I’ve been spending a lot of time lately getting myself ready for Valentine’s Day. Nothing out of the ordinary–picking out my favorite outfit, manscaping, honing my Rick Astley (that sounds dirty fella)–you know, dude stuff. I like Valentine’s Day. Of course I like it. What’s not to like? There’s candy, love, flowers, this:
Unfortunately, I have been noticing a lot of hatred towards V-Day going around lately. For the past couple of years, I have noticed friends, articles, news reports that focus on why we should stop celebrating the holiday d’amour (that’s sounds romantic, right? I am dreamy). The main argument seems to be that we shouldn’t need a special holiday to show each other we love each other, that if we truly loved each other, we would show each other every day of the year. Love is not about chocolate hearts, flowers, and John Cena, it’s about truly expressing our love for each other as often as possible.
Sure, they have a point; we shouldn’t wait until February 14th to show our love to those we care about most. We shouldn’t need Hallmark to be our voice in expressing how much we love our significant others. We shouldn’t wait until Valentine’s Day to treat our partners to a fancy dinner followed by Kenny G and rose petals. But just because we shouldn’t wait until then to do it, does that mean we should cease all celebration of the holiday? If my wife never questioned that I loved her–if she always knew how much she meant to me because I was constantly showing her–does that mean I should protest a day when it’s expected that I show her a little more?
See, I guess I take some offense to some of the anti-valentine-ist propaganda. Every time I read one of the articles or hear someone speak out, they tend to say it like this, “My husband doesn’t need a holiday. He dotes on me every day of the year.” The problem with that is, it implies they are above showing their love on V-day, that those of us who do are affectionately moronic and need the calendar to tell us when to buy flowers. Just because I celebrate Valentine’s Day, that doesn’t mean I don’t love my wife every other day. If I celebrate Christmas, does that mean I don’t think about Christ every other day? If I celebrate Festivus, does that mean I don’t air my grievances the other 364 days of the year?
Yes, we should focus on how much we love each other every day; that should be our baseline. But a holiday can create opportunity to express it in a way that might be a little more special. I think there cannot be enough holidays that remind us to focus on how much we love each other. Sure, Valentine’s Day is a little commercialized (luckily, otherwise I may not know that every kiss begins with Kay…or how creepy love can be…), but it can still be a holiday that can give us the opportunity to strengthen our relationships. It helps us focus on making our relationship a little bit better. It can make us a little more aware. Plus, it can provide us lots of romantic moments:
So please, celebrate Valentine’s Day. Take some time to be a little more focused on your relationship. A full commitment’s what I’m thinking of. You wouldn’t get this from any other guy…Curse you Rick Astley. So poetic, and so true.
Rob Porter, Ph.D., LMFT
Therapist/Marriage Therapist/Couple Counselor/Romantic Dude, Austin TX