I admit it. I hate Valentine’s Day with the obligatory fervor of an enlightened, hip, 30-something. On behalf of our friends who haven’t found or kept love, we aren’t supposed to like this day. It’s not cool. And who wants The Man telling us when to buy presents and love people? Not me.
But when I thought about it this week, I ran out of excuses for not diving in and feeling all the warm fuzzies the day has to offer. If you want to continue hating Valentine’s Day, be my guest. Maybe you should stop reading. But hear me out. Here are five reasons we hate it and why I think they aren’t very good excuses.
1. Valentine’s Day is supposed to represent and promote love, but instead, it got ransacked by commercialism. Well, so did Christmas and Easter, and I still wrap presents and hide eggs without too much complaining. Don’t you? I look forward to both of those holidays as time with family and friends, an excuse to slow down and think differently about God and the people I love. So why not do the same with Valentine’s Day? Besides, I think capitalism is still the best financial system available to humanity. It has no feelings, but it sure knows how to make a buck on mine. Oh well. God bless it.
2. Valentine’s Day is an Emotional Day of Obligation. Not only do I despise bad chocolates, conversation hearts and general kitsch and cheese, what I hate most is the feeling that I “should” do something for someone or they are going to get their feelings hurt. But then, why celebrate any holiday ever? Why celebrate birthdays or anniversaries because those are also “days of obligation”? Why welcome some of those days and get mad at the others?
3. My husband already knows I love him. Even though I love my husband, I don’t tell him every day. I probably say it to my son when I tuck him into bed at night. Some of the love exchanges are built into our routine. But the routine my husband and I keep usually allows for quality time, dinner conversation, life troubleshooting and then goodnights. It’s easy to forget all the reasons I married him, to let the daily rhythm put me into auto-pilot. I need a day set aside just for love. And I need to appreciate the calendar gives it to me.
4. Valentine’s Day is so cheesy. But it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes it feels like the love exchanges on a day set aside for love are hokey and contrived. Much of what I can pick up at Hallmark doesn’t fit my relationship with my husband. We are playful and sarcastic and poke fun at each other. I can’t give him sentimental sap and feel good about it. But there are other options. I can make my own cards or notes. I can think about his love languages and make him breakfast in bed with a letter about how awesome he is (he is a service and words love language mix so I would fill his love tank for a year with this one.) I can make it my own without selling out.
5. People flaunt love on Valentine’s Day and it makes people feel bad. Sure, but that doesn’t mean I am flaunting love. When I was single, Valentine’s Day was a reminder I wouldn’t be getting flowers, dinner invites or feeling someone’s arms around me. It felt like a sharp stab in my wound of loneliness I didn’t know how to fix. “Cool,” I thought. “There’s an offical day of the year to remind me that I can’t get a date.” But that’s not the point at all. While Valentine’s does highlight romantic love, it also invites the appreciation of all the love we have in our lives. We pass out cards to classmates in school, we place flowers as centerpieces in restaurants, and if we aren’t too cranky, the reminders of love can beautify all areas of our lives.
So if you like love, have friends, and you celebrate birthdays and major Judeo-Christian holidays, you might be out of excuses not to do something nice for someone you care about this week. Let’s love love and the people we love today, and what the heck – let’s do it again tomorrow and the next day too.
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