It's amazing we don't find more men pulling out their own hair around Valentine's Day. Of course, most black men don't carry a full head of hair, but that's beside the point. If you check out society's portrayals of what an ideal, healthy relationship might look like, most of it falls right in line with February's most popular day. But how much of this fantasy is actually indicative of our relationships?
Absolutely none of it. Zero -- zilch -- goose egg -- nada.
In the article, Real Life Relationships, we talked about looking past the fairytales and fantasies, and focusing instead on the effort required to sustain a meaningful relationship. This whole Valentines thing isn't exactly promoting that.
The history of Valentine's Day and its patron saint, St. Valentine, isn't always clear. There are numerous stories about St. Valentine and how February 14th came to be known as, "Valentine's Day". One legend states that St. Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome, and during this time, Emperor Claudius II had the idea that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families. As a result, he outlawed marriage for younger men. Valentine, who realized the injustice, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for star-crossed lovers in secret. When Claudius discovered this, he ordered that Valentine be put to death.
So, every February across the globe, flowers, candy, and other gifts are exchanged between loved ones -- all in the name of St. Valentine. Though it's traditional for men to give gifts to women, it is not always a one-way exchange. Women often express their undying love through gifts too.
Unfortunately, society uses Valentine's Day to promote dreamy fantasies about love and romance. Many of us become swept up in the emotions of expressing love through gifts and material items, and forget to examine the true meaning of our relationships and how we should really express love.
The consequence is a society that believes in fairytale romances. You buy flowers, candy, and gifts on February 14th; thereby, painting yourself as a loving partner who appreciates his mate.
For women, it's even worse. Many are driven by thoughts of a romantic beau, surprising them with heart-felt poems and bouquets of blushing flowers. All of this passionate attention creates butterflies in the bosom, but neglects the fact that February 15th eventually shows up and every other day of the year. Those remaining days aren't always so magical.
The reason is because relationships are not built on fantasy; love should never be the focus of a single day, even if that day was paid for with the blood of St. Valentine.
If you want to be cute and romantic on Valentine's Day, it's perfectly fine. Just don't think that your actions on February 14th will grant you any reprieves when you screw-up in the future.
Better yet, celebrate your love and romance throughout the year. Be sweet and kind on March 3rd, June 9th, August 11th, and maybe even September 25th. The days you choose won't matter, as long as there are plenty of them, and your efforts are sincere.