According to History.com, Valentine’s day isn’t based on a warm and fuzzy historical moment that brings tears of joy to all who hear it. Screams of terror, perhaps, but there’s little joy in the tale.
You can read it for yourself here: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/st-valentine-beheaded?fbclid=IwAR3uokY1WciDLTkVuuE3Uk9FJpfZY7NBbCD10O6cegwZobauHwCJur3eaQ8
Now, I’ll admit to being cynical. I’ve not been lucky in love. But I DO believe in love! I wrote about that here: https://lindabittle.com/love-as-i-see-it/
I can’t say how my grandparents celebrated Valentine’s Day. But I don’t imagine they made a big deal out of it. People of their generation understood that spending money they likely couldn’t afford for much of their married lives would not atone for unlovely behavior through the rest of the year. So, I’m guessing here, but I imagine that she fixed his favorite supper and he might have brought home some little thing he’d seen that made him think of her. They might have even exchanged love letters. People still did that until fairly recently. Once their daughters had left home, and if no grandchildren were present, they probably retired early for some marital hanky panky. Look, I’m 60 years old, and I still recall the way they looked at each other. They treated each other with love and respect every day. We should all be so lucky.
For me, one of the toughest things about Valentine’s Day is that it gets geared up as the day to profess your love. See, T-E-S-T – that’s a bad word that doesn’t go with L-O-V-E.
We have been marketed into believing that only a ridiculous outlay of money can prove our love. Not receiving an “appropriate” Valentine’s Day gift at work can ruin our day. However, receiving a big gift at work where everyone can see it and then finding the payment book in the mail at home where no one else can see is at least as bad. I was married to a guy who lived for the big event, but never had the cash to make it happen.
And I’ll tell you – I never once asked or expected the big deal. That 5 pound box of cheap chocolates with the stupid cartoon character? I’d have preferred a single piece of the good stuff. Roses? Yes, please, but get a plant that I can enjoy for years in the garden, and that would cost far less than the last minute grocery store bouquet . Fancy dinner out? If we can afford it, sure. Hearts? You bet. But your real one, not the one you think impresses people. Be real. Talk to me. Take me for walks in the woods. Trade back rubs. Turn off the TV and the phone. Love is not a one day a year deal!
I didn’t figure most of this out until he’d left. Tomorrow, Valentine’s Day, is the anniversary of our divorce. I’ve done a lot of work since then. I’ll link some things that I read today than offered helpful advice below. (Mind you, I’m a little…quirky. You may need to look elsewhere for the things that speak to you.) It took some time, but I realized that my worth doesn’t depend on a man plying me with guilt-gifts on one special day.
These days, I buy myself that good piece of chocolate. I get the pizza if I want – a large one – and eat it all by myself…Not all in one day, mind you. I plant flowers that will nourish my spirit. I watch romantic movies all by myself…and by romantic, I mean “The Terminator” and “R.E.D.”, because I get to choose what’s romantic now. And I do all of these things, and more, all year round. No fancy card required. There’s no shame in loving yourself enough to treat yourself well.
And if I see that psychotic little baby-faced, winged terrorist pointing an arrow at me, I’m gonna hit him with my bear spray!