Valentine’s Day is different things to different people; it’s a different holiday for new couples than it is from newlyweds. It’s different for newlyweds than it is for couples who have been together for decades. But what’s the secret of relationships that last for a quarter of a century or a half-century? And how do people who have been together for that long spend Valentine’s Day?
Reader’s Digest did a profile on long term couples; One couple, Sarah and Zack Klutz, have many Valentine’s Day traditions like staying home and cooking a steak dinner or visiting a local hot spring. They also write letters to each other, expressing their love and appreciation. Another couple, Brad and Soraya Kilgore — who both work in restaurants — go to a hotel together.
My husband and I have been married for 25 years this year, and for us, Valentine’s Day is about the whole family and we include our two kids in the V-Day fun: we sharing small gifts with each other and the children when we get home from work that day and we have a family dinner at the table that night. With our busy lives we don’t always get to do that, so that makes Valentine’s Day special for all of us.
Another one of our family traditions: we make Valentine’s Day cards for each other. They have to be created and drawn with our own creative poems, artwork and thoughts.
My husband usually goes the extra mile on Valentine’s Day and has the whole kitchen decorated each year with red balloons, hearts, confetti and fun gifts for us when we wake up. This is an act of love, as he has to be the first one awake in the morning to make this happen as it’s “presented” to us before we head off to school and work for the day.
A few years ago, The Today Show talked to couples married for fifty-plus years and got some of their stories for a recent Valentine’s Day segment. The show talked with Marian and Philip Sarno, both 80, who have been married 61 years, shared their story of love at first sight.
“She was crossing the street and the guy I was with, I poked him, and I said, ‘I’m gonna marry her,”’ Philip said. “And he looked at me like, ‘What are you, nuts?” I was only 15.”
“It seemed like from that day on, no matter where I went, there he was,” Marian said. “He was a pain in the neck, to be honest with you.”
Another couple Ben and Annette Connolly, both 78, who have been married for 53 years, say a sense of humor is important.
“If you fall, I’ll always pick you up,” Annette said. “After I stop laughing.”