Nothing but Love

Giving your Valentine’s Day Meaning

The origins of Valentine’s Day date back even before the 14th century when ‘courting’ was flourishing in England — this is when February 14th became associated with love and those in love expressing affection for each other in the form of cards, flowers, or candy. And while these Valentine’s Day traditions hold strong in modern days, people either love the holiday or hate it. Some order the roses ahead of time while others pick them up at the local Harris Teeter on the way home from work. Those married for years may choose to give a simple card to express their feelings or write a sweet note. Others in the midst of raising children may just let the day go by without truly acknowledging it. All the single ladies… or men… may go out for a night on the town in the hopes of finding someone to spend the next Valentine’s Day with. I guess it all depends on your perspective… and relationship status.

Some people dislike Valentines Day for reasons such as it’s “price gouging,” “high-pressure,” “made-up,” and “over-commercialized.”

In response, therapist and relationship coach Esther Boykin, also author of The Date Deck and CEO of Group Therapy Associates in Haymarket, wrote a blog entitled “7 Reasons I Love Valentine’s Day… Even if it is a Ridiculous Holiday.”    

Boykin says, “but there’s another side… there’s the love.”

  1. Reason number one to love Valentine’s Day is directed at the single people in life. Boykin says people who are single but maintain good social circles have actually reported having a great time on this special day of the year. “The truth is, Valentine’s Day is a chance to remind yourself of all the loving relationships in your life, and when we feel loved, we attract more love.” How’s that for a good dose of hope?
  2. The second reason Boykin gives is that it reminds couples about the attention and care that should be put into the relationship.
  3. The day, and preparing for it, can provide the “eye-opening” moment that allows you to evaluate your readiness to be in a relationship and the health of the relationship you are currently in.
  4. The day can bring to mind the necessity of being proactive in cultivating your relationship by planning ahead and budgeting for your romantic gesture.
  5. It can give you an extra push to take action towards a relationship you’ve been stalling on.
  6. Boykin’s sixth reason is really beautiful, as she points out this holiday can be used as a teaching opportunity for children. It gives them examples of ways to express affection and emotion, and shows that all kinds of love are important to show to those around us, not just the romantic kind.
  7. In explaining reason seven, Boykin refers to the 5 Love Languages by author Gary Chapman, a book that has sold over 11 million copies. Valentine’s Day gives couples a chance to give a gift based on the love language your partner lives by.

Giving what tradition tells you to give to your spouse may not mean much. But giving your partner what he or she really desires is crucial to creating meaning out of the holiday for your relationship. “Do flowers and jewelry express love to your wife or would she prefer a fun night on the town or a quiet dinner at home prepared by you?” Boykin asks. “The trick is to realize that gifts come in all forms including your time, attention, words… and a pair of diamond earrings never hurt anyone,” says Boykin.

So, in case your spouse or partner’s love language includes a delicious meal but they would prefer to enjoy it at home on this day when restaurants are booked and overcrowded, this recipe is for you. If not, make that reservation or get those flowers ordered, or sit down a write a poem expressing the specific qualities you admire in your partner. Or take a look at 5 Love Languages and figure out a way to speak to your loved one in the way he or she would feel most appreciated.

To read more “musings” by Esther Boykin, subscribe to her podcast, find out about events and retreats to enhance marriage relationships, or buy her book, The Date Deck, go to estherboykin.com. Located on Jefferson Street in Haymarket, Group Therapy Associates is a “boutique style counseling and coaching agency for people who want to live happier and healthier lives.” To find out more, go to grouptherapyassociates.com or call 703-644-8041.

Christine Craddock
About Christine Craddock 33 Articles
Christine Craddock is a writer, editor, photographer, wife, and mother of two adorable children. She is a faithful contributing writer for Haymarket Lifestyle magazine and has resided in Haymarket since 2006.

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