Legend tells that, during the third century in Rome, Emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage for young men. He believed that single men made better soldiers than men with wives and children. Others, however, disagreed. One man, in particular, Saint Valentine, realized the injustice of this decree and secretly continued to perform marriages. Unfortunately, upon discovery, Claudius ordered Valentine to be put to death.
There are other stories that suggest that Valentine may have been killed because he was helping Christians escape the harsh realities of Roman prisons. Valentine, himself, was imprisoned before his death, and it may have been that he had actually fallen in love with his jailor’s daughter, to whom he wrote a letter and signed it “From your Valentine.”
Regardless of the truth of these legendary stories, Valentine was seen as a sympathetic hero and a romantic figure. By the Middle Ages, his popularity continued to rise. In 1537, King Henry VII officially declared that St. Valentine’s Day should be celebrated on February 14.
Fast forward to today, the holiday created in his honor has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry. Chocolates, roses, cards, teddy bears, jewelry, love and romance are all a part of what seem to symbolize this holiday. Some believe that this holiday has become too commercialized and has lost its meaning, while others say that this holiday continues to be a special time for us to acknowledge in a meaningful way those who are special to us.
Others, yet, may feel that Valentine’s Day is fraught with expectations and pressure for those in relationships. You may be in a new relationship and be unsure of what to do at this time. You may be vulnerable to possible rejection because you’re not sure about how your new partner actually feels about you. You have to decide whether or not to take a relationship risk here.
On the other hand, you may have been in a long term relationship in which you no longer want to continue. Celebrating Valentine’s Day is not your intention. Interestingly, the pressure in this situation has lead to the phenomenon that some call “Red Tuesday”. This is the Tuesday before Valentine’s Day, which seems to be the most popular day of the year to break up with somebody.
Whatever your situation may be, however, Valentine’s Day offers opportunities to make decisions about giving and what giving means. It is very easy to get caught up in a spending frenzy when we want to impress someone or make someone feel special. However, diamond jewelry and Chocolate Inn BT12 truffles are neither necessary nor reasonable in order to find meaning in the holiday. Just because someone may have the means to be a big spender doesn’t mean that personal expressions of love and caring don’t matter. Some people equate love with consumption…the higher the price tag, the greater the value in the relationship. Some others spend to impress with little regard to what the recipient may actually find meaningful.
And then, there are those gifts that are truly priceless, gifts that have nothing to do with money. Giving of our time and our effort and our spirit are gifts that keep on giving. As the saying goes, we may not remember what someone said or what he or she was wearing or even that person’s name. What we will remember, however, is how that person made us feel. While money is absolutely associated with security in life, it doesn’t have to be as significantly associated with love and caring. We can always get more money, but we can never get more time. We can’t buy it. We can’t negotiate to have it back. We can’t have more than what already exists.
We can affect time, though. We can make it special, wonderful, joyous and lovely. We can also make it dark and heavy and painful. Time does not discriminate. We all have 60 seconds in a minute. And most of us know that our worlds can change in a split second…for better or for worse.
The message here is that love and money don’t always have to intersect. We can reach into our giving pockets and pull out something other than dollar bills. We can embrace the holiday of LOVE on a budget and give and get so much more than the monetary value associated with a gift. Saint Valentine believed in love so much that he put himself in harm’s way so that it could flourish. Regardless of our relationship status, our financial status does not need to determine the value of our ability to give. So, for all of us who have been touched by love, may we all be able to make our marks on others so that simply having known us adds something priceless to their lives.
I can help you make decisions about your relationship. Contact me for a private consultation.