Happy Valentine’s Day!!! I’m Pro-Choice
Every year they come out… the Valentine’s Day haters… renouncing Valentine’s Day — declaring it “dumb,” “commercial,” “unnecessary,” “emotional” and “just for women…” They surface every February, condemning the need for Valentine’s Day, rebuffing the purchase of the flowers that will die, the chocolates that will be eaten, the heartfelt cards that will eventually be tossed, because THEY know what makes a marriage/relationship work — just show your love to your significant other EVERY DAY!!! Great. But I don’t ascribe to this philosophy. When it comes to celebrating Valentine’s Day, I’m completely pro-choice. If you like it, I love it.
I mean despite what these Valentine’s Day haters tell you, the 52% divorce rate proves that most people do not know what they’re doing out there. Most people don’t have the key to what it takes to make it work.
People get sanctimonious about how couples shouldn’t “need” Valentine’s Day as a day to express their love, but the reality is people don’t get married so that they can live together in order to be able to tell each other how fabulous they are on a daily basis. It doesn’t work that way. Marriage and relationships are not always lovefests. They are WORK. And quiet as it’s kept, they are not always fun. It is not always about how much you love the other person. It is not about sparks and romance all the time – even in the relationships where people say it is.
Sometimes neither of you are fabulous. Sometimes you get on each other’s nerves. Sometimes you wish you could pack up and start over. Sometimes you wish he/she understood you, talked to you, would stop talking to you, let you in, kept other people out, took out the trash, believed in you, cleaned out the garage, gave you some space, mowed the lawn, would just give you a hug, emptied the dishwasher… etc. It’s not all hearts and flowers everyday. When you live with someone, that’s not just geographical, or a physical description of your residence. You LIVE together. So it’s not all about YOU and your needs anymore. You are dealing with kids, and soccer, and cheerleading, and client meetings, and deadlines, and driver’s ed, and “can I get a car/puppy/new curfew/iPod/Wii” and “should I talk to him/her about birth control,” and dating and science projects and afterschool programs and ballet and piano and parent-teacher conferences, and broken hearts and teasing and bullying and nannies and mortgages and car notes and everything else in life to manage, NOT TO MENTION each other’s nonsense!!! Why didn’t you remember our anniversary, I told you about these tickets two weeks ago, how did you forget to pick up my dry cleaning, where are my socks, I can never find anything when you organize my space, why are you working late on my birthday, didn’t I ask you to get an oil change for my car, when are we going to start a family/try for another baby, why does your mother have to call the house so late, your friends annoy me, stop telling your friends everything, why don’t you just quit your job already, why don’t you find a job… etc… whatever your issues may be… and a lot of times after dealing with LIVING, it’s a lot more of a romantic notion to just shut out the world and get a good night’s sleep than it is to start lighting candles and playing soft music.
So I’m all for Valentine’s Day. Especially for those people who are not the greatest communicators, or the most demonstrative when it comes to emotions. It’s a time where a person can get their own personal Cyrano in the form of a card, saying all the things they wish they could say. It can be a day of new beginnings and rejuvenation. It’s a day on the calendar that reminds you that you must take time out to appreciate the person that’s going through this life with you. A special day where you have the responsiblity, amongst all your other responsibilities to acknowledge the contribution of the person you chose to be your partner. It’s a day that gives you an excuse to put the brakes on all the hectic craziness in your lives and say, “Hey… I’m still in this for the long-haul and I’m glad you are too.”
So Valentine’s Day absolutely serves a purpose. It is commercial, but no moreso than Thanksgiving, Christmas, Mother’s or Father’s Days. And no holiday is ever any more commericial than you allow it to be. If your relationship is perfect and you have it all figured out, and you’re the RARE couple that NEVER goes to bed angry and tells each other how fabulous the other one is every single day, then bully for you. Don’t participate. You do not need Valentine’s Day. Congratulations. But the other 99% out there probably do. And for those people, Valentine’s Day is a perfect choice.