OK, so some of you reading this are already mad at me for trying to spoil your special day, right? Believe me, I'm not attempting to mess up any good that will come out of your or my celebration. In fact, later today, my wife and I are going to celebrate a little early and also give each other something on the actual day. So there.
However, I need to use the occasion of Cupid's holiday to give us all some fair warning and challenge. Because you see, Valentine's Day and other somewhat man-made occasions designed to force us to do something nice can be deceiving.
First, they can help us feel better about the weaknesses in our relationship. We give each other a nice gift, card, dinner or whatever and then life continues on like normal. We feel good that we celebrated and were able to tell others about our gift giving but the rest of the year we're still struggling. We would be wiser to spend less on Valentine's Day and more towards counseling or at least time every week to be together and grow as a couple.
Second, they can distort what it means to truly be loving. Of course, the stores, flower growers and candy makers all want us to believe that giving their gifts will totally change our relationship. But we all should know at least that being loving is way more than giving some nice gifts now and then. Our gift giving is best when it's another gesture of the kind of love we've shared all year as opposed to making up for what we needed to be doing every day.
Third, they can cover up what it means to be truly intimate. I've said in other posts that intimacy in marriage involves way more than sex. It's closeness of body, soul and spirit. That takes a lifetime to begin, develop, sustain and enjoy. No holiday gifts will come anywhere near that kind of intimacy.
So, sure, go celebrate with your sweetheart. Do something nice and surprise him or her. But this year make it your goal to start or continue a relationship that has so much love in it all the time that Valentine's Day is just another beautiful rose in the bouquet of your life together. Hmm . . . where did I put that card?