This Valentine's Day, we're celebrating love in its various forms. Whether directed at a lover, bestie, family member or yourself, we believe it's a reason to pause, reflect and appreciate. Because, as they say, love makes the world go around. First up, we have the wonderfully creative duo / couple, Amanda and Kristian Jones. On the eve of their 11th wedding anniversary, they opened the door and welcomed us in. Cue the heart eyes now.
my wild—hearted golden boy,
You have made all my deepest dreams come true. You are endlessly patient and kind to me. You bring so much beauty into our life and our home. You are an artist and it shows in every corner of your being. I love how invested you will get in a well crafted kitchen knife or how beautifully you roll your cables. You are generous and have taught me to be more fearless in my own generosity. I love how open you are and willing to give everything away. I love how good you are at letting things go and moving forward. Thank you for always pushing me to go after my dreams.
Every adventure, every piece of art, every thing I’ve created is because you believed in me from the very start and have never stopped. I am grateful for every day I get to live my dreams with you.
You are my constant. You are my whole world. I love you.
my dearest love
I know not why I reach to call you that, other than that there is nothing I hold more dearly, and no thing I love more in this world than you. I may not always show it but I treasure your thoughts, your nearness, your words, your wisdom. I love your constant encouragement and belief that I can do and be all that I might want to be. I love that you enjoy simple things, like watching TV while eating chocolate mousse, sitting in the sun drinking coffee, watching the full moon rise with constant wonder that it only happens when the sun is setting. I love that you are a complicated tapestry of beautiful chaos that I may never make sense of, yet you are also a breath of peace to my own wild internal sea. I love that you are always looking for people to help in their own creative journey - you’re never just focussed on yourself.
I love you. Just you. Be you and I will love it. You may change and grow but still I will love you. I knew right from the start this was it and it still is.
What does love mean to you?
A : We are celebrating our 11th wedding anniversary and we just feel so very grateful for our love. We know how lucky we are, not everyone has what we have. And we feel the same way about many of our friendships that have lasted as long as our marriage (or longer). A friend over the span of years is worth treasuring. When you find someone who fits in your world, makes you laugh, makes you feel at ease and thinks beautiful things about you - you hold on them with all you’ve got!
K : Love is a willingness to do anything for someone else. It’s a laying down of one’s self for the sake of another. I knew I was in love with Amanda right from the start because I knew I was willing to do anything, be anyone, change anything, if it would help her. So much of life is about yourself, but love is that openness to sacrifice for someone else without resentment or restraint, not to gain anything - it’s just because you treasure them so dearly.
What is your ideal Valentine's Day?
A : Valentines day is a week after our anniversary so it’s really a beautiful flow of celebrating our relationship. We like to celebrate simply. The most romantic moments are in between, drinking wine on the beach waiting for the moon to rise, listening to an album you both love on a long road trip or spontaneously dancing in the kitchen.
K : Pizza and a bottle of wine on the beach is perfection. This was basically what we did on our first Valentine’s Day together (sitting in my car in the rain) which was a week after saying ‘I like you’. It was followed by stopping in the middle of the road on the way back and slow dancing in the rain to The Mamas & The Papas.
Can you give us your top 3 -
1. Decide this is it - if you're all in and they're all in, make a decision not to break up. Find a way to work through any struggle or fight. Take the option of leaving out of the equation and it'll make you resolve every disagreement for the better.
2. If the other person needs some alone time, that's not a rejection of you. I sometimes need to just be alone, from even my wife. Learn to recognise that in yourself and in your partner and gently set some time aside for it. It's ok to want/need that sometimes and it's better to make it happen before tension builds and it breaks out in some ridiculous fight that neither of you knows what it's actually about.
3. Don't put all of something on the other person. Find a way to take even a little bit of every job, every role, every responsibility. There'll be some things you'll handle more than your partner, but always have at least a little of everything. You may not pay every bill, but at least pay some. You may not wash the dishes every night, but wash them sometimes. Dumping all of something on the other person can make them feel separate and alone, and any great relationship needs to be side by side all the way.
Be kind in tiny detail. Sweet gestures go a long way.
When conversations get heated, just have a break.
Expressions of love to others:
1. Learn how someone receives/feels love. Everyone is different and nothing will show them love more than you learning that and then putting it into practice.
2. I love cooking and hosting people in our house. Making them drinks, serving a delicious meal. Opening your home is inviting someone to be part of your family, even just for a night, and that can mean the world to someone.
3. Help. If you hear about someone who needs a hand, volunteer. Help your friend move. If you're free, watch a friend's kids so they can go out on a date. Make a meal for someone who is struggling or going through a hard time. It's hard and very vulnerable for someone to ask for help or even show that they need it. Being there as an answer rewards their openness and makes them feel loved and safe.
If you are thinking of someone you love, text them.
When you visit a friend, bring strawberries.
Stay late, let the conversation go long.
Acts of self-love:
1. Reading. I love to unwind and escape in a good book.
2. A nice beer after a hard day at work, something special/random and delicious. If you've been working hard, treat yourself a little. Find something small that you can easily repeat and makes you feel good. It'll make you less likely to resent that hard day/work.
3. Nice things. I love having something nice around me. Doesn't have to be everything, but small stuff like having a nice wireless charger for my phone each night helps me appreciate life. Having a nice coaster for my coffee cup on my work desk ups the game and helps me respect the space. And nothing beats drinking from a nice glass!
Don't judge what your heart is craving! As an artist I have this lofty ideal of being someone who goes to museums by myself (maybe one day I will be that sophisticated) but all I really want to do is sit in the sun, eat fruit and daydream.
My other tiny luxuries include, a fresh page, ocean swims and dark chocolate.
Photography by Charlotte Exton
Location: The Honest Jones studio
More: Diary of a Freelancer website and Instagram