So it’s that time of year that happy couples generally enjoy and singles either ignore or protest. Me, I’ve been married to a pretty great man for more than 20 years, and I’m a celebratory type of person, so I embrace it.
I found myself a bit sad the other day to read a Dear Abby letter in our newspaper from a young woman who’s been with her serious boyfriend for more than 2 years and who is disappointed that he refuses to celebrate the day with her. He says that it’s a trumped-up holiday that exists solely for businesses to make money. And get this, Abby actually told her to leave him alone. She said it’s true about the origins of the holiday, and if she were being pressured to give a present, she’d feel annoyed too. What?!
Here’s my take: pretty much every holiday has become commercialized. Christmas? Hello? It’s a religious holiday that celebrates the birth of the Savior, and its date is set around a pagan holiday. And it’s the biggest merchandizing season of the year. Easter is similarly a religious holiday and has been overtaken by the bunny and baskets full of candy and other gifts. So using the excuse that a holiday’s origins and/or commercialization negates its value ain’t gonna fly.
Excuses aside, here’s what I think is the real crux of the matter: if you love someone, you will do whatever you can (within reason and whatever’s healthy) to make the other person happy. If she enjoys gifts, you’ll get her gifts on special days and even other times for no occasion whatsoever. If he just loves hugs and kisses, you’ll hug and kiss him. If she likes to be told she’s beautiful and smart, you’ll tell her that. And so on. (Just read The Five Love Languages: it’s simple and absolutely true.) You won’t begrudge her what makes her happy.
In our society today, we should celebrate happy relationships and families every chance we get. I am of the conviction that society’s success rests on the backs of successful families. Marriages that endure and are happy are the backbone of those strong families. So just give in and share the love on Valentine’s Day and every other day. It doesn’t have to be expensive, fueling the economy and those “greedy businesses.” I love to celebrate every chance I get because it just makes life sweeter. Celebration at its heart is just gratitude, and every expert says that being more grateful makes us happier.
So today, Feb. 12, as I have for the past 20 years, I celebrate the anniversary of the first kiss I shared with my husband. 21 years ago, we had a date at my apartment, just eating a meat lovers’ pizza from Pizza Hut and watching “The Princess Bride.” And every year on this date, we watch that movie and usually eat pizza. (Small wonder our family quotes so much from it. See the fun we had making mashups of PB and “Star Wars” on a previous post….)
If you’re in a relationship, celebrate it. Have fun. Share the love. Do something special. If you’re single, then show gratitude for the successful relationships that are in your life and help make you who you are. Don’t be a love Grinch. Let your heart grow three sizes this holiday.