Prescriptions for Love
Wellness routines to keep your love out of the emergency room
by Dr. Joan Lehmann
To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides.
During the reign of Claudius II two millennia ago, marriage was outlawed in Rome to free men from their families to fight Claudius’ bloody campaigns. Saint Valentine was a priest who married Christian couples in secret so that lovers could be together. Valentine paid with his life for his good deed; he was beaten to death and beheaded on February 14, 270 ad. His memory lives on as a day to make vows of love in the bleak midwinter.
On Valentine’s Day, it takes less courage to let someone know you are thinking of her and would like to get to know her better. A card that expresses your sincere feelings or a single blossom or sweet treat will carry the message. With luck, your sentiment will be returned, and your simple gesture will lead to a more intimate understanding. But don’t be disappointed if she doesn’t share the same feelings. The pursuit of true love can be difficult. The only way to fail is to stop searching. You will meet some wonderful people and make friends during your quest. Take heart, be brave and try again.
Valentine’s Day is also the day to reaffirm love. Take the occasion to reflect on your relationship. What do you need to say to your lover to reaffirm your feelings for her? Have you both been so busy with work and children and life’s obligations that you have taken each other for granted? Make the coming week a chance to speak on a deeper level.
Slip a pair of tickets to a show in her purse. Tape a photograph of you on the inside of the sun visor in his car. Send the children to your mother’s for the evening, cook his favorite meal and serve it with wine and candlelight. In the middle of the week, take her to a nice restaurant you have been meaning to try. Give him a passionate kiss before work and slip a note into his pocket that you can’t wait for him to come home. Pour her a hot bubble bath when she gets home from work.
Tell him how you feel. Instead of a large box of chocolates, give him a smaller box of his favorites with a book of verse that speaks to you. Make a homemade card with a heart on the outside and your heart on the inside, in the form of your own poem or a classic favorite from a master.
He needs to be wooed over and over again to keep the feelings fresh and alive. Present him with a plate of strawberries you dipped in chocolate. Make a basket of exotic fruits a mango, pineapple, star fruits and kiwis and deliver them with a note promising to see the Caribbean with her this year. Melt his heart with a small bundle of spring blossoms with a note reading, “it is springtime even in the dead of winter when I’m with you.” God didn’t just make flowers for women; men like them, too.
Build a fire, take the phone off the hook and lock the doors. Stop the world for a few hours for just you two. Dine on a blanket in front of the hearth. Turn off all the lights and illuminate the room with candles and play soft music. Seduce him with treats for the palate: proscuitto and melon, soft brie and baguette, raspberries and chocolates. Keep her wine glass full. Wine lightens the mood, warms you, relaxes you and lets you speak more easily to your lover’s heart. Isn’t that what Valentine’s Day is all about? Speaking to each other’s heart?
Even if you have been together for decades, you must take time and make the effort to rekindle deep emotions and start love anew. Life is a journey. Take good care of your travel partner.
There is no remedy for love but to love more.
Henry David Thoreau
Joan Lehmann is an emergency room physician at Baltimore-Washington Medical Center.