I don't understand the point of Valentines Day. To me, the holiday is pointless.
Let's take Christmas for example. Why do we celebrate Christmas? Well, because (in my opinion, and most will agree with me) that was the time that Jesus came down to earth, and we rejoice that the Son of Man was born. We are so grateful that God humbled Himself and took human form to live among men.
Easter is similar: we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. We remember his sacrifice on our behalf on the cross and lament for our sins, but then rejoice that Jesus has conquered death and has set us free! That is a reason to celebrate!
Even days like Memorial Day, we honor those soldiers who have died. Martin Luther King Day, we honor one of the greatest leaders in our nation. But on Valentines Day...... What? We remember.... love?
I get the intent: this is one day a year you are to make your significant other feel important--like they mean the world to you and to show the world how much they mean to you. It is a time to celebrate each other and remember the love you first had long ago. It is a time to re-kindle that love and show each other the full extent of how much you mean to each other. Shoot, sometimes it is an excuse to get out of the house and go on a date! (Especially if you have kids and cannot get out as much!)
I have some problems with this.
Why do we need to re-kindle love? Did it die?
I understand love starts to loose it's luster over time. Being in a romantic relationship myself, I have not arrived to that point just yet because our relationship is still young--but I have talked to several married couples that say, "Some days you look at your spouse... and you don't feel anything. Those butterflies in your stomach aren't there anymore."
Gary Chapman describes this phenomenon in his book The Five Love Languages. He says at that point, we need to start speaking each other's love languages. I have already wrote on this before (hence the hyperlinks), but to briefly reiterate: we should be speaking each other's love languages all the time. That way, the love experience isn't a decline that needs a jump-start once a year, but an on going roller-coaster with peaks and falls and excitement the entire time.
Some would say that Valentine's Day is just one of those peaks. I wouldn't disagree. I say that is totally fine. That is how I am using this day. However, I am not making February 14 more important than any other day.
Why don't we celebrate our love twice a year rather than once? Why not four times a year? Why not monthly?
This idea reflects off what I stated just a few sentences ago. We should be having "Valentine's Days" once a month with our spouses. I know that kids get in the way. I know jobs are hectic and volunteering for things only adds more time. I know that Clayton is involved in soccer and Ruth is in ballet and they take up all your free time. Still, I think it is feasible to find at least a few hours a month to devote to each other.
I know, I know: I am not married yet, and I cannot possibly imagine how busy and stressed everyone is. But I have always lived by this philosophy: "You make time for what you love most." I plan on making time for my wife. And it that means that I have to give up playing StarCraft once in a while, then I am all for it. If I have to give up sleep because that is the only time we can talk, then I plan on doing it. I am making this commitment now so when I get married, I can live up to it. (And I'm asking you all to hold me to this.)
I have heard that if you don't make time for each other, then your marriage will start to be strained. Your marriage should even be placed before your children. Some would disagree. This is not my opinion, these are the opinions of wiser people than I will ever be telling me this advice. I am going to listen to them.
Does the gift mean less knowing it is expected rather than spontaneous?
Be honest with me, what means more to you: when your husband comes home with a dozen roses randomly and says, "I just wanted to surprise you and tell you I love you," or when he comes on on Valentines Day and hands you roses, knowing he got them on sale and says, "Happy Valentines Day!"? Guys, what if your woman was like, "I made your favorite meal and favorite desert and we are going to watch whatever movie you want tonight, just the two of us," instead of, "It's Valentines Day! We are having your favorite meal!" (implying it is the same meal as last year)? I know, when I put it that way, it's a easy choice and I totally am belittling the holiday. But I am trying to make a point. To me, a gift given out of obligation--or even sometimes to one-up the Jones--means way less than a gift given out of spontaneous love.
Some would disagree with this, and in fact, research shows that anticipation for something is much more powerful than surprises. Surprises tend to offset people, because you can never predict the emotions going on in their head the moment before they are surprised. But if you wait... then they know it is coming and are anticipating the moment until it finally happens. I am not arguing with research. In fact, I plan on using anticipation more than surprise.
Still, knowing that everyone else is doing the same thing or similar things on that day--knowing that people are making a profit off of my romance--belittles the experience for me. I would rather show my girlfriend how much she means to me when the flowers aren't "On sale for 50% off!" or "Buy one get your second one free!" I would rather give her what she wants rather than a box of chocolates where she won't even eat half of them because they are disgusting. I would rather buy her some candy she will love and eat.
I propose having a dinner for your significant other once a month and letting them know a week in advance: "Honey, next Friday is our date night. I'm going to take you out to your favorite place and then we're going to see the new movie you wanted to see." That way, it gives them anticipation, but it isn't expected all the time, like Valentine's Day is every year. Plus, you are not doing the same thing everyone else in America is doing. To me, that makes the night even more special.
Doing what's expected
I think so many times people just do what is expected of them: "Today is the 'Love Day,' so I guess I should buy my woman a teddy bear..." Where is the romance in doing what is expected?
When you are feeling bad and you tell someone about it, most of the time if you tell them you expect them to comfort you. Normally, the comfort feels pretty good. When they don't you feel worse. Sometimes Valentine's Day just causes problems because people are expected to do something and it doesn't happen.
In the same way, when someone is in a relationship, you don't tend to settle on what is just expected. You do more. If we did what was only expected, then nobody would move past friends. In my view, romantic relationships is when you go above and beyond the expected. On Valentine's Day, it's hard to beat the "expected" because some people go way out of their way. So...pretty much anything you do is expected.
Alright, I have to insert a Jesus Juke here, because it fits so well (plus, I'm gonna be a pastor, we find sermon illustrations in pretty much anything). Are you only doing what is expected for God? How much do you love God? Do you love Him enough to go above and beyond the standard and show Him the true extent of how much you love Him? He did for you; He showed you so much love that He was not only your defendant on a punishment you deserved, but He took your place, took the punishment for you, and then set you free to live a wonderful, abundant life. Are you just doing what is expected for Him? Remember, you are His bride; are you being a good "wife"? Are you treating Jesus with the same love you are treating your spouse?
Jesus Juke over, back to the main post.
Everything I have posted about above are the reasons why I don't like Valentines Day. I see on my Newsfeed statuses, videos, and pictures all telling each other how much they love each other. Why not do that in person? Why post all your romance online for all to see? Romance is private to me, I don't want to see you making out with your your significant other on my Newsfeed. Gross....
That's not saying all posts are bad. I don't mind the, "I've been married to the love of my life for 14 wonderful years now! She is the woman of my dreams!" or the occasional picture with the caption: "Look at what my boyfriend got me for Valentine's Day! I have the best man ever!" I don't mind those statuses, but I would like to see those more often than once a year. I want to see those in the middle of July when there is no romantic holiday.
But then again, I'm just a Scrooge.
Following His Call,
1 Corinthians 13:4