Baby, don’t hurt me. Don’t hurt me. No more. But seriously, as valentine’s draws near, love is literally everywhere, stores filling their displays with red hearts, drawing long bows to connect romance with their products to convince you to buy them. All your favourite on-air shows do a valentines related episode and bookings at restaurant become as rare as a woman without belayaged hair.
For some, this is a chance to tell that special someone how you feel, while for others it’s an opportunity to remind one another that you are still in love. For me, it’s definitely the later.
You see, I’ve been married for just over six years now, marrying when I was 19 and he was 20. At the time, we were students and totally broke and we could tell who thought we were insane and who didn’t. As a rule the naysayers were the people who didn’t know us well and just made assumptions that we either didn’t know what we were doing or we were knocked up. Neither was applicable.
It sounds so cliche, and believe you me, I’m not a romance-y lovey dovey type but I had found the one. Turns out he’d been sitting right next to me all along, since I was 11 years of age. That dorky looking kid with the glasses who I kept calling Joel but was actually named Sam. Somewhere around 14 years of age we became good friends, so good I even learnt his name. We shared the same friends, spent a whole lot of time together in and out of school and yet I still didn’t get that feeling about him. We pined after other people and would console/stop each other from making embarrassing declarations of love to our respective crushes. Ready for the obligatory ‘how we were’ images.. gosh, please don’t laugh! Side note, that guy on the left image with us is still one of our best friends!
It wasn’t until school was all over and we were on our group’s own (tamer) version of schoolies that I began to figure out how I felt. That was November 2005. And I didn’t say a word until early May 2006. I let things progress naturally, hanging out in his mum’s car until midnight listening to good music and talking about anything, throwing dead fish in his lap (true story!), until I couldn’t stand it anymore and took the plunge sending him a text very late one Friday night to say how I felt and that I hoped I hadn’t ruined our friendship if he didn’t feel the same. His response was something along the lines of he was interested and I hadn’t ruined anything (slightly underwhelming for me). Later I found out he was in shock because he was so sure I wasn’t interested he’d made sure not to pursue me.
We officially began dating in early June 2006, when we shared our first kiss. And I mean that in every way – first kiss together, first kiss for each of us ever. We were engaged by May 2007 and married November 30th 2007. Looking back, I guess that was quick, but when you know everything about that person, you’re in every one their crazy stories, they make you laugh until your sides hurt and share an appreciation for good music… it just makes sense! It was a slow burn to falling in love, but when we fell, we fell hard and fast.
Now, it’s less fireworks and fizzy feelings in my tummy, and more going to work and paying bills and cleaning the house. It’s over six years on, we’re both fairly successful in our careers, have recently started a new business together and are constantly tired and in need of a holiday. And I am totally ok with that because I love him and he loves me and always has my back. People ask us how we do it, how do you still like each other while working together, why do you still always hang out and not get sick of each other? Honestly, I have no idea. It’s not something we’ve ever had to work at and I think it comes back to a strong foundation of friendship. In those early years, we were building something that was far more important than we could have ever realised. And now, we are reaping all the benefits!
When I feel like my work is taking over and I’m too stressed to sleep, he will tickle my back to help me get to sleep. When I feel like crumbling and crying, he will encourage me and tell me all the good things I have done so far in my life. When I feel fat and sassy, he tells me I’m being ridiculous and always look good. When I’m being a brat, he calls me out on it (nothing really goes unsaid in our little household). And vice versa for him.
This was a lot longer than I meant it to be, and I could go on, but I feel like that’s enough for now. So to answer my initial question, what is love, I would say love is so many things rolled into one – its like friendship on steroids with a pinch of lust, a splash of honesty and trust and a whole lotta communication. What, too dull? I said I wasn’t lovey dovey.