Let me speak clearly: I hate Valentine’s Day. Now, before I completely loose my audience, let me explain, and then I will back-peddle like a champ.
I am morally offended that we as a culture have allowed peer pressure, expectations, and capitalistic marketing ploys to demand our participation in an event that we should have observed on a daily basis. I want everyone to understand: I’m not opposed to displaying my affections for the love of my life, but I despise the fact that I’m being forced to participate in a marketing scheme of gargantuan proportions—all at the risk of mortally wounding my wife if I fail to meet the expectations thrust upon me by my culture. I despise the message Valentine’s Day sends to our children. I hate the way Valentine’s Day makes men believe that if they provide flowers once a year to their wives, then they have met their obligations. Finally, I am angry at the pressure placed upon dating couples to engage in forbidden activities on Valentine’s Day.
That being said, let me run for cover. I mentioned that I love my wife. She’s the greatest thing that has happened to me beyond my salvation and my children. To say that I didn’t deserve to woo such a captivating woman is unnecessary. I know my limitations, and I know how hard I can be to live with.
I try to continually remind my wife how much I love her and respect her. So, why must I participate in a day that has been commercialized by profiteers? I’m the first to admit that I don’t always succeed at demonstrating my love to my wife. I’m a flawed man, and, despite my grandest efforts, I occasionally fail to treat my wife as she deserves to be treated. But must I be forced by our culture to bend to marketing pressure?
Consider this: What is the message we are sending to our children when we load them up with 3 or 4 dozen Valentine’s cards to distribute amongst their friends? Isn’t Valentine’s supposed to be about your one true love? What kind of mixed message are we giving by handing out a card to EVERY boy or girl in the class and declaring that they are your one unique love? How many children will ask countless others to “be mine?”
Furthermore, if you are in a marriage or relationship that requires a reminder on February 14th, to offer a token of your love, then the relationship needs to be tuned up a little. Shouldn’t Valentine’s Day be a regular event in your love life, rather than an annual obligation?
I have steadfastly refused to participate in Valentine’s Day for the past few years. Out of protest, I offer flowers to my wife and daughter either before the 14th or after the 14th, but never, ever on the 14th. Am I being silly? Perhaps, but the peer pressure, which is driven by marketing mechanisms, offends me greatly.
I can further explain my position by describing what happens on a typical cruise ship. On most cruises, there is a special evening set aside called the formal night. On this night, the passengers dress up in their finest attire and dine and dance in the lap of luxury. Most men loathe this event. Now, allow me to insert what might seem like a contradiction to my argument at this point. I not only participate in the formal night, but I encourage all men to participate in this event. To most men, it is a nuisance to dress up and parade around in clothing they are unfamiliar with, and participate in events with which they are foreign. How selfish!
Women are not like men. To them, a special night of pampering is the most romantic date imaginable. For a man, it would be the equivalent of a wife going hunting with her husband, and then proceeding to join him at the Super Bowl, followed by a night of exciting, daring conjugation. Most men would give their right arm for a woman that would participate in such a date. So, why would a man refuse to treat his wife to a special date that is equivalent in the opposite extreme?
Having made that point, allow me to say that Valentine’s Day is not supposed to be an annual reminder that we have been stuck together for another year. A relationship needs to be developed and cultivated, as one would any other passion in their life. Romance is a life long intimacy that needs to be coveted dearly. The practical aspect of a curious glance across a crowded room is often unavailable for most couples. However, there are other elements of romance that will take your relationship just as far. For instance, helping change diapers, wash dishes, or helping with the daily chores might score more points than a vase of flowers.
Of course, one can never go wrong with a slow dance, a kiss in the rain, roasting marshmallows in the fireplace, or long stem roses.
A final thought. I am concerned that Valentine’s Day has become focused on sexuality and dark red lingerie. Those things are fine for married couples, but a separate peer pressure occurs among dating couples to share with each other what isn’t available to be given away. I can only imagine the pressures faced by Christians who are trying to date in a world experiencing the most vulgar of sexual revolutions pressed upon us in last few hundreds of years.
My point is, we should resist the urge to participate in Valentine’s Day simply because we are expected to participate in it. Romance should be a regular event for every couple, not a once a year tooth extraction.