All across the world February 14th is known as lover’s day. It is supposed to be a time when people in love celebrate the love between them, secret loves make known their heart’s desires, and even children exchange Valentine cards with their crush. Approximately 150 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged annually, making Valentine’s Day the second most popular card-sending holiday after Christmas. This is actually not surprising since we as humans thrive on love and we become dysfunctional without it. I understand the concept of a “Lover’s day,” however it should be unnecessary. It is my contention that most people do not know how to love. That is why my first blog was called “Learn to Love 101.”
Learn how to love
If we really knew how to love, then Valentine’s day would be unnecessary, or at least not as important, because by definition Love is an outward expression that never stops. This is the reason that so many marriages are in trouble today, and perhaps yours is as well, because so many do not know how to love. Everyone wants it but not everyone knows how to do it. But…I digress.
I had a couple in my office this week and they were fighting because the husband did not plan anything for Valentine’s day and the wife felt unimportant and unloved. As we talked through the real feelings behind what the wife was hoping for we discovered that their marriage actually was going well until the topic of came up Valentine’s Day and popular culture said, “You need to do something extra special and spend a lot of money to let your lover know you love them today.” She had bought into the lie of Valentine’s Day. The lie that says “this is THE day that your love must show up or it doesn’t count.” What about the other 364 days? Now, before you tune me out and stop reading (if you haven’t already) I am NOT anti-Valentine’s Day. I actually like the holiday myself. But as a therapist, what I have seen is couples who place too much importance on this one day and not enough on the rest of the year.
Take it easy
The fact that so much emphasis is placed on this one day actually speaks to a deeper darker reality about the state of marriage and relationships. More “love gifts” are exchanged and more love is expressed on this day which is evident by the increase in greeting card sales. But why? Why is February 14th any different than March 1st? Or July 28th? So many relationships are starving for love that when the designated day to show love comes around it is like a mirage in the desert to a man dying of thirst…he runs to it with all his might with hopes of being refreshed only to realized it wasn’t real.
If they haven’t shown you how much they love you all year, then why would any gift on Valentine’s Day mean anything at all? And if they have been showing you love all year then what is the big deal if you don’t get a big celebration on this one day? I’m not saying don’t go all out for Valentine’s Day and I’m not saying don’t treat your mate special that day. What I am saying is do not to let this one day determine how strong or weak your relationship is.
I will close with this: Do not ever forget that Love is not about you, love is about the person you are loving. You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving and the very first and most important thing you must give is YOU! Happy Valentine’s Day!