Cupid is coming, women are getting excited and telling their men what they would like, men are eye-rolling and complaining, single gals are looking to friends or books to hang out with, florists and jewelers are smiling, and Hallmark is ringing in the black. Valentine’s Day is a time annually to celebrate romantic love. The day of romance we call Valentine’s Day is named for a Christian martyr and dates back to the 5th century, but has origins in the Roman holiday Lupercalia. It was much later that it became associated with love.
Actions Speak Louder than Words
As the French writer François Rabelais once noted, “Gestures, in love, are incomparably more attractive, effective and valuable than words.” For proof—and a guarantee that your Valentine’s Day gift will seem inadequate—look no further than these famous romantic acts, which stand as some of history’s most passionate expressions of love.
- King Nebuchadnezzar II supposedly built the Hanging Gardens of Babylon in the sixth century B.C. as a gift for his wife.
- Mughal emperor Shah Jahan commissioned the Taj Mahal in 1632—with its elaborate minarets, 250-foot- high domed mausoleum and 42-acre grounds—primarily as a monument to the memory of his third wife who died in childbirth with their 14 th child.
- Richard Wagner is remembered for secretly composing the symphony “Tribschen Idyll” (later renamed “Siegfried Idyll”) as a present for his wife, Cosima, on her 33rd birthday. He woke her up Christmas morning with a 15 piece orchestra playing this, one of his greatest works.
- King Edward VIII chose a woman over the throne. Forced to choose between love and crown, Edward abdicated the throne in December 1936.
- The marriage of poets Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning is one of literature’s great romances, and the couple’s love for one another often spilled over into their work. The most famous example came in 1850 with the publication of Barrett’s book “Sonnets from the Portuguese,” a series of love poems composed when the pair first began their courtship.
Valentine’s Day does not require such famous acts of romance, but gestures of love are precious ways of saying, “I love you.”
Singles, Do Something for Others
If you are single, looking forward to Valentine’s Day may be a lonely painful experience. I have been there and can tell you this is a time to take action. A day of love for lovers often translates to empty intimacy but there is plenty of nonromantic love to go around. We usually are not upset that someone else gets to celebrate their birthday or anniversary. We are happy for them. When Valentine’s Day rolls around, try to see it in a similar way and use the day to connect with close friends or family. Do something for someone else and express your kindness or love through actions. You might give a party for others without a lover. And you certainly could celebrate your love for yourself and send flowers.
Elder Statespersons, Do Something to Spark the Joy in Others
As an elder statesperson you may or may not care that Valentine’s Day is here once again. You may be married and in the mood for deeper love, romance or remembrance. If divorced or widowed, remembrance might be enough. You may be happy to see the younger sets enjoying the joy of their intimate connections. And if they are not so happy-looking you could feel compassion for them as the clouds of emotional distance pass between them. Whatever mood you may be in, it certainly is a good day to send a little love to friends, children and grandchildren. You have spent many years doing for others and this day is another day for you to feel love by doing a loving gesture for others. You might even be the spark for others to experience joy for all the love in the world.
Men, Keep Doing Your Passionate Demonstrations of Love
Men, you get cheated on Valentine’s Day. Cupid struck you, too! It saddens me that you get to do all the giving and pay all the attention to make your sweetheart feel loved. You give the cards, flowers, candy, jewelry, dinners, and trips. You are expected to pronounce your on-going and unending love. I personally think that is a very good thing. I even suggest it as great behavior for many, many days of the year, not just February 14. Your gestures of love are truly appreciated. The disappointing part is that you, the male gender, do not get paid much attention February 14. You might get a card and maybe something else. But we women do not spoil you with love on Valentine’s Day.
Women, Let’s Start a New Holiday Doing Romantic Acts of Love for the Guys
I suggest we select another day of the year and women passionately share some acts of love with your man since we do so little for them on Valentine’s Day. Men, you might have to ask for the love that you would like. Perhaps a golf outing, or a shooting holiday would suit you. You might like your favorite food that your mother made. Maybe even lovemaking for breakfast and dessert. Whatever manner you desire love expressed to you, help your sweetheart set up a day for you to receive. If you want poetry and the symphony – go for it. But if football and Victoria’s Secret is more to your liking, ask. Declare Valentine’s Day for Men. You, too, deserve many loving gestures from the woman in your life.
Let’s all demonstrate some acts of kindness on Valentine’s Day and give the most precious gift of all – our love.