Friday, February 8, 2008

Valentine's Day--A Man's Perspective

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.


Daniel said...

Could not agree more Will. If we men had done better for our wives for generations, Valentine's Day would not be able to be commercialized. I mean we don't have a "Leave Work and Go Out For A Beer With the Guys Leaving Your Wife at Home" day.

Travis said...

Well said, Daniel. I truly believe that Valentine's Day is a result of complacent romance.

Alison said...

I'll save my comments for later.

And you might be surprised in some ways.

Dave said...

Amen, brother, amen!

It's not about getting out of doing something special for my wife this one day a year. It's about stepping up and making my wife feel like royalty all year.

Of course I have the cool wife who suggested only a month into our marriage that we spend our first Valentine's Day as a married couple at a minor league hockey game. Woohoo! Go sweets!

Dave said...

And could we change the "Leave Work and Go Out for a Beer With the Guys Leaving Your Wife at Home" day to: "Go Quail Hunting and Drinking Dr. Peppers With the Guys" day?

So, instead of LWAGOWTGLYWAH day, we have GQHADDPWTG day. Hmmmm...maybe we need to rethink the holiday name. We can't expect us men to remember a name that long. Too much effort.

Daniel said...

Good one Dave.

I just mean that it had to be a woman behind the commercialization of the holiday who wanted a little attention from her man. Now all the rest of us have to suffer from one high maintence woman turning all the rest that way. (Obviously this paragraph is not serious so restrain the critism.)

I do want to know why all appearances is that the holiday is for man to accpreciate woman. Does it appear differently to anyone else? We men seem to have to step up for the women - according to commercials, cards, VD gifts and all other visual observations of the holiday it appears to belong to the fairer species. Am I wrong? (I bet responses mnight vary by gender for this one)

Travis said...

The VD gift is a gift that keeps on giving. Now that you mention it, why must the man bear the brunt of the love holiday? But then again, do we really want to receive flowers? For that matter, do we want ANY kind of gift that requires nurturing? Yikes, what if a woman gave us a .... KITTEN? Or something worse?

dave said...

Travis, it's too bad you got out of the parking lot before we beat me to the VD gift punchline.

As a man, I can think of a few things we could do with a kitten. Of course it would be a part of the LWAGOWTGLYWAH holiday.


(just kidding)

Daniel said...

Ooops. Sorry Will about turning your blog into an non PG rating. Did not even notice the VD thing.

Why can we not provide chocolates and flowers for the ladies and they can get us coffee and steaks? We could turn the entire thing into dinner, desert and flowers for atmosphere. And with the steaks, we would even be doing the cooking (which does not mean a good Vltn Dy in my house btw).

Travis said...

I'm willing to give the steak idea a try.

dave said...


For the record, I do hope you'll do something special for your wife tomorrow. Your stand is noble, but tomorrow could be bad if every other woman in the world feels special except for your wife.

Travis said...

Never fear, my Valentine's Day plan has never failed...Let not your heart be troubled.

My wife and kids have already been gifted with a very special token of my appreciation.

dave said...

This conversation reminded me of this video. The sad part is that there are probably a lot of husbands like this, and this guy's cluelessness at the end cracks me up. "Not now!" funny stuff.