February was the month I felt my legs being swept out from underneath me over and over again. Just as I thought I had regained my footing, something else came along to counteract my best intentions. When I last left you, we were in the…
Sharing some valentines from this year’s celebration.
I adore this paper flower bouquet my 7-year old designed and constructed all on her own. It looks gorgeous on our table and may be one of my all-time favorite gifts of “flowers.”
My 4-year old and I had a lot of fun working together on her valentine box for preschool. We went with a bubble bath theme and constructed the box from random craft supplies we already owned.
This Valentine’s season we have also been watching our friend Amy Webb’s overwhelming media success with her book Data: A Love Story, documenting her experience with online dating and how she met her wonderful husband Brian. You know you have dominated your marketing plan when The Washington Post writes that you have “been all over Web and print media in the past month.”
Seeing so much about dating tips and online dating made me reflect on my own marriage. My husband and I met in the dark ages before online dating really existed. Our “matchmaker” was an unruly dog.
We watched vicariously as the first form of internet dating, online chat rooms, arose during college. This was an interesting psychological study where two people would find they were complete soul mates when typing in a chat room or talking on the phone but once they exchanged pictures (by snail mail) would find there was no physical attraction and the relationships fizzled.
As online dating has evolved, you can now put so much more information about yourself online, from extensive pictures to statistics about your body size, income, education, likes and dislikes, etc. You can specify in exact detail who you are looking for. So far, the online formula seems to work. We can count numerous wedded couples among our friends who met through online services.
But one aspect of online dating that is completely confusing to me is how you then translate a list of requirements into a soul mate. There is an aspect of luck and magic to love. You can’t plan it or organize it out completely. I don’t think a computer system would ever match me and my husband together or that we would pick each other out of a mix of random people. We are really quite different .
There is also the aspect of change over time. It has been scientifically proven that we become different people as the years go by. So even if you manage to match yourself up perfectly with someone today, there is no guarantee that as you both change over the years, you won’t change into an incompatible mix. If you are in a happy long-term relationship, you are fortunate to be changing in compatible ways continually as the years go by. When you think about all that has to go right given the amount of change, the high divorce rate doesn’t seem all that surprising.
I count myself lucky every day that I have a very happy marriage with my husband. Over the years, we knew we had something special from the comments we received from other people. When we were both working full time, people expressed surprised that we could stand sitting in the car together for hours each day on our long daily commute. When we drove cross-country and were in the car 24-7 for weeks at a time with our young children, people often said they “couldn’t do that” due to fears of starting an argument or divorcing en route.
The other day, I wondered how I would advise my own children to find a soul mate. I don’t think there is any magic checklist or formula but the one idea that kept coming back to me is that you are primarily looking for a life teacher—someone who will help you change into the best version of yourself, someone whose advice and perspective you value above all others, someone who you are willing to learn from and vice versa. I am a different and better person for having known my husband.
On this Valentine’s Day, wishing you all the love in the world!
I will close this deep thought with a few spontaneous hearts my 7-year-old keeps pointing out to me in random things. Love is truly all around us if we look for it.
P.S. Congratulations to my newly-engaged sister and brother-in-law-to-be!
This year, my daughter’s preschool class valentines were inspired by my own organizational challenge. We have buckets full of pencils. Some we bought ourselves but a large number were received as gifts for trick-or-treating or other holidays. Pencils are a pretty common gift for children…