Valentine’s Day

File:Francesco Hayez 008.jpg

RT has been perplexed recently by that eternal question: what is love?

So, all the space on WordPress’s servers could be eaten up discussing the answer. And then some.

RT isn’t much interested in the more practical aspects of the matter: beauty, money, prestige, social obligation, and so forth. He is wondering what it is that makes two people enjoy each other’s company.

Certainly, respect, shared interests and experiences, and positive energy are some of the necessary things that lovers look for from each other. But all these things can be present and a relationship be “only” a good friendship.

After some reflecting, RT thinks that the often overlooked, and crucial, element in love is the ability of partners to please each other.

By this RT doesn’t mean primarily sexual pleasure; any teenage couple can work out their sexual frustrations without committing to something permanent. The missing ingredient in so many relationships is a skill–learning what your partner likes and giving it to them, often without pointing out what is happening. For instance, a man may notice that his partner prefers a clean kitchen (not an uncommon occurrence), and, though no neat-nick himself, go ahead and wash up after lunch. Or a woman may notice that her special person prefers an hour nap in the afternoon (as a break from work) and arrange to be away during the time so the apartment is absolutely quiet.

Do you have room for me in your life? Creating the time, resources, and energy to practice the skill of pleasing your lover lies at the core of any long-lasting relationship. Society makes it difficult–it can seem nearly impossible–to practice these skills. But without them, the tenderness that underlies love will not emerge. We must be willing–and have the humility–to learn how to care for each other.

And what better occasion for lovers to practice pleasing each other than Valentine’s Day? Roses, chocolates, a glass of champagne…    RT

Painting: The Kiss. Francesco Hayez, 1859. WikiCmns. Public Domain.

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