Want to know why? Because it’s the day where people compare themselves to others and standards are set by society and people who market it.
And it starts young! In elementary school I remember decorating my box to bring to school when the class would exchange Valentine’s cards and candy. Some years, I had a pretty cool box. But it always seemed like other people had cooler boxes than mine.
In middle school, people could buy candy grams or flowers to send to their friends on Valentine’s Day. Some girls would have a whole handful of flowers or candy, but it seemed like I hardly any.
And then by the time I was in high school, social media was the new norm, and the “couple posts” only got worse when I went to college and more and more people were dating. Some years I would purposefully not open Instagram or Facebook because I didn’t want to see all the posts of couples and paragraphs and paragraphs of how much they love each other and why.
But even once I started dating and was able to make “couple posts,” I tried to keep it short because I knew how annoying it is to look at them, but at the same time I felt pressure to post because that’s what is expected.
Now, obviously, our society has realized that not everyone is in a dating relationship so now they market “Galantines” or “self-love” for the people who won’t be buying something for a significant other.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have created a society where people feel legitimate pressure and stress on Valentine’s day in every relationship.
For the single, it means feeling like romantic love is a requirement, and some may struggle to be content on this day when society “says” dating is the norm.
For those in relationships, there is the stress of doing it “right:” making sure you get a card, you get a good gift, you go out on a cute date, etc. If one’s expectations are really high, this day can lead to disappointment. Pinterest helps to raise the bar of the “standard” in this category.
For married couples, it’s finding the time to do something “special” this Valentine’s Day. Finding a babysitter, going out to eat steak or a nice pasta place, finding a table and making a reservation, etc. It’s keeping the “love” alive and breaking up the mundane and routine.
But once again, this can create stress, expectations and pressure for both the man and the woman.
For those who go to Galantines parties, there can definitely be disappointment when you’re stuck with a generic, less-than-heartfelt gift that you’ll just re-gift later. (If you’re not familiar with these well-meaning parties, you fill out cards before the event with exactly what type of gifts you like in a certain price range and someone just follows the card. True story . . . I think the person who drew my card must have lost it or something, because when everyone opened their “perfect” present I got stuck with something I didn’t even like . . . thus, the re-gifting scenario.)
Honestly, my favorite Valentine’s Day present I have ever received came from my stepmom during my freshman year of college. She sent me a care package full of “dorm food” (popcorn, ramen, granola bars) and a silver ring with my name engraved on it. There was probably more in that package, but I wasn’t expecting it at all, and I was extremely surprised.
Why? Maybe because society doesn’t stress parents giving something to their kids on this day.
So, here is my challenge this Valentine’s Day:
- Know God’s love for you first. You are loved by the Creator God who made you and literally died for you so you can have a relationship with him and live with him forever. If we can’t love God the right way, it’s hard to love other people the right way. We can’t give something we don’t have.
And as a Christian, the first fruit of the Holy Spirit is love. It’s patience, not envying, not being boastful, not keeping a record of wrongs, and always persevering (1 Corinthians 13).
It’s true love.
It’s not some magical kiss at the end of a Disney movie that fixes everything. It’s a choice and it is a gift.
And once we know we are loved and how to love, then we can see that society’s version is skewed and we shouldn’t feel the pressure to conform to it.
2. Romantic love isn’t the end-all, be-all.
Now, don’t get me wrong, being married is great. But know this: A significant other cannot complete you. And if you think he or she can, you will only be disappointed.
God completes me, not my husband.
3. Make your own traditions.
If you think Valentine’s Day is overrated, then do your own thing! Or don’t do anything at all!
Honestly, last Valentine’s Day I think my husband and I went and watched Aquaman, which we would have done anyway. And I think we “counted” it for Valentine’s Day even though we would have gone to see it anyway. And honestly, it was a B-rated movie. (There’s a reason Marvel is smoking DC in the comic movie industry, but I digress . . . )
Celebrate your loved ones in your own way. Don’t feel the need to have an “Instagram-perfect” life, because that is impossible.
Perfect people don’t exist.
And if social media would shut down on Valentine’s Day, maybe people would feel less stress or pressure.
Don’t let yourself be sucked into the vortex of Valentine’s Day. Because I have been before, and it’s not worth it.
Copyright © 2020 by Melody Turner. Used with permission. No part of this article may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from Lifeword.org