If you hate pink, glitter, and hearts, this is probably not the season for you. From grocery stores to department stores, the Valentine’s Day aisle is alive and well—to the dismay of many.
Valentine’s Day always seems to get a bad rap. It’s criticized for being too commercialized, a made-up holiday, or a slap in the face for the single. Unarguably, there are clearly some valid points to the Anti-Valentine’s Day club.
However, there’s just something I find magical in that candy heart and chocolate aisle. Maybe it’s because I’m a bit of a hopeless romantic. Maybe it’s because I’m a chocoholic.
Or maybe it’s just that I love pink and glitter.
I’ve been married to my husband for five years, but we’ve been together since the age of 12. We’ve celebrated numerous Valentine’s Days together in various ways. We’ve done the traditional roses, chocolates, and candlelit dinner Valentine’s Day.
Our first year of marriage, we did the “we are so broke” budget Valentine’s Day. We’ve done the cards and mushy love notes Valentine’s Day. We’ve done a Netflix and pizza Valentine’s Day.
Throughout the years, I’ve never lost my love for the holiday of love. However, I have to admit, after five years of marriage, my views of certain aspects have certainly changed. Here are the things we’ve learned as married 20-somethings about the holiday that makes so many gag.
1. Rose petals are sexy… for about 10 seconds.
The initial surprise of flower petals scattered in adoring patterns is breathtaking. And then you realize you have to clean them all up.
2. Heart-shaped boxes of chocolates are only good for candy roulette.
I’ve never truly enjoyed the waxy chocolates that come in the box. We do, however, have fun spinning the candy wheel of random selection to see who ends up with the chocolate with orange cream or the unidentifiable substance in the middle.
3. Going out to dinner isn’t always romantic.
When we were dating, we thought going out to a fancy restaurant was essential for a proper Valentine’s Day celebration. We needed the atmosphere and the extra effort to make the night romantic. However, we now realize that waiting in line for two hours with every other couple in town just to eat some semi-warm food isn’t very romantic. Our favorite Valentine’s Day was two years ago when we finally smartened up and ordered a takeout Stromboli, watched a movie, and had a cheap bottle of wine on our sofa.
4. Don’t take it too seriously.
For our second married Valentine’s Day, Chad got me a dozen roses—a dozen stuffed, plush, over-sized roses from the local convenience store. At first I was pretty mad thinking about how much he’d probably spent on such a ludicrous gift.
Now, though, I just have to laugh. Valentine’s Day isn’t about the super serious moments from the posed photographs representing the holiday. Sometimes it’s about laughing together over ridiculous stuffed roses that you have to now figure out where to store in your one-bedroom apartment.
5. Comfy over sexy.
Valentine’s Day is on a Tuesday this year. There will be no high heels, fancy dresses, or sexy lace. There will most likely be sweatpants from my college days and my favorite T-shirt, which is completely okay. Some might call this laziness. They may be correct. However, I like to think of it as marriage melting away the superficial need to impress in superficial ways. T-shirt or designer blouse, our love is still the same.
6. It isn’t just about romantic love.
Celebrate the other types of love in your life. Send your mom some flowers. Mail Valentine’s Day cards to the local nursing home to cheer someone. Use Valentine’s Day as a way to reach out to those around you. It doesn’t have to just be about romance. If you’re like us, you of course buy your cats and your mastiff Valentines as well.
7. Chocolate > Roses (and cheaper).
Chad’s bought me plenty of roses over the years, real and fake. However, we’ve come to a mutual understanding that I’m not really a flower kind of girl. I usually forget to water them or the cats knock them over. Give me chocolate any day.
8. It’s a good reminder to show appreciation for those who matter most.
Our views of Valentine’s Day change through life. It may turn from a day to collect candy from classmates and wear pink to a day to celebrate (or mourn) a relationship status. Once married, the traditions and meaning of the holiday continue to morph. Nonetheless, whether you’re dating, single, or married, Valentine’s Day reminds us that love is a part of the human journey.
Is Valentine’s Day a commercialized day to encourage chocolate and flower sales? Maybe. Should you only show your spouse love one day a year? Obviously not.
Valentine’s Day is not the foundation of a marriage or of love. However, I don’t think it’s such a bad thing to have a date on the calendar to remember what matters most. It reminds us to take a moment in the dead of winter to show the ones we love that we truly value them. Whether it’s through a formal dinner, pizza on the couch in flannel pajamas, or a silly gift to incite laughter, celebrating Valentine’s Day is a way to recognize that love adds value to life.
Lindsay Detwiler is a high school English teacher and contemporary romance author. To learn more about her six novels, visit www.lindsaydetwiler.com.