Chances are, if you’re reading this you either already have plans for Valentine’s day, you are frantically googling keywords like “free” “cheap” “quick” “romantic” “ideas” “help”, or you have decided to boycott the whole day entirely. Whichever it is for you, I think we can all agree that Valentine’s day needs some help. Here are some things to keep in mind to make sure that today is not lame, but could actually be a sweet memory.
1. Remember What it’s All About
A little history lesson here. This holiday existed before Hallmark and commercialism made it what it is today. Originally it is a feast held to honor the man of God known as St. Valentine. There is so much legend and myth around his story that it can be hard to pull out all of the facts. But what we do know is that Valentine was a priest who lived during the time of the Roman Emperor Claudius. Claudius wanted the people to be as focused as possible on the wars he was waging to expand his wealth and power. To ensure their commitment, he outlawed marriage to ensure that his soldiers would not be distracted by love or family and could thus focus on expanding the Empire through war.
In response to this, Valentine would marry people secretly as a resistance to the Empire. Valentine’s actions ended up costing him his life as the emperor had him executed. To Valentine, love was worth more than money, greed, and power.
It’s ironic that now on his feast day, the holiday is frowned upon as a cliche designed to make money of all things. What if we chose to remember it for what it is and in the spirit of St. Valentine, chose to love sacrificially and intentionally? When we choose to enter into THIS kind of holiday, the rest is easy. It doesn’t matter what you do or how much you spend. It’s about reminding the one(s) you love that they are WORTH more than money, greed, or anything else.
2. Make it As Unique As Possible
There is so much pressure out there to make this day look like something specific. Too often on this day we try to be something that we are not and plan the “romantic” dates that we see on the movies. I can guarantee you that what matters most is not checking the boxes of chocolate, teddybear, wine, or whatever. What matters most is that you love your significant other the way that they feel loved. Is she an extrovert? Take her out on the town! Does she love gifts? Try buying a few little things instead of one big thing and give them to her throughout the night. The point is, the more the date feels specific to who she is, the more it will feel like a special memory and not an obligatory psuedo-holiday. Of course, this takes even more effort and intentionality. But it’s the right kind of effort. The kind that works to learn how to love your significant other well, not the kind that stresses about keeping up with the trends and traditions.
3. Be Clear on Expectations
One major cliche that sometimes catches us by surprise, is the subtle disappointment that we can feel by unmet, and often unspoken, expectations. Before you start celebrating together, be clear on what you each expect. If she is really hoping for hours of connecting over dinner and dessert, and you have a 15 point scavenger hunt of all your favorite places, there’s going to be disappointment. Both are equally romantic and thoughtful, however the unmet expectation will be the only thing felt and remembered.
Instead, what if you had a conversation about expectations. Now I am HUGE fan of surprises, so don’t get me wrong and think you need to show all your cards. But some questions like:
- How do you feel most loved?
- What have been some of your favorite dates that we have had together?
- What is your energy level tonight?
Could go a long way in getting you both on the same page and avoiding any potential letdowns.
4. Do something together, for other people!
Of course this day is about loving your significant other in a romantic way. But that’s not all that it is about! This is a day that celebrates intentional love. What better way to make new memories and connect deeply with each other than doing something together for friends, family or even strangers. Whether it’s through making a meal together for other people, or writing encouraging Valentine notes to remind people that they are loved, it doesn’t matter. Working together to be blessing together as partners will definitely keep you far from cliche territory but beyond that, it will allow you to do something meaningful together which will only bring you closer.
P.S. Valentine’s day is simply an excuse to enter into intentional love and celebration...These are things you can do on any other day//date as well!
P.S.S HAPPY VALENTINES DAY CYNDI! I love you 'till the seas run dry.
INSTAGRAM & TWITTER: @JONATHONMURILLO
Jonathon grew up in six different states across the Western United States. He made his way to Southern California to attend Vanguard University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication. Currently, he is pursuing a Master's of Divinity Degree at Azusa Pacific University where he also works doing campus ministry with college students. Jonathon is passionate about discipleship to Jesus and innovation, especially when those two spaces meet. He aspires to encourage people to live well-curated lives of purpose and passion. You can find Jonathon living in his beloved city of Costa Mesa, California with his amazing wife, Cyndi. Oh yeah, and he is a HUGE Raiders fan.