What was St. Valentine—you know, the guy—all about and what does he have to do with us?
The truth is that Valentine was a Roman Christian martyr. What’s more… Well, there is no what’s more, because that’s all we know. According to Wikipedia,
The feast of St. Valentine of February 14 was first established in 496 by Pope Gelasius I, who included Valentine among all those “… whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to God.”
So for all you ladies who feel your husband is a hidden man who shares little about himself, but who too often acts like a martyr and demands to be “justly reverenced,” St. Valentine is your guy!
The rest is fairy tales, and a way for retailers and restaurants to make money two months after Christmas.
And that’s only one of the reason I don’t like Valentine’s day. The main reason I don’t like it is that it puts pressure on people to “celebrate their love” when too often they’re not even experiencing their love. Yeah, they love one another, but they’re not doing much day to day to make each other feel loved.
And when the big day rolls around, the best most of us can do is go for the tokens instead of the real thing. Flowers, a card, a gift, a dinner. Check, check, check, check. And done.
Based on decades of work with couples, I can comfortably predict that 83% of couples going to sleep at the end of Valentine’s day are thinking to themselves, Well, we got through it…sigh.
Perhaps the only use for Valentine’s day is for couples on the verge of taking their relationship to the next level anyway. V day can be a neat launching pad.
On the other hand, a lot of newish couples find they’ve been pushed to a new level by V day coming at them like a bus. If you can’t ignore it, you might as well hop on board, they thought. Six years, two kids, and a mortgage later, they wonder how different things would have been if V day had come later on in their relationship. Maybe they wouldn’t have felt stampeded into a committed relationship that wasn’t right for them.
Still, Valentine’s day is coming and unless you’re too cool for words you can’t completely ignore it. So what’s a really meaningful way of embracing the opportunity this holiday affords?
What you can do is take your love seriously, dammit. Tell each other not only that you love one another but why. Say why you love your partner in a way that makes her feel you really know her as she recognizes herself, as opposed to some unreal fantasy you carry around.
And here’s the present you really should exchange: Talk about one thing you each can do for the other that will make him or her feel loved on a daily basis. Seriously: “What’s one thing I can do every day to make you feel loved?”
And then do it.
Now THAT’S the gift that keeps on giving.