Ah, Valentine’s Day, the day for lovers followed by the biggest date night of the year. ?On this holiday the syrupy diamond commercials tell me I should let my wife know I would marry her all over again. This, by handing her a tiny box holding a piece of jewelry worth a whole year’s worth of car payments. Ugh. Please stop. If I handed such a gift to Kristin she’d smile demurely, give me a kiss on the cheek, then ask me for the receipt so could get the ridiculous waste of money back to its rightful owners.

Senseless extravagance is no substitute for true passion. If I did buy Kristin a fancy diamond and she immediately returned it — and I am 100 percent sure she would — we would probably stop at a thrift shop on the way home so she could search for a real treasure among the used shoes and purses. I’m not sure if that’s the end game for the folks in the diamond ads, but that’s the way we do things around our place and it’s worked out surprisingly well for the past 32 years.

Some may suggest there’s more to life-long romance than agreeing on most things and finding a way to live with the things on which we will never agree, but no one can argue that those are some pretty sound building blocks. My mom and dad always used to tell us the key to a happy marriage is to never go to sleep mad at each other. Kristin and I have always taken this advice to heart and consequently, there have been a handful of nights when neither of us got any sleep at all. (I’m sure the same was true for Mom and Dad.) Still, that stubborn determination can work as much in favor of a relationship as it may seem to threaten it. Stubbornness in our world means never giving up — as in never giving up on each other.

I always found it a bit odd my parents would point to a method of conflict resolution as their "key" when it was obvious to me the secret to their happiness was actually just plain happiness itself. Each of them loved to laugh and when they were together, their joy was amplified tenfold. Even at times when the universe seemed bent on stripping every bit of joy from their lives they found a way through. They never gave up. They had the last laugh.

My faith sees them laughing right now, enjoying their first Valentine’s Day together in 22 years. I’d imagine there are little cherubs all around. Cupid is no doubt nearby. Heck, they may even be hanging out with St. Valentine himself! Who knows?

As for Kristin and me, Valentine’s Day will probably find us in the greeting card aisle at the local grocery store, each taking 20 minutes to pick out the perfect card for the other, exchanging them on the spot, then putting them right back on the rack and walking out arm in arm.

True love doesn’t require diamonds, but I couldn’t imagine love without laughs. Happy Valentine’s Day.

(Be sure to check out John’s weekly podcast "Out There In It" on thevoiceofholmescounty.com and find him on Facebook at JohnLorsonSendHelp.)