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Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day

I want to say a few things about Valentine's Day, because honestly?  I think it's so unnecessary.

Steve and I decided early on in our marriage, like before the first one together, not to celebrate Valentine's Day.  I didn't want him to feel obligated or pressured to find some wonderful thing every year to express his love for me.  I wanted him to be able to do that anytime he felt like it in any manner he wished.  Consequently, the only time he ever bought me flowers, which are a wasteful extravagance, was when he thought I was depressed and that they would cheer me up.  I wasn't depressed, but I was very touched by his thoughtfulness.

I didn't get married for the first time until I was forty-one, so I've spent my share of years as a single woman, believe me.  Not having a Valentine on Valentine's Day was just not something that overly bothered me.  I know that it does a lot of people, but I wasn't one of them, for the most part.  Many years ago, I dated a man who did not give me the fairly inexpensive cordless screwdriver that I very much wanted for Valentine's Day; instead he sent me a much more expensive, ostentatious floral bouquet which he had sent to my office.  His gift wasn't for me because his intent wasn't to make me happy; his gift was for himself because his intent was to show off.  So Valentine's Day can be a double-edged sword, if wielded in the wrong hands.

Of all the gifts of love, self-love is the greatest, because if you love yourself, you're more likely to be able to give others the right kind of love.  Self-love is nurturing and strong.  Cultivate self-love; don't wait for someone to do it for you.

However, no matter how much you love yourself, sometimes you still crave the companionship of another person.   If you're praying for the right person to show up in your life, sometimes it helps to say the right prayer (sometimes it also helps to throw a little feng shui in there too, but I'll get to that later).  For years, I prayed for a husband, and at one point God sent me one- it turned out he was somebody else's husband.  So that was the wrong prayer.  It finally dawned on me that it wasn't a husband that I wanted so much as it was a long and happy marriage, so I prayed for that instead; I said a big, fat prayer, and then turned it over to God and forgot about it.  I didn't say another one.  That was in December of 2000.  At this time, I also read up on feng shui, and put a few cures in the love and marriage corner of my house. And forgot about those too.  Then I started dating a fellow in January.  We dated for three months, and then had a pretty bad fight one Saturday night.  Sunday night we apologized to each other.  Monday night we decided not to see each other anymore.  Tuesday I had a migraine.  Wednesday, I came to work and my boss wanted to see me in her office.  She told me that someone was interested in me and it was Steve.  I told her I had to think about it and I'd let her know the next day.  I did think about it.  Steve was awfully staid and business-like at work, and I didn't know if I could get excited about this guy.  But there was something awfully weird about the timing, so I decided to go for it.  I told her the next day that he could call me, which he did that night; that was on Thursday.  We hung out together at Karen's going away party that Friday night, and had our first date that Saturday night.  This was roughly in April. We were married the following November, and have been married nine years.  I don't know if it was the big, fat prayer, or the feng shui cures, but between them, some serious juju happened, and I found the great love of my life.

This is the same great love that bought a second fermenter so that he can brew enough pilsner for me, and the same great love who keeps my library card in his wallet so he can pick up my holds for me.  The same great love who is amazingly untrainable in some ways, but who does my math for me because I can't. The same great love who doesn't need Valentine's Day to prove it.

I wish the same Great Love for everyone, and if you're still waiting on it, don't forget to love yourself first.  Everyday is Valentine's Day if you don't confine it to February 14th.


Ruth @ Hope, Joy and Faith Farm said...

We do celebrate valentines day, but in little ways. Homemade Valentines, cookies, etc. We delivered a pretty carnation to the teenager, Lyndsey at school, and my hubby, (also Steve), Lyndsey and I are going out to dinner (mostly because I've been cooking all weekend for company and I can use a break).

Dawn Dutton said...

Well said..

Miriam said...

Lovely post!

Paula said...

I'm not knocking celebrating the day...I just think that some folks take it way out of context and to extremes sometimes, and others put too much stock in it.

I like homemade valentines, too. My mom makes each one of her kids a valentine every year, and she's eighty-two. Hey- that reminds me to go check the mailbox!

jules said...

I met my Husband when I was 42, married for the first time at 45. I just kept telling God that I KNEW that he never meant for (wo)man to be alone, so thank you for the Husband he had out there just for me. When I was least expecting it, there he was. We celebrated our 6th anniversary in January. We don't really do presents for most holidays. We've pretty much, at our age, got most everything we need and just aren't into 'stuff' to profess our love. Just having each other is a gift in itself.

Paula said...

I so understand, jules. I'm still asking for a compost thermometer for my birthday, though.

becky3086 said...

We don't celebrate in a big way either. A card and a little, inexpensive gift. I had to tell him very early on that I didn't want any dead flower (which is what roses are after you cut them), if he had to buy me flowers, I wanted them growing in some dirt so I could plant them in the garden. I too said my prayer and got what I wanted 14 years ago(on Valentine's Day).

jules said...

Hey, I'm not saying that we don't EVER do presents. I've got a rototiller on my list (and a blower, and a garden cart...) heh heh. We just think them through, and then they are usually something we want together.

sew susie said...

I totally agree with what you are saying. We did exchange Valentine gifts years ago but now we have been married for nearly 34yrs. for Christmas, Anniversaries and Birthdays we do joint gifts or something the other really wants and that may only be a new spade or bolt cutter to remove a rusty padlock. I got a slow cooker(crock pot) for Xmas to replace the one which was a wedding present, and as unromantic as that is, I just love it.
I don,t need chocolates or flowers, it is the little things each day that count.