Ahh, Valentine’s Day. Well before even finding myself in a serious relationship, I had an inexplicable soft spot for this holiday. Growing up, Valentine’s Day meant elementary school parties where you’d exchange cards, stickers, and candy with your classmates. As we inch toward adulthood, however, the holiday naturally takes on a new meaning. And for me, personally, it almost feels as if it lost some of its initial pizzazz.
*Insert joke here about how marriage is where love goes to die.*
Now before anyone takes that as a jab at my husband or our relationship, hear me out. When we were children, Valentine’s Day was about celebrating the love between your friends and family. It was far more lighthearted and “fun”. As young adults in this day and age, this holiday has become so much more heavily focused on consumerism, “proving” your love to your significant other in the form of material things and flashy gifts. And just about every major retailer in the world is aware of this; not long after the ball drops are shelves overstocked with every kind of red and pink thing you can think of, heart-shaped candies galore, and more stuffed animals embroidered with cutesy sayings than I ever imagined physically possible. Jewelry and flowers are advertised just about everywhere you turn.
And is there anything necessarily wrong with partaking in any of that? NO! Of course not! We’ve been guilty of it ourselves over the course of our relationship (believe me, Tim has gone way more than overboard before). Each couple and relationship is different, and how they express their love or celebrate Valentine’s Day varies as a result. For me, these days it has (for the most part) left me unimpressed.
And that is because my husband treats me like a queen the other 364/5 days of the year, too.
I think the reason Valentine’s Day started to fizzle out once I entered a serious relationship was because just about every day we spent together was like its own love fest outside of the 14th of February. We didn’t need an delegated date to serve as an expression of our feelings, we lived it day in and day out. We don’t purchase elaborate gifts simply because a commercialized holiday mostly boasts that we have to or we don’t love each other. And strangely enough, it’s the most beautiful thing. Seeing our love brought to life even on the most average of days and knowing it’s not because we’re pressured to feel that we’re required to go through the motions, but because it’s genuine and true and “us” has made all the difference in the world in the very best ways.
When every day is Valentine’s Day:
You cook for or with your partner on a daily basis.
It’s a common occurrence in our house to be in the kitchen together whenever the opportunity presents itself. Breakfast in bed or elaborate dinners aren’t exclusive holiday treats, but a frequent experience and labor of love we enjoy sharing together and for one another.
You continue pursuing them even after they’re yours.
In more ways than I can adequately list, Tim and I are completely different people than who we were at the very beginning of our relationship. But one thing that hasn’t changed over our almost 7 years together is the amount of effort we put into it. We make time for quality time together. We are constantly working on our communication so that it only gets better as the years roll on. We seek outside resources to improve our relationship and better ourselves. To this day, we’re still learning new things about one another. We continue to do so many of the little things that drew us to one another in the first place to keep that spark alive and well.
You surprise them on the regular.
Sometimes it’s with flowers on his way home just because, or a California burrito on my lunch break. Others, it’s with a sweet note in his lunch for work, every remedy we could possibly need when the other’s feeling sick, or taking care of some household cleaning while I nap. Some surprises may be in the form of material gifts or experiences, but there are also those that don’t cost a dime and mean just as much, if not more. We don’t wait for an appointed date to do something to bring a smile to the other’s face – we do these things each and every day.
You let your partner know they’re appreciated often.
I don’t necessarily need a new piece of jewelry or a box of chocolates to know Tim admires me – he lets me know every chance he gets. He acknowledges and praises the hard work I put into just about anything, offers words of encouragement when I’m feeling down, and stops in the middle of everything simply to let me know that he values me and my role in his life and in our family, teddy bear not required. Even when I don’t necessarily see it myself, he makes me believe I’m the most treasured woman in the world, whether it be on a major holiday or a random Tuesday morning.
You treat February 14th just as you would any other day.
Because with the right person and in the right relationship, every day together is a celebration of your love.
This isn’t some kind of proclamation of war on Valentine’s Day. I still think the cards are cute, I obviously would be grateful if Tim gifted me something for the occasion, and I’ll never complain about the overabundance of chocolate covered strawberries being produced this time of year. I will forever love seeing love exchanged between people all around, however they choose to do it. I guess it’s lost it’s intended attraction because when you’re with someone who treats you like absolute gold every single day, Valentine’s Day becomes just one of many. And I couldn’t have prayed for anything more.