Trite advice on love won’t relight anybody’s fire
Hardeep Singh Kohli
WHAT is the price of love? While this is truly imme as u r a b l e , thankfully the free market will always provide us an indication: £1.75. That’s the price hike on a single red rose as Valentine’s Day approaches. “To be wise and love exceeds (hu)man’s might …” Never were the words of Shakespeare more apt. I hate all these “days”: Mother’s, Father’s, Left-handed Virgoans and most of all Valentine’s Day. These are craven capitalist constructs, mendacious marketing modes to subliminally suggest that we spend more hard-earned cash lest we be shamed for not sufficiently loving our mother/father/left-handed Virgoan partner. Such is the cult of that date in the middle of February that almost one-quarter of women surveyed felt that this, of all days, was the best time to propose marriage to their partners. You may well be wondering why I’m ranting about Valentine’s Day in the middle of August. Today is the final day of “Rekindle Romance Week”. Aye. Exactly. The week began exactly six months on from Valentine’s Day, on August 14. According to the Rekindle Romance Week website, that seven-day period “is a time to reignite, respark and revive the love that once burned strong in your relationship. This Rekindle Romance Week show the special person in your life how much they mean to you”. Who is behind such a gauche attempt to monetise the personal feelings of those enduring the all-too-common bumps that grind us through long-term relationships? It appears to be a PR company, The Relations Group. Did the presence of Valentine’s Day miss them? Were chocolate and greeting cards at an all-time low in August that they felt compelled to give them a boost? There is the slightest possibility that behind what seems like an utterly unnecessary mid-year reboot of an already obviously commercial take on love there might be good intentions.
The website is, however, a font of unbelievably trite advice, an oasis of obvious, a case study in the telling us what we already know – repeatedly. “Between social engagements and familial responsibilities, it can be difficult to fit in spending time with your partner.”
Really? That had never occurred to me. The website advice continues: “It can be easy to let arguing about household chores or chatting to friends online distract you from actually paying proper attention to them.”
I don’t know about you but I have never before experienced such profoundly insightful thought. Yet, there’s more. “Rekindling your romance means trying to recapture the feelings that first brought you both together. Focusing on what you love about your loved one will help those romantic feelings flow.”
Maybe in trying to recapture feelings from those early days you’ve discovered your partner hates that you spend all evening reading online websites. Furthermore, I object to the suggestion that you unblock the flow of romantic feelings during an arbitrary week in August. Why? What inspired this bleeding-heart baloney masquerading as meaningful investigation? Nothing.
Call me a curmudgeon, call me killjoy Kohli, but there’s more than a little desperation about this “created” concept offering advice in the most patronising of all tones. Is this what we’ve become?
I don’t doubt, in fact I know from first-hand experience, modern relationships require a level of work and energy that our parents and grandparents wouldn’t recognise. We are still very much in the process of dealing with the all-too-gradual (sometime glacial) journey towards genuine gender equality. Combine with this the changing and developing nature of modern families, the marginalisation of the extended family and the increased importance of the compound family.
Relationships and family life have never been so challenging but shouldn’t our friends and family, our nearest and dearest, be on hand to advise and guide? While “the course of true love never did run smooth”, relying on a commercial website suggests navigating into altogether choppier waters.