Love That Day

Is there a date on the calendar more emotionally charged than February 14? I doubt it. Whether a woman is married or single, 18 or 80, Valentine’s Day often sets off a silent eruption of feminine remorse–secret reckonings of love gone awry, soulful sighs hidden behind the flowers, chocolates, and greeting cards. Or lack of them.

Glimpsing an old photo or dusting a sentimental talisman can evoke the same kind of sorrow disguised as wistfulness. In only a few seconds, your heart is racing, and you find yourself trapped in an old cycle of pain or even rage, as memory reassigns blame and reinforces guilt. I know a woman who bursts into tears in an elevator whenever she hears a piped-in rendition of their song–going back 25 years and two marriages.vday

These melancholy murmurs can be devastating. I used to dismiss them as fast as I could, and I suspect I’m not alone. We turn our hearts away from what feels like an accumulation of wrecked dreams and failed efforts, afraid that whatever killed our old love is poised, waiting to strike again. And we bury or discard

Couples Stay Close The Right Way

The Petersons of San Diego have two young children and hectic lives. But every morning while dressing, they take time out for a simple, private ceremony: David removes Anita’s wedding ring, then slips it back on her finger as he says, “I love you.” Anita does the same with his ring, and they kiss.

“The ritual began shortly after our wedding, with David asking, `Will you marry me?'” Anita remembers. “Now we just do the ring ceremony without the question, but the result is the same: We’re reminded of all the wonderful reasons we got married. It seems to start the day off on the right foot.”

Such romantic gestures are more common among newlyweds. Spirituality plays a part, yes, but even after the kids are born, and life and work get complicated, couples can develop special rites that will sweeten their days. This is not about habits, like a peck on the cheek before leaving for work. What’s magic about rituals is that they focus the participants on each other, while excluding the outside world. Although the rituals can be elaborate–like a wedding anniversary party that