Not so much for me
In my first two marriage posts I mentioned not really adhering to or enjoying “lovey-dovey” relationships. I realized if I’m going to keep using that as a contrast to what my marriage is like, I ought to define how I’m using the term.
The simplest way, because otherwise the English major in me will extrapolate the phrase to death, is to do so with a story. My husband and I don’t give each other anniversary gifts, but that wasn’t always the case. When we were younger we did such things because we thought we should and we wanted to do something nice for the other, and the practice continued until we realized it didn’t matter to us anymore.
The gift I gave Jonathan for our first anniversary of dating was nearly a year in the making. I got the idea a few months into our relationship so I began working on it then. For each day we were together I listed a reason why I loved him. I had to go back and write multiple reasons for the days I’d missed, but once I got the idea I wrote a reason a day.
That notebook is probably one of the most romantic gestures I’ve ever made for my husband. I know he appreciated it, and I completely get that how for many, if not most, couples it would be considered a perfect idea for an anniversary present. But somewhere along the line, our views of romance changed.
I’d completely forgotten about the book until I found it a year ago, as we were packing to move from our apartment to our first house. Overwhelming embarrassment at my sappiness coursed through me as I paged through it, and I was quite vocal about my feelings. My husband laughed at my reaction. We both agreed that while the book was sweet for us at the time, and that I’m not really ashamed of my 19-year-old self, because 20-year-old Jon appreciated the gift, such grand gestures aren’t really our style anymore.
To me, lovey-dovey incorporates two things: one – sickening sweetness, especially in public, and two – dramatic declarations. The former incorporates baby talk, doe eyes, excessive flirting, extreme public displays of affection, that sort of thing, and I find it nauseating.
The latter has its place. We all want to be swept off of our feet, and while I have a lot to say about whether or not that desire is natural or a product of the media, the fact is it’s here to stay. It’s important to let the person you love know that you care about them, and that’s one way of doing it.
It’s just not my way. I find all of the aspects of my definition of lovey-dovey unpleasant and unnecessary – for my own life. It’s like how I view coconut: there isn’t a food in the word I loathe more than coconut, and I even physically shudder in revulsion to its taste. But (unlike my husband, who makes faces at me whenever I happily munch on pickles or olives), I’m fine with coconut existing and with other people eating it (especially if they can eat it for me).
That’s how I am about lovey-dovey. I might not like to be around couples of the #1 type for long, and I might unfairly roll my eyes at #2, but I admit that lovey-dovey can work and be healthy for some. It’s just not my cup of tea. Next time I’ll go into what is.