Valentine’s Day has historically been a great source of income for florists, restaurants, as well as confectionery, jewelery and lingerie shops. It is also known as one of the most stressful days. The males scout the shops for a perfect gift, as they are expected to show their romantic side and woo their female partners with all kinds of affection. The females, although usually not stressed over buying a gift for their partner, have certain expectations as to their own gift and the implied correlation between such gift and their man’s intentions and commitment within the relationship. In other words, Valentine’s Day is a great day for our economy, but is it really a ‘lovers day’?
We chose every year to fall into the trap of blindly following the need to splash out in order to prove our love, as red roses, balloons and soft toys fill the windows of most shops. We crowd in popular restaurants, complain about it having too many people and often get bad service. We also spend triple the amount on flowers, contribute to many forests being cut down to make Valentine’s cards, and rub it into the faces of those who are single the fact that they are.
One would assume love does not require a special day set aside enabling partners to show each other affection and shower each other with gifts. Moreover, even if this assumption is wrong, there is always an annual anniversary of meeting/getting together/getting married etc. when the same behaviour is almost expected. Surely, the retailers are more than happy to collect your money, but as much as you wish to contribute to the GDP of your country, possibly consider doing it spasmodically throughout the year.
What is often forgotten is if you love someone, you should tell them daily how you feel. It would make more sense to regularly surprise your partner with small tokens of affection: enjoying a home cooked candlelight dinner, walking on the beach, watching the sunset together, finding a love song that portrays how you feel and playing it for them, etc.
I recently posed a question to some of my friends as to when was the last time, outside of Valentine’s Day and your anniversary, that you have given your partner a love letter written from the heart (not copied or pre-filled with text); or brought home a single rose for no reason; or bought their favourite ice-cream or desert as a surprise; or taken them to have a spontaneous picnic on the beach? Most looked blankly at me as if I was asking them about the last time they climbed Mount Everest.
By all means, celebrate Valentine’s Day, enjoy the gifts, the surprises and the spirit of the day. However, please remember that just like for a couple getting married – it is not all about the day but about your lives together.
Love and be loved! Celebrate and keep the romance going every day and you will be a very happy couple!