Verbing Valentine’s Day

This post was originally going to be a rant about everything about Valentine’s Day that makes me uncomfortable:

  • The rampant consumerism.
  • The assumption that the best way to woo someone is by buying stuff.
  • The cookie-cutter approach to what is of the most unique and personal aspects of each of our lives. No two romantic relationships are alike! What works for one person or couple may be worthless or even harmful advice for another.

Instead of talking about what is wrong with Valentine’s Day, though, I decided to list more meaningful ways to show affection to a significant other. (Last year I wrote a post about why I don’t celebrate Christmas. Many of the points made there also apply to Valentine’s Day for those interested in re-evaluating holiday traditions in general.)

My philosophy of love, so to speak, is pragmatic. I’m generally uninterested in traditional gender roles or grand gestures. Love is an action verb in my family of origin, not a monologue. With this in mind let’s begin….

Verbing Valentine’s Day

Accumulate small gestures. It’s easy to say, “I love you!” Paying attention to small details consistently over time takes more work but it also shows that you’re in tune with what your SO likes, needs or wants.

Say I’m Sorry, Thank You. Apologies and appreciation are the axle grease of life.

Show anger gently. How you act when you’re mad is a far more accurate representation of who you are as a human being than how you treat others while in a good mood. I’ve never known anyone in a conflict-free relationship! How disagreements play out when they do happen, though, is a good indication of how healthy the interactions are between you.

Keep certain things private. Some of my most uncomfortable conversations have been with friends who  complain about their SO in ways that they’d never attempt if he or she could hear what was being said. Yes, sometimes advice from a close, trusted friend can help you navigate a tricky situation but be careful about what is said and how you say it.

Offer to help. There’s nothing better than hearing this phrase when you have a time-consuming or difficult project coming.

No, nothing mentioned today can be bought last-minute at the drug store or ordered online. As someone who is allergic to most chocolates, wears all two pieces of the jewelry I own every day and has never figured out what to do with flowers or stuffed animals I don’t resonate with the romance memes of western culture.


What do you consider to be a romantic gesture? How do you show your SO how much you care about them?

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0 Responses to Verbing Valentine’s Day

  1. 'Seph

    I believe we think alot alike.
    I would make the comparison to wooing one’s SO (only) on Valentine’s Day akin to giving to the poor on Christmas. (Giving to the poor on Christmas has to do neither with Christmas nor being Christian. A Christian should be doing this regularily throughout the year. Doing it on Christmas (only) is spiritual masterbation).

    It’s the consistent, difficult, little things that count. (Although, in all fairness, Valentine’s Day can be used as an excuse for a date with you SO, daughter, children, son, friends, etc.). As hypocritical as I’m going to sound, my family and I do ‘celebrate’ Valentine’s Day – but nowhere to the extreme consumerism demands.

    • “I would make the comparison to wooing one’s SO (only) on Valentine’s Day akin to giving to the poor on Christmas. ”

      Exactly. It’s worse than not doing good things on those days because doing something small once a year makes people feel like they’ve done their “duty.” With that task finished one can go back to ignoring whatever it is they don’t want to acknowledge the other 364 days of the year.

      I don’t think you’re a hypocrite for celebrating Valentine’s Day, by the way. When approached in the right away it can be a good way to let others know how much they mean to you.

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