Valentine’s Day! The day designated all around the world as a celebration of love. Cards are delivered in scented envelopes from that “Special Someone” addressed to “The One I Love.” Bouquets of flowers arrive at the busiest time of the office workday, personally delivered for all to see. Reservations are made for romantic candlelit dinners for two in cozy little hideaways across the country. Lovers look dreamily into each other’s eyes while espousing their appreciation and everlasting love for one another. A very special day indeed… and then it’s over. What happens on the next day, and the day after that, and the day after that? What makes Valentine’s Day so very special? Perhaps because for most it is something unusual: an extraordinary display of love, attention and affection that is seemingly withheld or ignored most other days of the year. Granted the reality and busyness of life does not always allow for romantic getaways at posh hotels or luxurious bed and breakfast inns, and most budgets cannot afford the delivery of floral bouquets every day of the year, but what about the things we can afford and make time to do?
What makes Valentine’s Day so special for you? Is it a punctuated pause in an otherwise mundane and monotonous routine? Is it a perfunctory or obligatory giving of gifts or cards of more style than substance that serve as a sort of insurance against the potential or perceived hazard of not giving those things? Is it one of the few times of the year (maybe the only time of the year) that you can muster up the courage or consideration to express how you really feel?
It’s nice to receive special or even lavish gifts on a special day. But gifts of “love” without the weight of supportive and meaningful relationships to reinforce the giving of such gifts on “ordinary” days are like a rainbow in the sky after a rainfall: it is a beautiful thing to behold in the moment, but you know it will be gone in a little while. Valentine’s Day should be a comma instead of an exclamation mark in the life of our daily relationships. The last time I checked, a ‘thank you,’ ‘good morning,’ and ‘I love you’ were free; a smile was relatively inexpensive (unless your pride, comfort level or selfishness were at stake); a compliment, affirmation or word of encouragement didn’t cost a penny; a “just thinking of you” phone call or email note cost only a few minutes of your time. Expressions of kindness, consideration, appreciation and affirmation are gifts that we can show or give daily and we don’t even have to be someone’s “sweetheart” to participate.
I enjoy Valentine’s Day as much as the next person, but I’d much rather have Valentine’s Days where each and every day is spent giving and receiving gifts that have lasting value: gifts that affect not just the senses and memories, but gifts that permeate and strengthen the soul, character and outlook of our relationships. What about you? Happy Valentine’s Days!
About the Author: Aleathea Dupree is a relationship counselor and founder of Deep Waters, a resource website and interactive forum providing biblical answers to relationship issues. She is the author of the book Cheer Up Your Wife: A DIY Biblical Guide which shares God’s secret for a happy marriage and the visionary of the 365 Smiles project and the Cheer Up Your Wife Challenge. For more information, visit her website at cheerupyourwife.info.