Being happily married, I acknowledge Valentine’s Day, and usually try to do something a little special for my wife on or around that day. Being perpetually broke, it usually isn’t some extravagant gift or extremely fancy dinner out (especially when all the restaurants are packed), but I try and do something.
But for the last week, everybody has been posting about Valentine’s Day as if it is either the greatest day in the history of the world, or the worst day. And I guess it could be either of those things…if you’re in a shitty relationship.
If you’re lucky enough to be in a good relationship, your significant other will know the way you feel about her/him/it every day of the year. Sure, you can go a little bit beyond on the day assigned by the greeting card companies to express that love, but if your significant other is expecting some extravagant gift or outing, and putting a price on your success or failure at presenting said gift or outing, you are with the wrong person. Either that, or you are doing a piss-poor job at expressing your feelings for your significant other every other day of the year.
I could try to get my wife flowers, but I am not supposed to be around flowers due to risk of infection. Cut flowers usually have fungus on them and in my state I need to avoid that.
I could get her an overpriced box of chocolates, maybe in the shape of a heart, but that is just too common.
I could buy her a sappy greeting card to express how I feel about her using someone else’s words, but then that wouldn’t really be from me, would it?
I could use all of the money we have remaining for basic necessities for the month and blow it on shiny rocks that are made artificially rare and dug out of the ground by near (or sometimes more than near) slave laborers. They could be extremely flawed, once only good enough for industrial applications, and then marketed as “chocolate” to sell the glut of worthless rocks in the way of the less-flawed rocks. You know what though? Knowing my wife, I think she’d rather eat for the rest of the month.
Will I do something special for her, over and beyond the regular? Yeah, I think so, but it won’t be something that she can then compare with her friends and brag about me. If you think about it, that’s what a lot of the typical Valentine’s Day gifts really end up accomplishing. Bragging rights for the recipient. I’m not exactly sure what I will do yet, but I’m not worried about it.
The reason I’m not worried about it is that she should never have a reason to need me to express my feelings to her on this day, because I try and do something for her every single day. It may not be big, expensive, or even a gift, but it is always something that she can look back on, and know that she is very loved.
So to the people in relationships who are currently freaking out over this day, get over it. If you’re going to be in some sort of trouble for not living up to the expectations that are placed by some on this day, are you really with the right person? Are you showing that person that every single day is Valentine’s Day? Do you try to make your significant other feel special every day? Do they do the same for you? If not, what is the point? Are you just afraid to be alone?
Don’t be afraid to be alone. Being alone can be fun. It gives you a chance to become a person other good people will want in their lives. It happened to me. I spent the last few years of my first marriage losing my identity to becoming one half of the relationship. In losing myself, I likely lost the part of me that my wife was initially attracted to. (Though there were other issues I won’t go into because I learned so much from that experience that I hold no ill will.) It wasn’t until I was single and a good friend of mine helped me rediscover who I was that I became someone who was attractive again. I was okay alone. That set me up for meeting my wife. I vowed that while compromise on some issues is okay, and even necessary for a healthy relationship; I will never lose my core self to one again. I have to say, it’s working out brilliantly so far.
To you single people out there, being reminded of your singleness by this day, don’t fret. Those people in the stores with the flowers and candy in their arms aren’t necessarily happier than you. Hell, they aren’t even necessarily less lonely than you. Those couples out at the packed fancy restaurants? Look at them closely. Some barely talk. They are going through the motions. On this day, more than any other, you will see the obligated ones. The ones who need to do these things, to keep up the illusion. Do you really want to be one of them?
I like being married to my wife. I truly love her. If I didn’t, or I didn’t really believe she loved me, I’d much rather be single.
So this Valentine’s Day, remember that the only really significant thing about it, is that a lot of gangster’s got shot against a wall once.
Happy Valentine’s Day to you all, I guess.