Valentine's Day: How to avoid those 'love blunders'
COLCHESTER, Vt. (Catholic Online) – The custom of showing affection and attention to loved ones on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, has become part of the fabric of our culture. There is a kind of unwritten law or expectation that, on that day, spouses are supposed to do or give something that signifies their love of their partner.
ROSES ARE RED – Roses are a traditional gift indicating love and romance any day of the year but particularly on Valentine's Day. The late medieval custom of exchanging love notes on St. Valentine's Day has little to do with saints and is thought to have developed from the belief that the day marked the start of the mating season of birds. Author Mary Carty says woe to those who fail to make the time observe Valentine’s Day as a special opportunity to show one’s spouse a token of love. (www.freedigitalphotos.net)
For anyone living as a hermit or who may be too busy to have noticed that this important day approached and has now arrived, the following 10 clues are offered as reminders to meet expectations their spouse may have:
1. It is noted on most calendars.
2. It is listed as an “event” on most Web portals.
3. Magazines are running stories related to the topic.
4. Candy companies create special red packaging in the shape of a heart that has been seen in stores for weeks.
5. Florists have been advertising beautiful bouquets of red roses.
6. Jewelry stores have been promoting the symbol of everlasting love, from solitaires to strings of pearls.
7. Card companies offer even more ways this year to communicate the idea than last.
8. Your kids may be bringing home projects related to the day.
9. Television ads continue reminding us of day at every opportunity.
10. Internet designers create animation from symbols related to the event.
The choice can then be to celebrate the event or do nothing and see it as a conspiracy by vendors to sell products.
Yet, if a spouse forgets the date or consciously decides to not note it in any meaningful way, he or she can break the symbol itself.
Yes, they can break their loved one’s heart if there is no acknowledgement of love on Valentine’s Day.
Some may say that the day has become annoyingly commercial and may want to boycott anything related to Valentine’s Day as an act against the effects of capitalization on Western civilization.
Woe to those who choose to place their political beliefs ahead of or fail to make the time for what has become a common custom in this country. Valentine’s Day is that extra special day in the year to show one’s spouse a token of love.
Maybe this Madison Avenue-promoted “event” makes money for the stockholders of merchandisers and for retailers, but ironically, it also may bring couples together again by providing an opportunity to build a special memory and actually, believe it or not, save a marriage or two.
As many married couples find their days are filled with work and responsibilities, there may not be as much time as we would like or need to spend with our spouse with whom we share life, family, history, intimacy and love.
Could a busy schedule have crowded out special time to spend together? Is the phrase “I love you” not spoken freely, or at all?
Valentine’s Day offers an opportunity for time together and to change the dynamic of making love present in our lives.
A mere card might suffice with a thoughtful message of love. Flowers, candy and/or a romantic dinner would do as well.
If you have the financial resources, consider taking or setting up for a specific later date for a romantic getaway for the two of you. Many couples find that having a chance to get off the treadmill of everyday expectations and responsibilities can do so much to infuse a sense of joy into the relationship and makes an important statement as to the priority of the marriage of the couple’s lives.
All of these things and activities do cost money and if a person does not extra money for such gifts or chooses not to “go commercial,” there are “priceless” gifts that may even be more meaningful.
Here are 10 ideas that might make this Valentine’s Day particularly special:
- Cook a special meal, and even bring out the linen tablecloth and china.
- Use a bit of creativity and make a card.
- Get out a paper and pen and write your loved one a poem.
- Pull out the wedding album and take a stroll down memory lane.
- Take a walk and hold hands.
- Talk about your first date and proposal.
- Put on some favorite romantic music and dance.
- Talk about the dreams you have that have gone unrealized and how you both can support each other to work to make them happen.
- Acknowledge in prayer to God the gratitude you both feel for the experience of Christian love in your life.
- Let the other know, that out of the billions of people on this planet, you chose and continue to choose to love and share life with him or her.
And, remember, that while Valentine’s Day is celebrated once a year, the expression of love – spontaneous or planned; expensive, inexpensive or costing nothing – should be something husbands and wives are on the receiving and giving ends throughout the year.
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Mary Carty is the Home and Family editor for Catholic Online.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
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