Valentine's Day: It’s not all about gifts and roses

2009-02-13 00:00

Trawling the busy, crimson-decked corridors of Liberty Midlands Mall, Weekend Witness was particularly interested in our readers’ ideas of romance, Valentine’s Day and the secrets to a healthy relationship.

It was surprising to find that the answers didn’t lie in the pretty packagings of lace lingerie, heart-shaped chocolates, animated cards or the sultry scents emanating from perfume bottles.

Even after 44 years of marriage, Daryl and Virginia Prytz haven’t, for even a moment, lost their fire.

“Daryl is the most creative Valentine’s person. Oh my goodness, he always goes out of his way to surprise me,” said Virginia.

Daryl wrote a poem to Virginia saying they didn’t know that they were meant to be together when they first married, “We were only 17 and 18 years old!”

“We just knew that we were going to make it the best marriage we could. And the recipe to our relationship is respect, care, loyalty, consideration for each other’s space and communication.

There are so many young couples we watch and they are at a restaurant eating in silence or not even looking at each other,” said Daryl.

“The one year he filled up my favourite box of cereal with little love messages. At breakfast I emptied what I thought was cereal into a bowl and just before pouring the milk in, I took a closer look and said ‘this cereal looks a little strange’. I was so thrilled to read the beautiful messages.

“The next year he mowed a heart shape with our initials into the lawn and one year he asked the restaurant that we were dining at to make me a heart-shaped pizza,” said Virginia.

Tim Naicker was still on the prowl for a Valentine when he chatted to Weekend Witness, but after he shared that he is a hopeless romantic, we are reckoning he probably found a lucky lass to spoil today.

“I am a bit of a romantic. My ideal romantic setting would be a sunset cruise, sipping on some champagne and sharing a lot of laughs followed by a dinner for two and maybe a little bit of slow dancing,” Naiker said.

“Though I think Valentine’s Day is a normal day because you should cherish the one that you love every day, if you have someone that you care about, it can be fun to take part in.”

“We grew up in a house where we didn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day, so it has no meaning to me. It is my sister’s birthday so in a way we do celebrate it,” said Marie Roberts.

“I have also been divorced many years now and what I would like is not a Valentine, it’s a soul mate, someone that I can lean on and share my life with.”

Chanel* and Chris* are a real Romeo and Juliet. They have been dating secretly for nearly two years and say though they cherish every moment together they wish their families would just get over their drama so that they can come out of hiding.

“I cannot imagine being with anyone else. He is so sweet and goofy and kind and I just love him,” said Chanel.

“I love everything about her, she is beautiful and caring and keeps me on my toes,” said Chris.

Christian Niyongabo and Happy Ngarambe say that they do not celebrate Valentine’s Day because in Burundi (which is where they come from) it isn’t celebrated.

“We are French. You cannot teach French men how to love. Love is very complicated and needs to be celebrated every day as intensely as this one day. When there is love, there is always trust and respect and you make the person know that they are the only one for you by calling, smsing, buying flowers and just being there for them,” said Ngarambe.

“My husband is not a proclaimed romantic and often needs a little bit of prompting,” said Sue Leask.

“We have been married for 18 years and I would say that truth and honesty, respect and caring and something else that I won’t say in the paper, but will say that our six children say it all, is what makes our marriage work.

“He has bought me jewellery and flowers and we have even gone as far as booking a table at a restaurant. When we got there they were overbooked and we had to wait for two hours before getting a table. It is not about the gifts. They are nice, but I would rather stay home and have prawns for dinner.”

“My husband sent me a letter when we were only 13 and 14 years old saying ‘I love you big; I love you small; I love you sommer sulke emmers vol [buckets full]’. And that for me was the most romantic thing,” said Luci van Schalkwyk, who was having coffee with her friend Lynn de Jager.

“Even though I sent him a SMS saying ‘forget about the roses, cash will be fine’, it was meant to tell him that I wouldn’t mind if he forgot that it was Valentine’s Day. We are happy and we laugh about our mistakes and communicate our feelings and have had a really happy 30 years.”

“I got all dressed up in a beautiful red dress and it happened to be raining. Just before getting to the restaurant, my husband pushed me to the side, I fell in the gutter and he proposed. I celebrated with a wet dress and champagne,” chuckled De Jager.

Ashana Harryparsad and Kershlin Naidu have been dating for eight years and enjoy spoiling each other throughout the year.

“Romance is not about the size of the gift, it is about making the effort,” said Harryparsad.

“I look forward to Valentine’s Day because we celebrate it and I always think of new ways to surprise Ashana,” said Naidu, adding that the thing he loves about her is her “strength, intelligence and charming disposition”.

Lynice Gobey and Kyle Noel have been together for five years, but are celebrating their first Valentine’s Day.

“We always hit a bit of a rough patch in previous years. It was only after our last incident last year, when I realised that I could lose her forever that I realise how important she is to me.

“She is the first person I think about when I wake up and the last when I go to sleep … ” said Noel.

“He is the only man I ever want to be with … Sometimes it does take a scare like that to make you realise just how lucky you are to have that person. Now we won’t take each other for granted — ever.”

*Not their real names.

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