I wrote this post a year ago. It remains true today. Even truer than ever.
Worth recounting. Worth resharing. Worth adding to (in italics).
This is for you who has struggled in your relationship.
This is for you who has cried in pain at the heart’s longing to unite with another’s.
This is for you who is begging to be understood, loved and celebrated.
This is for the pragmatic, the romantics, the idealists, the dreamers, the jaded.
I woke up this morning,
rolled over and squinted through bleary eyes at my soulmate.
“Happy Valentine’s Day”, I whispered.
He groaned and pulled the pillow over his head.
It’s way too early for these kind of shenanigans.
And yet he’s still my best kind of Valentine ever.
This morning I woke up and I forgot it was Valentine’s Day.
So did he.
He’d let me sleep in, just as he has every morning since I became ill with hyperemesis gravidarum a life time ago, at the beginning of this very long pregnancy.
I walked outside, did my morning ritual hurl, walked back inside. Made toast. We sat together and talked about all the big changes in our life and how we are going to navigate them.
Using our words as leylines, tracing each other back to the same place, the same page, so we could understand most fully what was on each other’s hearts, and our own.
And then we made up a lunchbox together for our daughter’s first “drop-off” day at kindergarten. The first day she would be in the care of someone other than her parents or grandparents.
We drove to school together, the three of this, and this bulging belly full of arms and legs.
And I smiled to myself.
Soon, our threesome would become a foursome.
And we could call ourselves The Awesome Dawson Foursome!
It was only later, much, much later, after we’d sat in the quiet of our house for the first time, alone, together, in close to four years, that we remembered.
“Happy Valentine’s Day, darling. I love you more than ever.”
I thought to myself this morning:
I love you even more
because I’ve hated you as well.
I’ve judged you and I’ve misunderstood you and I’ve argued with you.
And I know I always find my way back to loving you
just like you do for me too.
I thought to myself this morning:
I love you more deeply and impossibly and thoroughly than I did a year ago.
The Leonie who wrote this post didn’t know then that nine months of a horrific, difficult pregnancy along with all manner of other calamities
would birth the most beautiful thing in the world:
a partnership of soulmates, two souls who had finally learned what it was to be a team, to face the world together, to want the very best for each other, to understand each other implicitly.
Two people who’d learn to live the vows they’d spoken.
Husband and wife. Soulmates. Parents. Through thick and thin. In sickness and health.
Because my ego is no longer at war with yours.
I no longer have to be right. I just want to be understood and to understand you.
I did a teleseminar this morning, and did rounds of laser coaching for beautiful, spectacular souls.
One of them said:
“I feel jealous of you sometimes, when you talk about your soulmate. I wish it could be that good and easy for me.”
And I laughed, because it’s
NOT always good.
And it certainly has never been easy.
And yet he is my dearest Valentine.
The truth about love for me is:
It takes shit tonnes of communication.
Of talking it out.
Of misunderstanding each other and not listening and then finding a way to hear each other.
Of sometimes going in completely opposite directions only to find the tension between us too tight, and finding ourselves flinging back together again.
Love is sometimes shitty. And gritty.
And it forces you to grow up. Get over your shit. Forgive. Let them not be perfect. Accept that you’re not perfect either.
Get better at communicating. Get better at loving. Get better at loving the shit out of yourself.
Get better at being your own best friend, your own soulmate, your own Valentine first.
Want to know the secret to long lasting relationships?
Two people being motherfuc*ing stubborn about having a long lasting relationship.
Two people deciding to grow and heal.
Even when it doesn’t look or feel easy or graceful.
We didn’t buy each other presents or cards or flowers today.
Sometimes I want them, so I buy them for myself.
Or if I do want something, I tell him simply and clearly what it is I want.
He doesn’t need to prove anything to me:
his love, my worth.
That shit’s pretty damn clear.
What we gave each other today was this:
He stood up for me. He told me that all he wants is for me to be happy and at peace. That no matter what, we can work anything out, because we are a team and he is on my side.
