The inherent danger of Valentine's Day for men
By Focus on the Family
I'm no anti-Valentine's Day grinch, but I can't help but sense that the current, and highly commercialized approach to Valentine's Day is actually causing us men to lose sight of some important truths about authentic love.
It is my contention that the current emphasis on buying things for the woman you love creates the misconception that love is an act of gift-giving, rather than what it is actually meant to be, an act of self-giving between persons.
Our current approach to Valentine's Day is really, in most cases, actually about celebrating sentimentality, rather than authentic love.
Yes, buying gifts can be a loving thing to do, but authentic love is about you giving of yourself to the other, rather than about you buying something for someone else (and one really does have to wonder who is actually intended to benefit from all the lingerie that is bought for women, by men, on Valentine's Day).
Perhaps it's time to reclaim Valentine's Day, and instead of it being a day of overly commercialized gift-giving it should become a day of true self-giving between persons, a day where the romance actually signifies an authentic bond of love that exists between the two persons, rather than, in many cases, being a substitute for it.
There's also something rather hollow and contradictory about giving someone a gift of love because you feel compelled to do so, surely a truly loving gift is one which comes from appreciation rather than obligation (i.e. 'I bought you this gift because I wanted to show my appreciation for you', rather than 'I bought you this gift because it's Valentine's Day, and I felt that I had to because that's what you're supposed to do on Valentine's Day').
I would suggest that the real measure of your love for another person is not actually what you do for them on Valentine's Day, but rather what you do for them, and how you treat them, the other 364 days of the year.
Any unthinking dolt can buy his special someone a gift of 'love' on a day when he's socially and commercially pressured into doing so, but the real test comes on the other days when there is no exterior expectation on you to do anything loving for your significant other.
I am also confident that Valentine's Day would take on a whole new, and far more authentically loving tone if, instead of merely getting flowers, the women we love received gifts from us like the re-pledging of our marriage vows, or a commitment to become more involved in the daily chores and child-raising duties around the house, or our enrollment in a fathering course, etc.
Buying flowers for the woman in our life one day a year is easy, but the real test of truly authentic love is what we do for them on the other 364 days of the year - the inherent danger of Valentine's Day (or at least our current and highly commercialized approach to it) is that it can cause us men to lose sight of this important truth.