Is love not one of the greatest gifts on this earth? I think most would agree that it is. This is why it's so funny to me that people tend to hate Valentine's Day so much. It's a day to celebrate love, so if we all think love is one of the greatest things in the world, why oh why would we hate a full day to celebrate it?
I think the answer comes down to the fact that Valentine's Day has become this day where most ladies think they have to have a significant other who gives them sweet gifts in order for it to be a good day & most guys feel so much pressure to give the perfect gift even though they feel like this holiday is just an American marketing scheme to sell lots of flowers and chocolates. It doesn't have to be any of that.
Singles: this can be a day where you reflect on all the love in your life... the people you love and have loved, and the people you will love in the future. Call a family members and talk about how much you love each other and what fond memories you have together. Have dinner with a best friend and tell them how much their friendship means to you. Have a party with all your friends and celebrate love in general. Or... and this is a great option... spoil yourself! Go get a massage or a pedicure and then treat yourself to your favorite ice cream and watch your favorite movie. You're pretty fantastic, you know??
Taken ladies: are we putting too much pressure on our men? Have we been hinting about this fabulous holiday for weeks now and developing all kinds of expectations of all the romantic things we hope he'll do? Now that some of us have admitted to ourselves that we have done that, can we now respect why guys hate this holiday so much? Maybe they feel like they can't please us and that any gift won't be enough (even though we know this is false, they may not)? Or maybe they did something so romantic on a v~day in the past that they feel like they could never live up to that standard they set so they give up trying? How about we go into this day planning to celebrate our love and setting no expectations for what that should look like. Isn't our true objective to spend some quality time together and reflect on the beauty of our relationship, anyways? So girls, let's refocus our efforts on how to make this day special for them (since this holiday is not all about us, right?). So we want to feel extremely loved on this day because that's what energizes us, right? Does this mean men want the same things? Do they want to be taken out to eat and given nice things? Maybe… but we should also consider that according to Dr. Eggerich (author of Love & Respect), our man craves respect more than love and shoulder-to-shoulder time more than face-to-face time. This could mean lots of things… maybe your man would enjoy a nice mountain biking sesh with you. Or maybe your man is like mine and would love it if you would ride along with him while he plays 18-holes of golf. Or this could be grabbing him a cold beverage and making him dinner while he watches his basketball game or plays video games and then eating together on the couch. Ladies, if we serve our men and show them how much we appreciate them, how much more likely are they to want to spoil you when it's our turn? And hey, you might just discover a new hobby that the two of you enjoy doing together. :)
Taken guys: Have a significant other but feel so pressured by this overly-Americanized holiday that you just wanna scream and forget this day exists? Can I encourage you to pause and reflect on why you love those around you. Stop and think about if you want to bless that special someone in your life with a gift. If so, take a moment to really think about what she would love instead of running out and grabbing a dozen red roses, a box of See's and a teddy bear (although that's nice if that's what she loves). Does she like watching movies? Then go buy her favorite movie, some popcorn, a nice fluffy blanket, and some candy and wrap it all up (no the wrapping doesn't have to be pretty). Yes, that is actually enough if it's from the heart. Does she love the ocean? Then pack her a bag with sandals, a blanket and her favorite treats and take her for a walk on the sand. Hold her hand and tell her why you care about her and that you're excited about your future together. Does she love to read? Go grab the latest Nicholas Sparks novel and put it in a basket with some tissues, her favorite chocolate, some fluffy slippers and a book light. Does she adore a night on the town? Put her nicest dress out on her bed and leave her a single rose & a note saying "Hey gorgeous... You have one hour to get ready for a night on the town" then take her to her favorite restaurant, followed by a nice dessert before taking her home. Seriously, gentleman... more than anything, women want to know that you're assertive... that you notice all the little things about them and that you want to cater to their deepest desires. This will get you a lot further than grabbing a cliche gift at the last minute and only doing it because you feel pressured by society. Let this be a holiday where you let her know she is cherished and that you want to celebrate your love... simply because it's worth celebrating.
If nothing else, this should be a day of being thankful for the definition of love: God. God is love. God is the creator of love, God is the one who allows us to feel the beautiful emotion of love. He is the only One who never fails and never disappoints. I am forever grateful for His love and the beautiful picture of the ultimate act of love... the Savior dying on the cross for our sins because He loves each and every one of us more than He loved His own life. Now THAT'S something to be celebrated. So stop your moping and watching of sappy love movies and go read about God's great love if you have nothing else planned on this marvelous Valentine's Day evening. :) Love you friends.
Some verses on LOVE in the Bible: Deuteronomy 6:5, Psalm 36:7, John 16:27, 1 Corinthians 8:3, Ephesians 2:4, Ephesians 5:2, Titus 3:4, James 2:5, 1 John 4:7-16, 1 John 5:1-3