A woman whose kids I used to look after gave me some terrific advice about picking a mate. Susan said successful couples laugh at the same things, want to do the same things with their money and love the way the other person smells, without colognes or perfumes.
Susan was twice divorced, so I give her some credit for having learned her lessons the hard way. I certainly knew she was onto something with the smell thing one day a few years ago when I was knocked off my feet by a fragrance in a store at the Eaton Centre. My sweetheart and I were high school sweethearts and took a long break before finding our way back to each other. I hadn't seen him in more than a year, but the cologne I was smelling might as well have been made from his skin. At that moment, in that store, he was there with me and all our good memories poured over me. We're happily married 8 years now. Well, mostly.
This Valentine's Day, I offer up two observations of couples I know who made their love last, because after all, whether you want to or don't, it's a day we're stuck thinking about love:
1) My grandparents were married more than 60 years. They still snuggled, cuddled and held hands. I'm told they could fight like cats and dogs, too, but what I remember about them was their physical affection. It wasn't cloying or obtrusive, they were too Presbyterian for that, but it was genuine and honest.
2) My parents were married more than 40 years, and remained interested in each other's inner lives the whole time. I'll never forget coming downstairs one Saturday morning when I was in university to hear my mother say to my dad, "I didn't know that about you!" at the breakfast table. In my 20 years of infinite wisdom, I was stopped in my tracks at the possibility these two ancient creatures who'd already been married for, like, forever, had not yet plumbed the depths of each other's identities. It gave me pause.
So, my tips for the day:
Oh, and give him a sniff now and then, to appreciate how your knees still tingle.