I was looking at Valentine’s Day cards the other day, and I found one I liked for my husband. It was sweet and simple, not flowery or too wordy. I flipped it over and saw that it cost $5.99. $5.99! For one card made out of paper! (I obviously should have gone into the card publishing business.)
So, I have proposed that instead of exchanging store bought cards, we write each other notes and use that money to buy a dessert to share and a glass of wine for me when we go out to dinner :-) Did I mention that we are using a Groupon to go out to dinner, and the conditions are that we have to go Sunday – Thursday? We are going Sunday, and that’s OK, because we feel super smart that we will miss the Friday night Valentine’s Day crowds in all the restaurants.
Depending on how you look at it, we are either the most unromantic couple on the face of the planet or we are one of the smartest. Here’s the thing: we have celebrated a lot of Valentine’s Days. My husband, Bernie, actually proposed to me on Valentine’s Day 20 years ago. He is not, and has never been, a conventionally romantic man. On February 14th, 1994 he took me to our favorite Japanese restaurant in Mexico City, and then didn’t propose – at least not in the restaurant. He waited until we got back to the car, and then he handed me a little black box. With my heart pounding, I opened it only to find that it was empty. He then acted like he had lost the ring and was looking all over for it, until finally he pulled it out of his pocket. It wasn't really romantic, but it was 100% him, it made me laugh, and I loved it. He did not sweep me off my feet with charming one-liners. He won my heart by being authentic. Having said that, there are moments - without him even knowing it - that he does something genuinely romantic, like making me coffee in the morning, taking my computer to the Geek Squad to do a tune-up, and saying things like, “You get more and more beautiful every year.”
Early on we bought each other gifts for Valentine’s Day. After we had kids we discontinued the gifts and started an annual treasure hunt with the girls, and we get them gifts instead. But we have always gone out for a nice dinner and exchanged cards. So when I suggested that we skip the cards and write simple notes to each other, Bernie looked at me suspiciously. Turns out he had already bought me a card (he learned very early in our marriage that cards were important to me), and I think he thought it might be a trick. You know, like when a woman says, “Oh, I don’t need anything” but really she means you better get me something fantastic and meaningful or I’ll never, ever let you forget it.
My third grade daughter, with the help of her older sister, made handmade Valentines for all of her classmates. I found her class list on the table one night, and next to each person’s name she had written a special, unique message – something she liked about the person. Things like:
· You are so nice and kind. I am lucky to be your friend.
· You are very pretty and intelligent.
· You make the funniest voices and always make me laugh.
· I am so glad you are in my class – you are very helpful.
I think my daughter is on the right track. As much as we make Valentine’s Day about romantic gestures, gifts, flowery cards and perfect dining experiences, isn't it really as simple as telling the people we love why we love them? Isn't the most important thing that we say the words?
Love one another deeply, from the heart.
1 Peter 1:22
Disclaimer – if you are a guy reading this, and your wife or girlfriend likes to get jewelry, flowers, candy or whatever, then disregard everything I said and do what you know you need to do. Just maybe include a hand-written note inside of your ‘spensive store-bought card.