Valentine’s Day: Does It Stress You Out ?

Since the middle ages Valentine’s Day has been associated with love and romance, a day of expressing your love to the loved one in your life. As time has gone on it has become more and more commercialised with the emphasis on cards, flowers, gifts, eating out or the perfect food to create the perfect meal at home. The unspoken message that is being communicated is that if the above criteria are fulfilled it will be a perfect day because there is proof of love. As a result it puts a lot of couples under pressure. The message being conveyed is that this is how a relationship is defined.

In order to celebrate Valentine’s Day successfully we are told that we need to have some or all of the following:
A Valentine Card - that has the perfect verse for your loved one.
Flowers - especially roses are supposedly the ultimate expression of love.
Gifts - there is such an array of gifts manufactured especially for Valentine’s Day, or it is the perfect day to get engaged!
Dining out - usually there are several sittings on the night so you have a specified length of time to eat. Restaurants are usually overcrowded and full of couples celebrating Valentine’s Day. 

Here is what you can do:

Why not discuss what you both want for Valentine’s Day, how you would both like to celebrate it and then compromise if need be. Whilst some would argue that this takes the romance out of the day, it also takes the pressure off. It can be a day to look forward to and know what to plan for. It can reduce the stress and unrealistic expectations and the disappointment that often ensues. You may come up with something alternative but something that you both want to do and want to do together. It might also be an idea to decide and discuss if you want a lavish affair or something more simple that is, perhaps, within both of your budgets.

If you are going to exchange cards do they have to be ‘bought’ cards. If a card is made with love it can have more meaning as time and care went into its creation. It is also original. Then again, it doesn’t even have to be a card; it could be a poem that romantically expresses how you feel about your partner or even a good old fashioned love letter.
Do you have to buy flowers or a gift?  Again it is not about how much is spent that determines whether or not Valentine’s Day is a success. It’s about the thought and effort that goes into the gift or flowers. A gift can be a token gift; it can be doing something for your partner that they hate doing; it can be combining budgets and doing something that you both enjoy doing together. If you have children it can be something as simple as giving each other time on your own without any interruptions from phone calls etc.
Do you want to go out for a meal? It is ok not to want to go out on the night. If you decide to eat in, it has to be because you both want to and whoever is doing the cooking is not under pressure to cook, or that the meal has to be the perfect meal. It can be an ordinary everyday affair prepared with love and time to sit, relax, talk and enjoy the food and each other’s company.

If none of the above happens it does not mean that it defines your relationship. Remember your relationship is more than one day, 14th February. It goes on 365 days a year.  If your partner does not like or believe in Valentine’s Day, take an overview and see that there is much more to your relationship than one day. Your partner may have outstanding qualities that are invaluable to you.

For those not in a relationship Valentine’s Day can still be celebrated. It can be about sharing it with a friend, family, or someone whom you care about.  Showing them how much you care and how much they mean to you. It can be about stepping outside the box and you may be surprised with what you come up with.  In Finland and Estonia Valentine's Day is known as "Friend's Day". This day is more about remembering all your friends as well as your loved ones, a fine sentiment indeed.