There was a time when Valentine’s Day was a day we celebrated the beautiful story of St. Valentine. During the third century in Rome, Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and children, so he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, a priest at the time, believed the decree to be unfair, so he married young couples in secret. Needless to say, the Emperor was ticked off when he found out, so he had his cronies put Valentine to death.
A priest martyred for love makes an intriguing story, wouldn’t you agree?
So here we are, like a bazillion years later, and somehow over time this beautiful story of a priest who believed in the right for a man to marry the woman he loved regardless of whether he was a soldier or not…so much so that he was willing to risk his life… has been distorted into what we now know Valentine’s Day to be. Let me explain…
I recently read an article written by a contributing writer for Match.com entitled “How to Avoid V-Day Disasters This Year”. In the article, the writer, Jan Ganahl, opens by talking about how Valentine’s Day is supposed to be about flowers, chocolate and romance, but “…also fills people’s hearts with angst, dread and sadness.” How does a day that commemorates the death of a beautiful Saint who died so others could share their love for eachother end up bringing about angst, dread, and sadness? One word: materialism.
You see, Ganahl goes on to explain that “…like death and taxes, Valentine’s Day is just another inevitable part of life.” I won’t quote the entire article, but the short version is that in Jan Ganahl’s opinion, if you go wrong on Valentine’s Day…if you buy the wrong thing, make reservations at the wrong restaurant, or heaven forbid let the day simply pass by, you may very well be committing relationship suicide. She uses terms like “relationship disasters” and “major disappointments” and suggests that settling for the stereotypical flowers and chocolate may not be good enough.
One thing that has always amazed me about Valentine’s Day is that about 99.9% of the “pressure to perform” is placed on the man’s shoulders. Men are expected to spend a small fortune trying to read their significant other’s minds and not be accused of simply “opting for an easy out.” Doesn’t it take two people to be in a relationship?
Shouldn’t each member in the relationship show their mutual love for one another on Valentine’s Day?
Why is it the man’s burden to show his love but not the woman’s opportunity to show her love as well? Rarely do we ever see those famous Hallmark commercials where the woman is struggling to find just the right gift for her boyfriend or husband. That is something I just do not understand.
When I read pieces like this, it infuriates me. While I realize these pieces are, most of the time, meant to be tongue-in-cheek takes on various topics, this one just got to me.
The materialism that surrounds Valentine’s Day seems a bit ridiculous to me. I find it hard to believe that the wrong flowers or jewelry purchase would actually be a relationship “disaster”.
When I think of relationship disasters I think of affairs or divorces…not flowers. When I think of someone’s heart being filled with angst, sadness and dread I think back to friends of mine who’s husbands are deployed, or friends who have lost their husbands due to war or cancer. It is my belief that words like angst should be reserved for more important situations than getting flowers you don’t like.
I have to honestly say, I don’t think I know anyone personally who would be upset if their significant other bought them a modest gift for Valentine’s Day rather than going to Jared’s. Most people I know are grateful just to have their loved ones in their lives on a daily basis. I have known true tragedy, and I can guarantee you it had nothing to do with restaurant reservations, chocolates, or flowers.
This Valentine’s Day, let’s keep things in perspective. Each day is a gift…each day spent with the one you love is an even bigger gift! We are only guaranteed this present moment…get it, present moment. The moment is the gift. Flowers die. Chocolates get eaten. Jewelry goes out of style. True love endures all things. While you celebrate this Valentine’s Day, remember it’s not about the stuff…life is precious, treasure your loved ones and pay tribute to the beautiful Saint who gave his life for love…St. Valentine!
- Keeping Christ in Christmas
- Happy Monday!