As yet another Valentine's Day rolls around, I wonder how many of us are secretly, or very openly, dreading it. Each year it evolves into a bigger event with greater expectations placed on both men and women (but especially men) to perform some romantic deed of epic proportion to post on Facebook. The build-up to Valentine's Day has become longer with stores displaying heart-shaped boxes of candy and stuffed animals in red, white, and pink as soon as they clear the shelves of Christmas ornaments and decorations. The reminders are everywhere that it's coming, nagging us (but especially men) to conjure up something unique and spectacular for our love.
Some people (but especially men) feel resentful of it, not liking the enormous pressure it puts on them to hit a grand slam on that particular day. They shell out big bucks for a dozen red roses, a piece of jewelry, dinner at an expensive restaurant and, of course, a mushy card that was painstakingly chosen to convey the perfect sentiment. But, alas, none of it seems to be enough, and they fear their partner is disappointed.
The truth of the matter is Valentine's Day can never be truly satisfying because romantic gestures need to be extended year round, not all crammed into one specific day. It's the small gestures of kindness and affection that are shown daily that matter, not the big, flashy ones on February 14th. It's about making your relationship a top priority, keeping you connected and committed 365 days of the year and not just one. With that in mind, here are 10 famous couples with advice to share about love and romance:
1. Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter—Give Your Partner Space
Jimmy Carter, the 39th president of the United States, has been happily married to his wife, Rosalynn, for over 70 years so he's wholly qualified to give advice on staying together and making it work. According to him, the secret to their successful union has been to “give each other plenty of space.” While serving as governor of Georgia and then president, Carter never saw his wife's role limited to that of dutiful spouse and helpmate. He encouraged her to pursue her own passions and achieve her own goals. She became a tireless humanitarian, championing equal rights for women, fighting to eliminate the stigma of mental illness, and building houses around the world with Habitat for Humanity. By enjoying their separate interests, Jimmy and Rosalynn were more fulfilled, energized, and joyous when they came together as a couple.
2. Beyonce and Jay-Z—Fight for Your Love
After cheating on Beyoncé, Jay-Z fought hard to keep his marriage intact for the sake of their children and for the love of his wife. Although it was messy and painful at times, the superstar couple chose to work through the infidelity rather than letting it destroy their family. Instead of searching for the perfect words to say he was sorry, Jay-Z says “the best apology is changed behavior.” Both he and Beyoncé explored the betrayal through their music, showing the world that forgiveness is possible and powerful
3. Dr. Phil and Robin McGraw—Give 100% to Your Marriage
Talk show host, Dr. Phil, and his wife, Robin, have a marriage that's stood the test of time, lasting over 40 years. Robin believes the secret to their successful union is the effort they put into it. Both she and her husband grew up with alcoholic fathers. Before getting married and having kids of their own, they talked about the turmoil they experienced while growing up and how they didn't want to replicate it in their life together. They were both highly motivated to do things differently. When it comes to making their marriage work, Robin says, “A lot of people say it is 50/50, but we both think it's 100/100.”
4. Barack and Michelle Obama -- Laugh Together
President Obama and his wife, Michelle, have been married over 20 years. Their love and respect for one another were on display for the world during their eight years in the White House. They made married life look fun with their playful teasing. It's not surprising that Michelle credits laughter as key to their blissful union, even during stressful times as president and First Lady. She says, “I think in our house we don't take ourselves too seriously, and laughter is the best form of unity, I think, in a marriage...we keep each other smiling.”
5. Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos--Have Lots of Sex
Talk show host, Kelly Ripa, and her actor husband, Mark Consuelos, have been married over 20 years after meeting on the soap opera, "All My Children." Despite their busy careers and parenting three kids, the couple makes time for date nights and romantic rendezvous. Because Mark often works out of town on acting gigs, they know it's important to connect in the bedroom. Ripa says, “We do spicy things all the time.”
6. Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka – Know That Change in a Relationship Is Inevitable
Emmy award-winning actor, Neil, and celebrity chef, David, have been a couple for over 13 years and married since 2014. While juggling hectic careers and parenting young twins, they say an openness to change is central to keeping their union flourishing. Harris says, “You got to ebb and flow. The relationship changes. The definition of it changes.” Instead of fighting or fearing shifts in their marriage, the two have learned to embrace them, knowing they can get through anything together as a team.
7. Ayesha and Stephen Curry—Don't Lose Your Identity in Your Relationship
Ayesha and Stephen Curry are a young high-profile couple with intense careers and a busy home life with kids. He is an NBA superstar, playing for the Golden State Warriors, and she is a restaurateur, an entrepreneur, and a chef on the Food Network. While always cheering her husband from the stands, Ayesha resists the title of “NBA wife” because her own identity is so critical to her. She comments, “One thing that my mom always told me was to never lose yourself inside of your marriage. I'm happy that I've been able to find that so-called balance and be able to pursue my passions and take care of my family.”
8. Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi—Be Grateful for Love
Talk show host, Ellen DeGeneres, and her wife, actress Portia de Rossi, endured some bumpy times on their way to finding love, making them appreciate each other even more. Like many gays and lesbians, DeGeneres was bullied after coming out and struggled with severe depression while de Rossi battled eating disorders in her past. Now, they're thankful for the life they've built together and the stability that marriage provides. DeGeneres says of their union, “Anybody who's married knows there is a difference. There's an anchor, there's a safety. I'm going to be with her till the day I die and I know that.”
9. Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban – Make the Marriage a Priority
Academy award winning actress, Nicole Kidman, and her country singer husband, Keith Urban, are a rock-solid couple seen on red carpets all around the world. They've been happily married for over a decade, leaving many to forget she was once part of another high profile coupling with superstar, Tom Cruise. Kidman loves the close bond she shares with Urban and the commitment they have to making their marriage a priority. She's not one to take their union lightly, claiming when she falls in love she falls hard. She says, “I've always chosen to have really deep, intense, romantic relationships. I don't dabble.”
© 2018 McKenna Meyers