As I write this, about one week separates us from Valentine’s Day. I don’t think any other holiday inspires such a wide range of emotional responses. By now, I suspect most of us have made our plans for the holiday, to go out or stay in, to be alone or with friends or with that one special person.
But some of you have made it a point not to have plans. You say you don’t have to do anything because you love your significant others every day, 365 days a year. Valentine’s Day is just a greeting card holiday, you say.
Well, that’s an excuse. I’m sorry. I have to call you on that.
Maybe this is a greeting card holiday. But you know what? So is your birthday.
I bet your honey did something for your birthday. I don’t think she bragged about how it wasn’t necessary to do anything because you wake up breathing 365 days a year. She didn’t smugly assert that she acknowledges your continued existence every day and have no reason to treat your birthday any differently.
In fact, I bet people who are not as close to you, like your coworkers, did something for your birthday. I imagine a lot of people went to a little trouble to acknowledge your own personal greeting card holiday because you matter to them in some small way.
But you want to take your relationship with your sweetheart for granted. After all, you’re in the relationship now. She’s not going anywhere, right?
To get to this 365-day-a-year, don’t-have-to-celebrate relationship, your sweetheart’s been through a lot. She is probably never going to say this to you, but I think you have to hear it. At some point before you decided you didn’t have to acknowledge your relationship on the one special day set aside for it, your sweetheart did at least one, and probably more than one, of the following things.
1. Considered quitting the whole dating process out of sheer frustration and exhaustion.
2. Smiled when everything in her wanted to cry.
3. Was told she should change some part of herself – maybe a part you love all year but refuse to celebrate today – so that she could be in a relationship.
4. Wore something ridiculous, painful, or both.
5. Blamed herself for someone else’s shoddy behavior.
6. Let go of something she wanted very much.
7. Had her boundaries violated.
8. Stayed with someone worse than you because she doubted you were coming along.
9. Chose to live with the certainty that she’d always be alone.
10. Accepted something about you that really, really annoys her.
But then you came along. She chose you. She finds so much pleasure in every day with you that she may not even remember how many of those ten things she did. Being with you is a gamechanger.
And to acknowledge this, you want to do nothing.
Well, that’s not good enough.
I’m not saying you have to engage in any great spectacle. Use one of the greeting cards you sneer at and write a note. Read to each other. Sit at the bar – no reservations required – and share a dessert.
But do something.
This isn’t just another day. Your sweetheart’s not just some girl. And you should celebrate that because you love her 365 days a year.
Get to planning.
All the best,