I’m writing about Valentine’s Day early because I’m hoping to help those of you who fall under its twisted spell to see clearly through the deceptive veil that masks “the day of love.”
Now, bear in mind that this post is somewhat tongue in cheek, but only somewhat. I truly have disdain for this “Hallmark” holiday, which is, in fact, a trifecta of indulgence, a promotional conspiracy between the greeting card, jewelry, and florist industries to drive consumers into guilt spree spending.
Before I continue, I can hear you saying, “well, what about Mother’s Day?” To that, I say, wait until you have raised a teenager who is hormonally ungrateful and petulant 364 days a year, and you will understand why being guilt-driven on Mother’s Day, no matter how old you are, is a kindness and penance for those demonic years.
But I digress.
In 1990, I wrote a newspaper column about the origin of Valentine’s Day. I was shocked at the holiday’s violent beginnings (involving sacrifices and beheadings). If you don’t believe me, here is a link to that article:
Valentine’s Day Column
Lest you think I am the Snow Queen, if you read the article, you will see that I’m not opposed to the SPIRIT of Valentine’s Day. No, indeed. I believe that any time we can express our love and gratitude to our partners is a good time.
It’s the way our society has connected the essence of the holiday with having to spend money to prove that you love your partner that bothers me.
And what about those without partners?
I can remember too many years feeling sick at heart on Valentine’s Day because I was not in a relationship. Why can’t the spirit of the day be extended to anyone we love? It’s cruel and unusual punishment inflicted on those who are already all too aware that they are not in a relationship to be surrounded by all that nauseating romance for the first two weeks of February.
A Change of Heart
I have been with my husband since 2001. Every year, I told him not to buy me a Valentine’s Day gift. For many years, he agreed … but bought a gift anyway, thinking it was a trap. If he didn’t buy me a gift, he was afraid I would then say I hadn’t meant it and he should have known. Twisted, right?
Finally, I sat him down and set him straight. We have not exchanged gifts for a number of years. And I feel great about it. We use the day as a conscious reminder to be kind and loving to each other, maybe spending a little more time together.
What a gift it would be to release your partner from feeling like he or she needs to break the bank to show how much you are loved.
The Best Gift
I’m not saying people shouldn’t buy gifts for each other. I’m simply suggesting that you not bankrupt your spending plan to do so. That you keep in mind the spirit of the holiday so you don’t get confused about why you are buying a gift. And that you don’t let guilt pressure you into spending more than you can afford.
The DA program helps us learn to be more loving every day through the steps and tools. If you are working a DA program, remember, the best gift you can give your partner is continued recovery from compulsive debting one day at a time EVERY day.