Ready the quiver with heart-shaped arrows, Feb. 14 has arrived. While florists, restaurants and greeting card companies, enjoy seeing the boost — $20 billion worth industrywide, in fact — many today seem to find the holiday a tad bit dated.
In an era of rampant cynicism, celebrating Valentine’s Day is actually on the decline. Ten years ago more than 60 percent of American adults marked the occasion. It has now slipped to roughly half, according to the National Retail Federation.
Of course, the origins of the celebration had little to do with love. In Roman times, it was the date of a fertility festival called Lupercalia, which paired women with men by lottery (honestly, not so different from dating sites today). Later, it was linked to the martyrdom of St. Valentine in 270 C.E., who may have been killed on that date (also, super romantic).
Today, pinning down a reason for the drop in Valentine’s Day revelry is a bit of guessing game. There’s a chance that, in 2019, expressing affection, at least in a traditional way — flowers, candy, stuffed bears — is less fashionable than say a social media shout out.
But, it also seems that couples who are truly in sync celebrate that fact every day — not just on Feb. 14.
Take Tammy and Crawford Perkins for instance. The Brunswick couple has been in-step since they first got together back in 2012. The two were not looking for love then, quite the opposite, in fact. But when their eyes locked during one of Crawford’s performances at Tipsy McSway’s downtown, Cupid’s arrow found its mark.
“A mutual good friend drug me kicking and screaming to see Tipsy Tellers on Nov. 15, 2012, which Crawford was performing ... he was amazing,” Tammy said. “I knew he was meant to be with me.”
The two had their first official date on Dec. 1, 2012, and have been inseparable ever since. They tied the knot on April Fool’s Day, 2014.
Their secret to happiness is a simple one — they’ve embraced one another, quirks, flaws and all.
“In our relationship, we both accepted ourselves for who we really are and have never tried to be anything else,” Tammy said.
Her hubby agreed, wholeheartedly.
“When it’s ‘new love,’ you think that person is great and look past their flaws, but eventually, you try to change those flaws or become annoyed by them. That’s not how we are,” Crawford said.
“I don’t see any flaws in her because I love every quirk, look, snarl and beautiful smile she gives me. It’s all part of who she is. And she ‘is me,’ not ‘part of me. I absolutely, positively adore her.”
Though they met a little later in their lives, neither would change a thing, choosing instead to spend their days in gratitude for the special love they’ve found.
“l don’t remember my life before Crawford was in it, and I can’t imagine my life without him. I am so grateful that we found each other. There is no one that is more perfect for me than he is,” Tammy said.
“Someone asked me once if I wished we had met earlier in life. My answer is ‘no.’ We wouldn’t be the people we are today if we hadn’t traveled the roads we did. That is what makes us perfect. I will cherish every day I have with him in it.”
Crawford, true to form, echoes her sentiments.
“It’s such a rare thing to meet someone who truly understands and completes the person you are truly. A person who is on your mind and in your heart 24 hours a day,” he said.
While every couple walks a different path, Dixie and Roger Baucom’s road together has been a long one — more than 50 years. The St. Simons Island residents were high school sweethearts, who started dating in 1967.
“It was our senior year,” Dixie recounted. “And then we thought we were all grown up at 19 and decided to get married in 1969. Actually, Roger was just days away from being 20.”
Despite being young, it seems as though the two made a good call when they said ‘I do’ on Feb. 7, 1969, in Sugar Creek Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, N.C. The couple went on to have two children, April and Jacob, as well as grandchildren. They also had fulfilling careers.
Today, they are enjoying retirement, while Dixie also teaches yoga locally at Balance Wellness.
While the oath has not always been an easy one, having one another has softened the blows life has dealt. The Baucoms simply chose to let challenges bring them closer together rather than drive them apart.
“We’ve pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps,” Dixie said with a laugh. “But we’ve always treated each other with respect. We just aren’t rude to one another ... we never have been. Sure, we’d have spats but I’ve heard some couples who speak really harshly to one another ... we have never done that.”
“We’ve been patient and kind to each other. It works,” he said. “She fulfills the part that’s missing in me. Being around Dixie lets me see things through her eyes and it’s made me a more complete person.”
The same is true from Dixie’s perspective. She feels their real secret is that each provides balance for the other.
“I’m a free spirit and he’s more analytical. He’s like an anvil that grounds me and I’m the balloon that lifts him up,” she said. “It’s been quite the ride.”