Then he trolloped off in boot and hats to fight never ending battles with tropical grass that becomes jungle in the blink of an eye, and weeds that fuck like bunnies and spread from yonder to hither.
And I sang to him “Living and a-working on the land” and he liked it.
I told him that I didn’t care what anyone else’s opinion of him or us was. At long last! At long last!
Leonie’s seek for approval has ended. And all I know is that I believe in him, and his goodness, and how dearly I loved him.
Of course, I didn’t always hear the ways he told me he loves me.
We speak different love languages:
I’m verbose and showy,
he is not.
But yesterday the toilet was blocked so he spent an hour in the blazing midday sun chipping away at concrete and unglugging our lil farm’s septic system.
It was his first time doing it (he of the city-boy-ishness) and I couldn’t have been prouder or more grateful to him for having the cahones and nasal stamina to do it.
On Valentine’s Day, he gave me an unblocked toilet.
Which is kinda perfect really… this being the day of celebrating love by getting over your own shit.
I had dreams about love before I met him
Dreams where he was like TOTALLY Dawson (from Dawson’s Creek).
Where he’d know me better than I knew myself.
Love me so I could love myself.
Make me feel like I was someone special.
That he could see into my eyes and see exactly what I was feeling without me ever needing to express.
How he’d take care of me for me.
And then I did meet him.
And his last name was Dawson
but he definitely wasn’t like my dream.
Because I learned:
the world’s leading expert on Leonie is… Leonie.
that wanting someone to love me so I can love me is like putting the chicken before the egg.
That knowing that I’m lovable and special is my job, not something that my love gives to me.
That taking care of my self and communicating my emotions and needs… is my job.
What’s more, it’s my sacred job.
The way things really need to be.
I’m so grateful I learned all these lessons.
I don’t look for my husband to save me, or tell me I’m beautiful, or that he’ll love me forever.
Because that has always been and will always be MY job.
It’s my job to be my own saviour, my own knight in shining armour, my own cheerleader.
That then leaves him the job that he was born to do: be himself.
The most I can give my love this Valentine’s Day is:
a woman in love with herself.
a woman who is willing to change and grow with him.
a woman who is okay with the fact that her one true love is splendidly and achingly human.
And I know he gives me just the same back.
And that’s all that’s needed.
Other glorious things you can do this Valentine’s Day to celebrate the shit out of love?
Learn more about love.
Start talking about it. Get educated about it.
Most of the time, the only education we get about love is from peeps who haven’t got it worked out.
So we need to recircuit ourselves to discover what love really is, what it means, what work it takes, and how to get it shining.
My favourite books on love, sex + relationships:
- I Need Your Love, Is That True? by Byron Katie
- To Raise Happy Kids, Put Your Marriage First by David Code
- If the Buddha Married by Charlotte Kasl
- Soul Sex by Al Link
- Tranformation Soup: Healing For The Splendidly Imperfect by my dear soul sister SARK
Other favourite relationship resources?
- A relationship counsellor who makes sense to both of you
- Use the talking stick when communicating with your love (it doesn’t have to be a physical one!)
- Look at what communication blockers you use… and consciously begin to stop using them.
And the best gift you can give your love?
A person who is utterly in love with themselves.
A woman who keeps cultivating her passions and her dreams and the things that light her up.
Who decides to see herself everyday as the goddess she is.
Who is whole and happy and true.
And even if she doesn’t feel like that all the time… she sure as shit keeps growing in that direction. Keeps knowing that it’s possible for her. And that life is for living and loving the shit out of!
(It’s the best gift you can give yourself TOO you know. Funny how that works! What’s good for the gander is good for the goose!)
Most of all
May you know that you are loved. Deeply loved. So loved it is swirling all around you.
Can’t see it?
Imagine you were a fish in the sea.
And you tried to tell that fish about water.
And it would be all:
WHERE IS THE WATER?
Because it’s just THAT surrounded by it.
The same is true for you, lovebug.
You are swimming in a great ocean of love.
Deeply and truly,
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