Last Thursday was Valentine’s Day. It’s a day where, traditionally, couples celebrate their love and devotion to one another by doing something romantic – writing special love notes, buying gifts, eating out.
Valentine’s Day is something that I have typically scoffed at. I don’t need a day to re-pledge my love to my wife. I believe that I do that every single day. I do it with every hug, kiss, or touch. I do it with every “I love you” and every “thank you.” , and I especially don’t need that day to be packaged and wrapped deeply in commercialism.
A Fresh Perspective
This year, I’ve had a change of heart.
It was only a small thing, but it dawned on me that, in spite of our regular dates, Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to show that I am not taking my wife for granted. It’s something I never thought I would do. But I think that on some level, and in spite of our deep love and affection for one another, I have come to simply accept and expect that Kylie will be there each morning, and that she will do her ‘jobs’ as I do mine, and that things won’t change.
The realisation of just how easy it becomes to take our spouses for granted hit me when I asked my friends what they were doing for Valentine’s Day. I could categorise the responses into three separate types of response – the annoyed, the apathetic, and the busy:
“I don’t need a commercialised day of public devotion where I’m supposed to spend money or time on my spouse. How pathetic.”
“Pfft. Nothing. He knows I love him. I cook his meals and clean for him. If he wants to do something for Valentine’s Day it’s up to him.”
“We have a meeting, plus I’m organising that thing for Friday, etc etc”In fact, as I asked around, I didn’t speak to anyone at all who had plans for Valentine’s Day… until I bumped into some newlywed friends of mine who had arranged for a picnic. Something there perhaps? Young love doesn’t take itself for granted?
If we don’t celebrate our relationships, invest in them, and make them a priority, they fall apart. They simply have to. For anything to flourish and thrive – or even to simply keep working – we have to service it, maintain it, give it attention. And in no place is this more evident than in our family relationships.
I’ll admit it. Where once Kylie and I used to stand on the balcony and wave to one another as we drove out of the driveway (after kissing like we might never see one another again), nowadays we often fail to even kiss. In fact, oftentimes we are so distracted that we barely look up from the computer or whatever task it is that occupies our attention.
This Valentine’s Day just gone has been a reminder to me that we need to celebrate our love. And we show that best through time and attention.
A prominent psychologist had been married to her husband about a year. Her birthday was approaching and she told him:
“I’m not mercenary, but I like a good present.”His response was something along the lines of “Isn’t it the thought that counts.” To which she replied
That’s what people say when they don’t want to put thought into it.”While some might argue that we don’t need Valentine’s Day, with it’s crass commercialism and shallow pronunciations of ‘love’, we do need to celebrate our love. February 14 is a great time to start, but we can and should be finding little things to do every day – literally every day – that demonstrate those same feelings.
How did we celebrate?
A tasty long lunch, a romantic dinner for seven (Kylie and I plus our five kids) in our dining room with the kids, and a promise to kiss and wave goodbye on the balcony whenever one of us leaves.
Kylie and I have been married 15 years next month. We love each other deeply. In spite of our time together, our children, and our commitment and love for one another it’s easy to become complacent in our relationship. But happy families are incompatible with taking one another for granted.
Watching others and changing the way we do things made this Valentine’s Day a great reminder that love needs continued momentum to grow stronger.
What do you think of Valentine’s Day? Did you celebrate, or do you see it as just another one of those triumphs of commercialism over common sense?