Here it is again—Valentine’s Day.
You may think this will be an endless letter about how gourmet chocolates and a thousand roses can save someone’s life. You couldn’t be more wrong.
We celebrate mothers, birthdays, soccer games, Super Bowls, fathers, and a thousand more things. Yet wanting to celebrate love, to some, may sound like: let’s endure the most horrible day, judge each other, max our credit cards, and then be silently disappointed. Who would be up for that? Anyone? Of course not.
We have a misconception of what it means to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
One reason some of us hate this day is that we mistake “caring” for “buying presents.” When it comes to relationships, we want to know that the other person cares. Yes, it is that simple. To care could be to value and honor the other person in a way that we know will be joyful and fulfilling to their heart.
We want to know if you care to celebrate our love.
If you don’t think there are reasons to celebrate your love, then let me say this: no amount of caramel chocolates can replace your care. Go ask your person: What can we both do that would make this day special for us? Simple and honest.
Expectations: why should we spend our hard-earned money buying overpriced flowers?
We expect the other person to know exactly what we want, but most of the time, it is not discussed. We just expect each other to read minds. Be straightforward about the things that you would love, and also be open-minded about what the other person has the ability to give.
Communication can save us some dollars! I adore flowers, and I often buy them for myself. Yes, I also love receiving them. On this particular day, we don’t smile because we finally get to have flowers—believe me, we can buy them ourselves. We smile because you care! You care enough to gift me something that you know I will love. We can feel how genuine your effort is when it comes from the heart.
It’s an opportunity.
We can see this day as a responsibility, or a job of some sort: “If I don’t stop at the store and get an overpriced Valentine’s Day card or gift, they will be pissed.”
What if we thought of this day as another opportunity to show the person we chose to love and to be with how we feel about them? To remind them how much they mean to us?
“I don’t need a specific day or chocolates to tell someone that I care about them,” some might say.
You are absolutely right, you don’t! There are so many ways to express what a person means to you. You can spend quality time, you can have a picnic, and you can write in your own genuine words how you feel about this person—instead of using prepaid messages on cards that speak to no one’s heart. You could cook together, make love, watch a movie—why not? Look at the bright side, you get to share with this person how happy it makes you feel that they are in your life.
The advantage of past experiences.
Most of us have had bad (even horrible) experiences when it comes to Valentine’s day. But, just because we had bad experiences, it does not mean we need to repeat them, or that they will always be the same. Sometimes, we can see that the other person has those fears or bad experiences, even though we had nothing to do with them.
Start fresh. Let go of what has been and create new adventures and happy memories; celebrate in your very own way.
If we don’t learn from what has happened, then what is the purpose of having gone through those difficult times.
I love a passage in Waylon Lewis’ book, Things I Would Like to Do with You.
“We will be gone: if it all dies away, does love matter?
For that is for the future of the Past: what I have learned from her, and her, and her will shape my ability to love you, fully.”
What a beautiful thought, to believe that all our past experiences have equipped us or shaped us to love the next person better, more fully, more genuinely!
We don’t speak each other’s love language.
Yes, saying this feels like vomiting a trendy phrase; however, understanding “love languages” can be of service to us. We can connect better with our loved one, not only on a cutesy holiday, but every day.
Some of us prefer cheese pizza, some are definitely meat lovers, and for some, a Hawaiian extravaganza will do. Similarly, in matters of the heart, some people prefer physical touch, hugs, and kisses—making love is quality time. Others may prefer words, letters, and spoken affirmations. For others, surprises and gifts will excite their life.
Many of us, on this particular day, can feel that we already do so much for the other person. Or, maybe we are thinking only of what we would prefer, and we don’t take into consideration what the other person might like.
Quality over quantity is my answer to that. Ask questions, and get to know what puts a smile on your partner’s cute face and warms their brave heart.
Amazing poet Pablo Neruda said: “To feel the love of people whom we love is a fire that feeds our life.”
Fire can burn you, yes, but it can also provide warmth, it can make you roasted marshmallows, and it can turn into dust all that we no longer want. Fire can light any darkness, and bring explosion to our lives!
Embrace the fire. Let’s create new memories, let’s all make love, and let’s celebrate in a way that makes sense to us.
Love is precious. If you can feel it, you know it can’t be bought. Honor your special connection, Valentine’s Day or not.