Wednesday this week marks one of the best loved/most hated, well-celebrated/dismal days of the year. Valentine’s Day. Depending on where you’re at in life and who you’re with (or aren’t with), the day can be the best or the worst.
For me, I’m at a point where I’m more focused on what to do for my Valentine than worrying about what my Valentine will do for me. It wasn’t always that way. In fact, this is a recent development, although I wish I could say it was a long-time discipline.
As a teen, I celebrated Valentine’s Day by seeking a gift that would convey to my Valentine (yes, the same one) how I felt about him. This was absolutely not an altruistic action. His acceptance would validate me.
As a young bride caught up in carving my niche in an adult world, the celebration of Valentine’s Day was akin to staking a flag on the top of a conquered mountain. “See us. We’re a couple. We’re loving. We’re good-looking. We’ve got it made.”
As a young mother, harried, still working, the expectation of wanting to get a nice Valentine card and a dinner out dampened much of the enjoyment. I remember the year that I ran the register at a drug store and he brought my card to me to check out and never even signed or sealed it. I still wrote him nice letters, bought cards, made his favorite meal and worked to feel that I was not disappointed.
As a stay-at-home mom, I felt pretty used and abused. Even when my Valentine did something nice, bought a card or a gift, the pressures of life weighed us down and I felt the disillusionment and dissatisfaction of comparison to others who went nicer places, got prettier gifts, whose husbands seemed far more in tune with them. Although I never stooped to the point of one friend who treated herself every year and presented the bill to her husband with a flourish and a “Thanks, I got what I wanted.” It may have worked for them, but I wanted a heartfelt gift. I wanted him to know me.
Then the rough years hit. It’s a good thing we had Christ anchoring us, or I’m pretty sure this whole love thing would’ve slipped away. I got help. I grew up. I learned how to love better. My focus changed. Years passed.
This year, I realized I don’t need the same kind of external validation anymore. I feel he validates me daily. I know I’m loved. I’m thought of for who I am. Truthfully, I sometimes feel he expresses love far better than I do. Still, Valentine’s Day excites me because of how I can show him I love and appreciate him. Not so he’ll love me back. He already does that. Just because of who he is.
I don’t know what next year will hold, but this year I am content. That may make some of you stick out your tongue and hate me, but I have to say, the journey here was long and treacherous, but the view is beautiful. You can take the same risk and find the beauty. How?
1. Anchor in Christ.
2. Change your attitude from expectation to gratitude.
3. Know your Valentine.
4. Love generously.
There you have it. The evolution of a valentine. Or if that word makes you gag, the creation of a valentine. Go. Do the same. You'll find Valentine's Day can be a lot more festive.
I still don't have my comment section working properly, so email me and/or sign up for my monthly newsletter and receive a copy of Four Months, Three ER visits, Two Surgeries, One Great Big God: My Health Journey 2016.