Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Questionable Love Found On Valentine's Day

This month, there are two big holidays. We have Valentine's Day on the fourteenth, and President's Day on the eighteenth. Guess which one I like the least.

You've probably guessed wrong. I'll admit it, I have never been a fan of Valentine's Day. To me, it is just such a sappy, forced day put upon people to prove their love for each other through materialistic, phony ways. I see all the heart-shaped boxes full of candy in the stores, the flowers and teddy bears and the cards and the 50% off Special One Time Only “I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY DO LOVE YOU BEST” Valentine's Day Jewelry. It's just all so overblown and fake. And it's just such a shameful exploitation of what true love actually is.

That may sound rather harsh. It's just that I don't feel if you really love somebody there should be one day dedicated each year to expressing that love in phony, fake ways. Expressing your love for someone should be more than just giving them a piece of jewelry, a box of candy, a tear-jerker card, or a candle-light dinner. Those things can be romantic, and romance does usually accompany love—particularly the kind of love (romantic love) that is generally celebrated on this day. But love is so much more than these things.

Here is what the Apostle Paul tells us love is in the book of Corinthians, chapter 13; verses 4 through 8. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

How many of you have known a girlfriend/boyfriend who got angry or upset because they didn't get the self-seeking, selfish, present on Valentine's Day that they'd hoped for? How many women have you seen flaunt the diamond ring their husband gave them, or fall into despair whenever they didn't get one? How many men have you seen purposefully try to outdo the other guy at what gift he'd give his wife/girlfriend? How many people have you seen become envious or jealous of what they saw others get on this day that they themselves did not?

It's for those reasons I dislike Valentine's Day. It isn't real. Love isn't about getting something, or showing off, or getting the special treatment for a day. First of all, real love for somebody cannot be contained within a single day. Real love for someone is about having patience for them. Real love is not caring what the other person gives you or what they can do for you, but caring simply for them alone. Real love is being kind and gentle. Real love is forgiving—including when your husband or wife forgets it's Valentine's Day and doesn't get you anything. Real love is commitment. It's knowing the other person loves you and wants to spend their time, which they could just as easily spend with anyone else on the face of the whole earth, singularly with you. Real love is taking care of someone when they're sick or in a bad place. Real love is about giving, without expecting anything whatsoever in return. Real love is recognizing the person is more important than the materialism.

It's for all those reasons that I dislike Valentine's Day. Valentine's Day is designed to alter what true love genuinely is. It's a day designed to exploit love. It's a day to tell you, if you don't get this or that for your loved one, you don't really love them. And, as far as I'm concerned, I have no use for it.

5 comments:

RikFleming said...

Brandon,

If you think Valentine's Day is fake then it is clear that you really don't understand chocolate.

Chocolate is love. Love is chocolate. To truly love someone you must give them chocolate. The more chocolate you give them, the more you love them.

(I think this is written in the Bible somewhere, I don't remember where.)

Learner Man said...

Hey Brandon,
How goes it? I too am not a big fan of valentines day. It does all seem a bit contrived. I find the difficulty is how seriously do girls take it? It could be possible to really mess up if a girl thinks it is a big thing but you don't.

As you know, there is a girl I'm 'getting to know' just now. But I do think it is early days for overblown romantic gestures. But along comes valentines day - the day you are expected to make these gestures... a bit of a quandary.

I'm not going to make any - it wouldn't be right... but lets hope - should I decide to pursue this later - that she agrees.

Later,

Dave

Brandon said...

Yeah, Rik, I think it's either the eleventh or twelfth commandment, which is: "Though shalt eat and give chocolate on Valentine's Day, and this shall be a sign of thy love for each other." Ha ha. :)

Dave, hang in there, and good luck deciding what to do. I will just say this though, gifts given out of a true love or affection for someone is different than what I was talking about in the post. If it's genuine, I see no problem with that. But I'd imagine, if you're wanting to convince this girl you're interested in that you're serious about her, getting her something, even just a small something, could go a long way--just as a good gesture.

God bless ya all.

grace said...

I really am with you on this one. I think it's SO much more important to show your love in simple ways on all the "ordinary" days in between the days that were created for the purposes of marketing items to consumers. That's really what Valentine's Day is all about. It's probably, in truth, a good boost for the economy to keep it. But...you're right...it's basically stupid.

But I do love the chocolate and the excuse for creating romance. I'm still a girl. ;)

Brandon said...

Okay, so I get it now. Valentine's Day is about chocolate and everybodies insatiable love for the stuff :) . I suppose it's a good day for reminding people to add some romance to their lives as well, which can't be too bad a thing, really. And, yeah, I'm sure it helps the economy. Particularly for the people in the chocolate making business ;) .

Thanks for writing, Grace.

God bless.