[NOTE: “Valentines Day” is NOT a Jewish holiday, I am posting this rather apologetically…]
I grew up in Midwestern Illinois, and attended public school. Valentine’s day was duly celebrated each year of grade school as each of us made a decorated “mail box”, and we had to give everyone in the class a valentine. I am sure that the stationary stores loved the holiday. I am not so sure that I did. I was not that popular, and it was rather disconcerting year after year to feel my worth being measured by the type and beauty of the cards which I did/did not receive. [What in the world were educators thinking? That friendships would be fostered?????? And what about the romantic love implications, foisted on a group of young children?] All that Valentine ’s Day could have taught me is that we all desire to be loved, to be visualized as someone of worth, to be appreciated…..and it isn’t always all that painless. Also that lack of love, and rejection, can be an abraision or lesion on our fragile psyche.
To Ricki, I suspect that love and marriage seems easy and straightforward. (Any cognitively-impaired person who watches modern movies would think so. People meet, fall in love, kiss on the first date, and get married all in the space of two hours….) I generally don’t allow her to watch a lot of romantic stuff, but she has seen her older siblings getting married, and she is generally not privy to any prior knowledge until the relationship is definitely serious….. And she is certainly not a viewer of any of the difficulties, or the ups and downs that all couples invariably face.
But what would occur if Ricki would be engaged or married, and the relationship would sour? That would be difficult for her… as it is for all of us. Yet I would not advocate “no love” for the fear of a curdled relationship. Interpersonal relationships take a lot of work. And even if a couple is a solid, good one, people can change. People have disagreements. And these matters have to be faced if the relationship is to remain a solid and positive one. But a loveless life, a life where I am not really that important to anyone else on the planet, is horrific.
As Ricki behaves now, she could never maintain a lasting marriage. I hope that as she matures, she will learn to be more responsive to the feelings of others, to be able at times to let her own needs slide or be delayed for the good of someone else. And if she accomplishes that, I hope that we can help her find some young man who is suitable for her.** And after that, I would hope that there would always be someone ( I am thinking of one of her brothers….) who could help her deal with any of those inevitable arguments that couples have, and counsel the pair as needed. Because life without love is hard. But it is complicated as well……
[**readers might be puzzled that I would advocate "helping" Ricki find a partner, rather than letting her look herself. Keep in mind that in our society, match-making is the norm, and it generally works VERY well.]