It’s getting close! Valentine’s Day!! What to do? What to buy? How do I show the special someone in my life how much I care? And you have to do it, everyone does! Its’ Valentine’s Day and even some who insist Valentine’s Day was invented by Hallmark, have to suck it up and participate because chances are, their spouse or significant other does not agree. And, I don’t either, for the record. But I do believe you can spend $0 in showing your love how much you love! That’s right, you heard me, ZERO DOLLARS…or maybe just a few. 😉 (Sorry retail industry…but not sorry!)
Now, what is the deal with Valentine’s Day? Why do we separate a day dedicated to love that gives Hallmark, and Walmart, and Target, and every other retail and hospitality giant the perfect opportunity to exploit one of the most basic of human needs; love and companionship?
I’m sure you know that Valentine’s Day was named in honor of St. Valentine who was martyred around A.D. 270. There is some mystery wrapped around his story however. One tale says, that sometime during the third century in Rome, the Emperor outlawed marriage for young men since it was his opinion that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families. St. Valentine, seeing this decree as unjust and a violation of a God given right, married young couples in secret. Eventually, St. Valentine’s priestly duties were discovered by the Emperor and thus executed for his treason. (That one is my favorite!)
The other story tells of Valentine working to help Christians escape the inhumane conditions of Roman prisons, where they were beaten and tortured for their faith. He was eventually imprisoned and put to death for his efforts. However, while in prison, it is said that he fell in love; possibly with the prison guard’s daughter. Shortly before his death he wrote his sweetheart a farewell poem and signed the note, “From your Valentine.” (I actually like this one too!)
Both accounts are incredibly heroic and romantic, so it’s easy to see how the day dedicated to him is also dedicated to celebrating love. In the 5th century, Pope Gelasius officially declared February 14th, St. Valentine’s Day in honor of his sacrifice. It is believed that hand written notes or cards for Valentine’s Day started in the 1400’s, as the oldest Valentine’s Day love poem ever found is dated 1415. From that time until the early 1900’s, Valentine’s Day was expressed with “small tokens” and hand written notes or letters. In the 1900’s the advancements in printing gave way to printed and mass produced Valentine’s Day cards.
It seems pretty impossible…however true, that in a mere 100-ish years, Valentine’s Day has morphed from a day representing tenderness and care, expressed with a “small token” or “hand written card,” to a day drenched in consumerism and pressure and big money! Those BIG retailers tell you through bombarding advertisements and commercials and store displays that in order to impress or adequately show the depth of your love, you need to go to an unusual financial depth as well. Financial depth = depth of love. True? Not a chance! So I beg you, turn away from the trend of spending big bucks in an effort to show your love on Valentine’s Day!
God says in Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” This world tells us we need more, we want more stuff to be happy. On Valentine’s Day, the world then tells us we need and want to give more stuff to make our loved ones happy! If I’m asked to sit and really take inventory of the ways in which my husband can “make” me happy, its all about time and effort and consideration. Nothing puts in me in a better mood than when Josh, without me asking, does the laundry or empties the dishwasher or decides to take the kids out for a boys outing! For me, when Josh expresses his love through acts of service or spending quality time with me, that is where the the giving is perfect and good.
I think many of us, if we’re really honest, feel the same. Would I want a new, shiny, fancy watch or would I want Josh to plan for us to get a coffee and go for a walk, just the two of us, and get some time alone to talk and to focus of each other? Personally, I would 100% prefer the second option! No contest! Now, full disclosure, I do love flowers and dark chocolate…which do cost some, and Josh could never go wrong with a heartfelt card, dark chocolate, and flowers!! I really truly feel that spending any more than a modest amount of money on Valentine’s Day, almost cheapens the sentiment. I would rather Josh put a tremendous amount of thought and effort in thinking and planning something that would really speak to me, as his wife. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society.” No day is more appropriate to take the good doctors vital advice than on Valentine’s Day. Avoid focusing on the things and focus fully on your person! What would speak to them in a meaningful way?
Here are some little to no cost ideas you can use on Valentine’s Day!
- Leave a trail of Hershey kisses to _____. (you, flowers, candlelit dinner, music, etc.)
- Heart shaped sticky notes on the mirror in the morning, each expressing a specific thing you love about your love. (I did this one for Josh a couple years ago!)
- A handmade coupon book, filled with coupons your partner would for real use and appreciate! (Josh did this for me a couple years ago and they included coupons like, a device/media free day, clean the kitchen, a 15 minute massage)
- Time together, alone, to talk and to listen. Even for a long walk. (This one is HUGE if you have small children together!)
- Some kind of lingering to-do list thing that your love would be blown away by getting done. (For instance, Josh knew I wanted a kitchen banquet in our NC house…so he got it done for one Valentine’s gift. I was floored and amazed and totally in love!! 😉 )
- A love letter detailing your road together and the aspects and qualities you love most about your sweetheart.
Anyway, I think you get the picture. Be careful of the messages being sent from the world around us; the ones trying to convince you that you need to do more, give more, spend more to convince your significant other of your love for them. Focus on the person, not the thing and it will be good and perfect. Let me know how it goes!!
Til’ next time, be blessed! #DStrong
(Re-post this!! I truly appreciate you reading!)