By Dr. David Hawkins, Crosswalk.com
"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing." ~ 1 Corinthians 13: 1 - 2
As we near Valentine’s Day, the day florists enjoy the sweet fragrance of sales, and chocolatiers lick their lips with possibilities, many men and women begin to feel a vague sense of trepidation.
What will they get for their sweetheart? What will their sweetheart get them? As men, do we go for the tried and true bouquet of roses, or perhaps something a bit simpler like a nice flower arrangement?
Women often feel angst about the holiday as well. Will their man even remember the date? Will he make it special, or will he feign ignorance as he has in the past and say he forgot to do anything or was too busy? Worse yet, will he offer a feeble, “I don’t really believe in that holiday. I show my love all through the year.”
There are many naysayers when it comes to this holiday. You’ll hear a lot of people grousing about the cost of flowers, the challenge of getting to the stores, and the sheer awkwardness of picking out something that will make a positive statement.
Rather than slip into this negative mentality, or attempt to deny the day is fast-approaching, I’m trying a new tactic: to view Valentine’s Day as an opportunity, rather than an obligation. After all, consider these possible ways to view this special day:
- Here’s a day where I can express my appreciation for my special loved one;
- The stores have made it easy for me, allowing me ample opportunities for purchasing cards and gifts;
- I can think about the strengths in our relationship, days and even weeks in advance;
- It is an opportunity to consider ways to be a better mate and improve our relationship:
- This is an opportunity, much like New Year’s Day, to begin a new resolution about adding romance to my relationship.
While you may feel some pressure to perform on this day — no doubt about it -- rather than get grouchy over the responsibility, why not choose to see the brighter side of the situation?
Here are a few questions to consider as you prepare for this magical day:
1. How do you feel about your mate?
2. What would your sweetheart find as a meaningful gift on this day?
3. What are some ways you can bring romance back into your relationship?
Valentine’s Day offers us an opportunity to become a bit creative. Instead of doing the same-old, mindless gift, if you want to really make a statement, consider sticking your neck out a ways. How about:
- Cooking a romantic dinner at home?
- Making reservations at her/his favorite restaurant?
- Making reservations at a cute, tucked-away place you’ve never been to before?
- Taking her/ him away for a weekend getaway?
- Creating a CD of all her/ his favorite music?
- Concert tickets to her/ his favorite performer?
- And yes --- flowers. (It’s really hard to miss on this one!)
If this Valentine’s Day finds you and your mate in a great place, any of these ideas will only add to the Love Bucket. If this Valentine’s Day finds you and your mate in a distant and detached situation, this is a new opportunity to offer a powerful gesture of peace and reconciliation. This is an opportunity to end the conflict and begin loving each other again. Even if you’ve been estranged, few refuse a loving hand reaching out to them, asking the question, “Can we begin again?”
So, let’s draw back the bow, and like Cupid, let the arrow fly straight to the heart of our mate.
Dr. Hawkins is the director of The Marriage Recovery Center where he counsels couples in distress. He is the author of over 30 books, including When Pleasing Others Is Hurting You, Love Lost: Living Beyond a Broken Marriage, and Saying It So He'll Listen. His newest books are titled The Relationship Doctor's Prescription for Healing a Hurting Relationship and The Relationship Doctor's Prescription for Living Beyond Guilt. Dr. Hawkins grew up in the beautiful Pacific Northwest and lives with his wife on the South Puget Sound where he enjoys sailing, biking, and skiing. He has active practices in two Washington cities.