Love and Valentine’s Day

We will celebrate 43 years of marriage this year.

valentine-antiqueI know we have celebrated Valentine’s back in our younger years, but I cannot tell you the last time I spent time and focus on this holiday. Like many others, I see it to be so commercialized. You are compared to everyone who buys cards, candy and flowers, and a host of other expensive and, often, tawdry gifts.

When others go all out, it is easy to feel guilty.

To be on the positive side of the guilt feeling, I never remember my parents celebrating. I’m sure they did, but it was never a big event. It was something we did in grade school, and there were a few girlfriends in my teen years, and then my bride had all my attention. It got to the point where there was no reason to carve out a special day, when every single day was purposed to show love!

We’ve known each other for approximately 16,208 days. That’s more than some, but not as many as others who blaze the trail of longevity.  That’s over 2,315 weeks, and nearing 400,000 hours.

We do not need a special day to celebrate each other.

Why do so many need this day? Where did it come from, historically? My research shows its roots in the Ancient Roman festival of “Lupercalia”, a celebration intended to secure fertility and to keep out evil.  It’s celebration was on our Gregorian calendar date of February 15th. It sounds like a raunchy celebration during times when there was no spiritual focus as we would consider it today.

Around 496 AD, Pope Gelasius took over this holiday, moved it to February 14, and called it St Valentine’s Day in honor of a particular saint that lived several hundred years before his time. Eventually, like most other modern celebrations, it morphed into the commercial we see today that attempts to get us to spend our money, declare our love, and feel satisfied with the effort.

Legends. History. Stories. Fables. And we end up with a gaudy day of calories we do not need, sentiments written by people in back rooms and transferred to the greeting card companies, and a host of flowers forced to grow out of season.

All to try and appease the love gods.

I don’t need a day to tell me to treat my bride special, or to show her a day of love. Nor do I want to join the countless millions giving the same tired words in the jazzed up greeting card. Nor do I want to feel forced to tell her of my love at the same time everyone else feels forced to celebrate. Every day is a special day, and I plan on having many more days to come!

Some would ask, how do you show your love?

How? Every day… All the time… Through the storms and into the sunshine.  “Don’t leave the house without kissing the spouse.” Back rubs. Oil Changes. Cooking dinner and cleaning up afterwards. Supportive. Every moment. Every day. Being a good listener. Show respect. Laughter. Tears. Saying the words, “I Love You” and mean it as much as our wedding day vows. Enjoy each other’s presence. Do for the other without expecting anything in return. Go out of your way to make the other happy. Make sure they feel appreciated. Nurtured in the way they need it. Being completely honest, and faithful. Enjoy the quiet as well as the racket.

How Do I Love Thee? (Sonnet 43)

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, 18061861

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

My grandparents were married 65 years when he passed. That’s 23,742 days! To reach their goal, we have another 7,534 days to go… 22 more years. Doable? Definitely! Surpass it? That’s our goal.

Love you Brenda! Each and every day… And yes, even on Valentine’s Day…