Americans have created an impressive host of bizarre and obscure holidays. With our access to the Internet the fog has cleared, and anyone may now discover such gems as Do A Grouch A Favor Day (February 16th) or No Brainer Day (February 27th). The ability of marketers and retailers to make a buck off holidays stands as an impressive talent. The next major entry on the calendar (and, guys, it is TUESDAY!) is Valentine’s Day, and the hucksters are clamoring to be heard.
The official flavor of Valentine’s Day is chocolate. I know this because I’ve been pummeled by commercials informing me that a guy who really cares about his lady must shop for chocolate diamonds. Who knew diamonds came in flavors? Before I could dig deeper my brain froze on the blue screen of death as I fathomed how the separate bath tubs in the next commercial might represent a possible romantic moment.
Some guys experience extreme mental constipation in the hours leading up to Valentine’s Day. To exploit that weakness shrewd business people sell flowers and cheap chocolates from the corner mini-marts to cater to those desperate males on the February 14th homeward commute. Men who can track vehicle mileage subconsciously to know when the next oil change is due forget the sacred day set aside for expressing sentiment. The very man who can land a six figure business deal freezes over the choice of an appropriate Valentine’s Day card for the lady who shares his life.
Love is a verb. Saying the word might gain an audience but demonstrating the word with actions builds a relationship. And advertisers understand this so Valentine’s Day is cast in an atmosphere of absolute perfection where the cost of the gift reflects the depth of the love.
What man hasn’t tried to plan a perfect Valentine’s evening only to arrive home and find that the child is carpet-bombing the house with projectile vomit? Or that Old Faithful, the ailing upstairs toilet, has erupted? And then there is that gift chosen carefully and purchased in love that thudded rather than floated. Sometimes, men give up rather than persevere.
Romance is not always candlelight and intimate dinners. It’s sneaking a passionate kiss between finishing supper and cleaning up the kitchen. Or hoping the baby sleeps long enough that an exhausted Mom and Dad can enjoy a few minutes napping on separate ends of the couch. Often romance is working together to plan and complete a DIY project. Real life does more to shape a relationship than the commercials would have us believe.
John, the last surviving disciple of Jesus, wrote the four books of the Bible that bear his name. The aging apostle had learned much about love and shared these words of wisdom.
Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.
1 John 3:18 NASB
Don’t just say, “I love you!” Show it. Prove it. Put feet to it, and make it happen. Love is about doing and demonstrating. That’s the message we need to hear amidst the retail ruckus of must-have products and unrealistic expectations. Guys, if you need ideas check out 50 Valentine Ideas for Men.
And a gift is always a good idea, too. The best way I’ve found for knowing what Shawn would like is by listening. She rarely writes gift lists but in conversation she often shares ideas or items that she would enjoy. And with a smartphone I can make an instant note. I know better than to think, “I’ll remember.”
Ladies, if you’re looking for a gift for your man please consider Quest for the Perfect Wife. The easy-to-read book covers ten relationship-building behaviors for your man to adopt in helping you become a better wife. The work mixes the fictional account of a young man’s journey to learn about marriage with Biblical accounts of characters who found wives in sometimes unusual ways.
There is much for all of us to learn on the relationship journey.