Valentine’s Day has noble origins. Valentinius was a Christian who married soldiers in secret because the emperor Claudius had forbidden it. Claudius wanted to grow his armies and he knew that dudes make better soldiers when they’re not thinking about inconveniences like…I don’t know…their families. Imagine that.
I know! Secret marriages! Super romantic! This has Nicholas Sparks written all over it! Get Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams on the phone, stat!
Flash-forward to the present and you have the most commercialized holiday in America. Let’s just lay all the cards on the table here. From a guy’s perspective, Valentine’s Day is the worst thing to ever happen to us…like ever. It’s a lose-lose-lose scenario.
Losing Option #1: You didn’t adequately romance the love of your life. Let’s say your efforts were underwhelming. Maybe you forgot to do anything. Maybe you just came home with the wrong token of expression. Well, game over, my friend. You just told your flame that you don’t even care about her, that she’s not important, and that your relationship is essentially dead.
Losing Option #2: Or, let’s say you went all out. You dropped a wad of cash and you’re going to show that girl that she’s your burning fire and your one desire! Maybe you made big plans, booked a getaway, or brought home a diamond (because it’s forever). As the night comes to a close with you glowing in the light of your victory, the last thought that will go through your mind as you drift off to sleep will be, “How do I top this next year?” Hint: You won’t.
Losing option #3: You’re legitimately in love. Your relationship is great. But even though you love to do nice things for your sugar-bear, the joy of expressing your love is sucked into the vortex of commercialism and the societal expectations that you express your love on this particular day in a particular way. And let’s just be honest, you know deep down that Valentine’s Day isn’t about showing your girlfriend that you love her! No, no, no. It’s about proving love to your girlfriend’s girlfriends. Because women want to have other women see that they really are special to someone. What joy you would have taken from expressing your love is stolen yet again by expectations.
:: Score: Expectations-3, You- 0 ::
The truth is that if you have an unhealthy relationship, it will only be more blatantly obvious on a day like Valentine’s Day. A teddy-bear and chocolates aren’t going to leave her feeling suddenly satisfied when she’s got a 364-day love deficit built up. “Wow, I’ve been craving quality time and words of affirmation, but it turns out that I really just needed flowers,” said no woman ever.
3 Tips for cultivating romance that lasts
Disappointment is born out of unmet expectations. Couples can manage expectations by living out a lifestyle of romance. Husbands: do you know that flowers and chocolate are available for sale all. year. long!? (And they cost way less at other times) Wives: Do you know that lingerie works on any day that ends with “y?” I’m just saying: why wait for a holiday to see fireworks!? Hello!!!
Couples should have an honest conversation about their expectations for Valentine’s Day at least two or three months in advance so that they can discuss what really matters before emotion enters the equation.
Cultivate biblical romance.
Men and women both have a role to play in creating a lasting culture of romance. The formula is found in scripture: “For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:22) Don’t get hung-up on the word “submit,” because it does not imply subservience. The idea here is to honor your husband. As you would respect and honor Jesus as the head of the Church, a wife should respect and honor her husband as the leader of her family. This idea is far-reaching and has great implications, but deep down, a man deeply craves the respect of the woman he loves more than anything.
For men the standard is even higher: “For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her” (Ephesians 5:25) There is nothing sexier than a husband that loves his wife or a wife that respects her husband. When you really boil down all of the great romance stories, they mirror this theme at the core: woman finds unconditional sacrificial love; and man gains the respect and honor he craves from the woman he has pursued.
Men should only pursue their wives for 365 days per year.
One reason a woman places hope in Valentine’s Day is because she is longing to finally be properly pursued. “Maybe today,” she thinks, “I’ll finally feel cherished and valued.” There is a longing in the soul of women to feel pursued. The same way that Jesus pursued His church, a husband is to pursue his wife. Jesus served His Church, He helped people in need, He led by example, He initiated relationship, He was gentle and strong, and He even died to save His church. A wise man would mirror Jesus’ example in his marriage. A woman who is being pursued Jesus-style is going to see Valentine’s Day as little more than an excuse to dress up.
Valentine’s Day should be nothing more than icing on the cake of a passionate romantic relationship.