, and before that my husband and I dated for two and a half years and were engaged for one year, so we’ve now had several V-days together as a couple. When I was younger I was much more susceptible to the idea that I should want something done for me or given to me on Valentine’s Day, because I believed that that meant that somebody loved me—deeply and truly. Now I realize that, as sweet and thoughtful as it might be to go to the store and buy someone some flowers or a box of candy, it is not always indicative of love. Love is something different, and I guess it has taken me a lot of years to realize what it really is.
The popular show, The Bachelor, which has been on for a trillion years, is a good example of what love is not, in my humble opinion. I guess some producers got the idea that you could grow love in a lab, and so they set out to construct their lab: a mansion full of booze and one handsome man, and filled it with 25 women. Now, to be fair, I watched the first or second season of the show, and then stopped for years and years, and now, recently a new season has come on and my husband and I are watching it, “as a lark.” Literally, we are watching it as a comedy program, but that is proving to be hard to do because it is just so SAD. The women are paraded in front of this man who is analyzing their every quality to see if they might fit into his world, be willing to fight (in the most ladylike and dignified of ways) for his affections, and somehow seem pure and classy while at the same time being willing to put out in the “fantasy suite” with him. Because, of course, it is important for him to see how they perform in bed. And then 24 of those women, after being dragged through the pink, glittery mud of this “classy” and “romantic” experience, will be determined to be not good enough for the bachelor, and they will not get a rose, but will be shuttled home in tears, still in front the camera. I know that probably many of them know what they are getting into, and probably many of them are doing it to be on TV, but gosh darn it, somehow that doesn’t quite justify it for me.
But I’m not here to bash The Bachelor, easy as it is to do; I’m just here to say that I don’t believe love can be created in a lab. And I don’t really believe that love is that fluttery feeling you get at the beginning of a relationship, when everything is new and exciting—I just chalk that up to attraction and excitement.
But I have cleaned up puke with someone else, in the middle of the night, and laughed with him in the midst of it. I have held hands with him and cried when we didn’t know if our baby would make it. I have been sad with him until snot came out of my nose. I have been bathed by him when my neck was having muscle spasms and I couldn’t move. I have been cared for when I was in the midst of Norwalk with a 6-week-old baby, when he had to latch that baby on to me to feed because I was so weak I couldn’t do it myself. And this is the same person who learned that my love language is not to receive gifts of flowers or chocolates (even though I’m not opposed to that stuff). He knows I feel loved when he takes care of the kids, takes out the garbage, cleans the kitchen, scrubs the pots, and, most of all, probably, when he cleans the fridge. And the other day he did clean the fridge, and it is clean and glorious.
Someone who will empty and clean out moldy pieces of tupperware for you? Fairly regularly, for eleven years? Friends: that’s love. I think that’s what they should do on The Bachelor. I will submit that idea to CBS and let you know how it goes.