Why Valentine’s Day Still Matters in a Long Marriage Don't let cynicism ruin the value and benefits Valentine's can offer your marriage. BY MALINI BHATIA
Embrace the love not the cynicism of Valentine's Day.
“ Before getting up early, before worrying about the PTA or mortgages or getting accepted into pre-school, fun was probably a mainstay in your blooming relationship.”
Valentine’s Day—the holiday’s mere mention usually provokes flutters of romance or eyerolls and cynicism. The former often comes during the so-called honeymoon phase of a relationship. The latter? It’s easy to say that Valentine’s Day is just a reason for greeting card companies to sell their products or a seasonal push for stores to have major sales. It’s also easy to think that this puts unnecessary pressures on both people in a relationship to do something groundbreaking and exciting on a particular day, like it’s a competition against the previous year’s celebrations. Or the opposite, that a couple must take an "every day is Valentine’s Day" perspective, which creates its own set of pressures.
The thing is, all of those points of view are valid. Yes, Valentine’s Day makes a lot of money for a lot of corporations. Yes, it can add pressure and stress to a relationship. Yes, it may feel a little bit like a gimmick after the engagement, the wedding, the honeymoon, and the passion has settled into the rigors of everyday life—work, home, chores (particularly if you have children).
However, despite all of that, Valentine’s Day still matters. Not so much its origin (yeah, it’s a real observance that has pretty much become a marketing ploy), but the sentiment of taking one day to slow down and really put the emphasis on your spouse and your relationship. Here are four reasons why:
1. Our Busy Schedules. Work. Chores. Kids. Pets. Bills. Between all of those things, it’s really easy to have schedules that rarely overlap. Valentine’s Day can be one day where you agree to put all of those things on pause and simply enjoy each other’s company.
2. Creating a Tradition. Traditions don’t have to be huge expensive events. They can be something as simple as having a favorite restaurant to go to year after year, or a quiet spot that you both adore. Traditions can pass down over time and they can build a foundation for memories. By agreeing that yes, Valentine’s Day matters, you are building a tradition for your marriage to lean upon year after year.
3. Re-Ignite Passion. It’s not just getting your schedules to line up; you need to get your mind in the right place as well. Take a day to not talk about your children’s school issues or what needs to be fixed in the house and indulge in the things that made you fall in love in the first place. Being present mentally is just as important as it is physically.
4. Have Fun. Fun… remember that? Before getting up early, before worrying about the PTA or mortgages or getting accepted into pre-school, fun was probably a mainstay in your blooming relationship. It can be difficult to find the time, energy, and simple willingness to have fun. But Valentine’s Day can be that day you set aside to step out of your comfort zone; and research shows that couples who have fun, tend to be much happier.
The trick to all of this is to shed the external pressures created by our commercial society. There’s no need for the biggest piece of jewelry, the fanciest restaurant, or the nicest hotel room. As long as the plans are real and true to who you both are, Valentine’s Day can be a set spot on your calendar to express to your spouse how much you love him or her. This may sound like an odd point to reiterate, but it’s true: with all of the comings and goings of our daily life, sometimes we just don’t say those three little words enough.
So even if you’re completely cynical about the business machinations behind Valentine’s Day, put all of that aside and remember that it’s actually a gift. It’s our modern culture telling you that it’s okay to set aside all of the little things pulling at your attention to simply be with the love of your life. That doesn’t mean that you have to be the outgoing romantic you may have been during the early days of your relationship. In the end, it doesn’t matter so much what you do just as long as you’re together while you do it —and that it creates a lasting, meaningful memory for you. That’s something we can all appreciate at least one day a year.