As a couples counselor and relationship therapist, I wanted to throw out a friendly reminder to all that Valentine’s Day is approaching next week. Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate your love for your partner or someone you love. This love celebration occurs across cultures, although the day, days and rituals of celebration vary. While Valentine’s Day in our culture is celebrated once a year, your relationship actually needs celebration, romance and passion everyday. Passion is kindled by a deep appreciation of yourself as well.
Here are some facts about Valentine’s Day:
According to Wikipedia, though disputed, Valentine’s is the second most celebrated holiday after New Year’s Eve!
Valentine’s Day in it’s romantic tradition began in the 14th Century with poet Geoffrey Chaucer. Chaucer writes in his poem, The Parliament of Fowls, about a longing for romantic love that he can find no abatement for. Chaucer, great scholar that he his, tries to find solace in literature. He reads a book written by Cicero, “on the dream of Scipio.” Accordingly, Cicero finds that spiritual attainment is reached through virtuous living. This answer seems a little unsatisfying to forlorn Chaucer. Chaucer then falls asleep and dreams he’s in Nature’s temple surrounded by every kind of bird imaginable. This avian parliament occurs on Saint Valentine’s Day for the ducks, geese, cuckoos, etc. to choose a mate. My favorite part is when he hears the eagles a’courtin’.
For the full translated text of Chaucer’s poem: http://bit.ly/WuoAIH
I remember in school that we would pass around “Be Mine Valentine” cards and the sweet conversation hearts that messaged things like “True Love” and “Be Mine”. These candy hearts, invented by Daniel Chase of what became the New England Confectionary Company (NECCO), have been around since the American Civil War. In 2010 ten new messages and flavors were added by the Necco company including flavors like apple and strawberry and messages like “Tweet Me” and “Text Me”. According to the NECCO website, the company produces over 8 billion candy hearts (roughly 33 million pounds) each year that sell out in 6 weeks!
Wikipedia attributes the commercial tradition of greeting cards for Valentines Day to originate with a 1797 British publication of “suggested sentimental verses for the young lover unable to compose his own.” In Japan during the adoption of Valentine’s Day in the 1950’s, a translation error by a Japanese confectioner started a Japanese tradition of only women giving chocolates to men. In South Korea, women give men chocolate on February 14th and men give women non-chocolate candy on March 15 and, if you receive no candy, one goes to mourn and eat black noodles on April 14th.
Here’s a suggestion:
Valentine’s Day can serve as a reminder to honor and cherish your partner everyday. Your relationship can be even greater if you tend to it with presence, patience and regular appreciation. This is far more helpful and healthy for your relationship long-term than yearly greeting cards, chocolates and gifts.
Here are a couple of relationship questions that you can ask yourself and your partner in preparation for making each day as purposeful for your relationship as Valentine’s Day:
How can I connect meaningfully with my partner each day?
What can I do each day to keep the romance and passion in my relationship?
What could I do each day to bring acceptance and love to my partner and myself?
How do I honor the passions and commitments inside me? How do I honor my partner’s passions and commitments?
May all your days be filled with love.