I think most people would agree that Valentine’s Day is crap. Who needs a day that is all about marketing, bad chocolates and lame cards reminding us that the last time we had a “romantic” night with our loved one was exactly one year ago… on Valentine’s Day?!

Well, that all may be true, and I’m the first one to agree that romance cannot be scheduled, nor can it be summed up in a fluffy, overpriced, teddy bear I don’t actually need, but at the same time, there is something to be said about tradition and taking a moment to say to your partner I LOVE YOU, even if you wanna smack them most of the time.

My husband and I have been married for nearly seven years. It’s been our Valentine’s Day tradition to have a candlelit dinner at a local Italian restaurant. It’s very average, in fact one would say it’s rather shit, but there is also something wonderful about it which we fell in love with.

It’s one of those old school places where all the waiters are older men who wear short white waiter jackets and actually speak Italian. The tables are covered with real table cloths and there is a single fake flower in those cheap vases on each table. It’s a classic.

When we went there for the first time, I thought to myself ‘I can’t believe that cheap husband of mine brought me here’. Not only did the place not seem fancy enough to my liking, but looking around I also realized most of the other dinners were in their eighties!

Silently sipping my soup, and still deep in thought, I looked around. It suddenly occurred to me that most of the couples around us must have been married for at least 40 or 50 years. Amazed by the fact they were clearly still able to stand each other’s sight, I started thinking about what makes people last together for years and years.

In a world of constant changes, with people getting bored of their jobs, clothes, cars, themselves and their partners so easily, and in the reality of life with kids and nearly zero time to do much more than just ‘function’, lets face it – romance takes the back burner even for the best of us, what is the secret ingredient to making it as a couple despite it all?

I wish I could tell you I have the answer, but I don’t.

The cliché answer: ‘take each day at time’, the practical answer: ‘you need to work at it’ and the Zen answer: ‘love conquers all’ are all part of it I guess. But for me, the secret is having traditions. Things WE do that make us US, even if it means going out on Valentine’s Day which is totally uncool.

So, as I look forward to my romantic night out with my husband at our local rubbish Italian, I’d like to wish you all a very happy Valentine’s Day. May the silly traditions you make today be the memories that help hold you together forever!

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