Thursday, February 12, 2009

Is Valentine's Day Evil?

St. Valentine is known as the patron saint of lovers, and was an Christian martyr in 3rd century Rome. Unfortunately, historians, don’t know who, exactly, he was.

Some say he was bishop who converted a Roman family to Christianity.

One of the most popular accounts identify him as Valentinus, a Roman priest who defied the decree of Claudius II which forbade Romans to marry (apparently he believed married men were weak soldiers and wanted a strong army). Supposedly the priest Valentinus secretly married many couples. Although he had the blessings of the underground Christian church, his actions were a crime in Roman law. He was discovered, imprisoned, and ultimately executed. I read one account that claimed while he was in prison, he befriended the jailer's daughter and cured her blindness. He is said to have left her a farewell letter, which he signed "from your Valentine."

In 496, Pope Gelasius declared February 14 as a day to honor St. Valentine.

St. Valentine's Day has become a day to exchange love messages and gifts. In the 18th Century, people exchanged decorated Valentine cards. These Valentines were handmade and often quite elaborate. The tradition grew and became widely popular during the Victorian Era.

I’m a hopeless romantic. I love everything to do with love and Valentine’s day is no exception. I must admit, sometimes upon learning that my children are having valentine’s parties, my first reaction is to groan because now I must add to my always daunting “to do” list, is ‘pick up Valentines and candy’ for them to exchange with their classmates However, I love the day to remind me to take time to show my husband how much he means to me.

He, unfortunately, has the opposite reaction. Because my expectations are there, he sees Valentine’s Day as a time that puts pressure on him. We’ve had some memorable Valentine’s Days, either because they were terrible and resulted in feelings of rejection or inadequacy, or because one or both of us took the time to plan something really romantic. We’ve also had some forgettable Valentine’s Days.

The thing is, whatever my husband does, I’m just happy he came through and put a little thought into his gift or time with me.

I guess I’m happy I’m not a guy. I mean, men are pretty simple.
He’s happy something if I bake or buy a special dessert or dress up in a sexy negligee, they appear happy. One year we planned to meet and home and go out to lunch. I sprinkled rose pedals from the front door to the bedroom and we had lunch at home. He loved it. It can't be that easy for men.

I think most men see it as some kind of test to see if they remember how to be romantic. They seem to feel like they’re on the spot for Valentines. Perhaps that they have to compete with past years and try to top it or face an unhappy wife, girlfriend, or significant other.

I’m sure most men think Valentine’s Day is evil and that we should just boycott it.

So, girls, we need to rescue the men.
Step one: Go ahead and mention a few reminders that Valentine’s Day is coming up. Don’t rely on TV or radio to remind them. One year, I even sent him to the store to pick up something for dinner, and mentioned how I’d been there earlier and what cute Valentine’s stuff they had sitting out. He came home with exactly what I’d sent him to find. And nothing for Valentine’s Day. That fits into a memorable Valentine’s Day. In a bad way.

Step two: when he asks you what you want or what you want to do, tell him. Don’t think if he really knew you, he’d know. Men are loveable, but clueless. Spell it out for him. His lack of imagination or planning has nothing to do with his feelings for you.

Men, here’s what she wants:
If the lady in your life says "I don't know." What she means, is do something that requires thought and planning and surprise me. She’s probably trying to take the pressure off by not making unreasonable demands. Odds are, what she really wants to spend time, alone, with you.

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