It’s Not About Valentine’s Day –
Really. It’s not! People spend a crazy amount of money on Valentine’s Day every year. It’s a holiday that makes single girls feel very single and probably ends in disappointment even for many people who are in relationships just because reality doesn’t always live up to our sometimes overinflated expectations. People tend to put an awfully lot of stock in this one day, and just a bit of life advice here: It’s never a good idea to put too much weight on just ONE DAY. That’s a recipe for disappointment and possible disaster, but that’s just my two cents (which I probably got for a penny because I never pay full price for anything).
The following is something I posted on my personal Facebook page last year on Valentine’s Day. I am only making minor edits for clarity to those who don’t know us outside of this blog. Those of you who have been following along know that my daughter was married during her senior year of high school. At the time this was initially posted, we were about a month from the wedding, just to give you a little context. There were a couple of people who responded to that Facebook post saying it needed to be on a blog somewhere, so here you go!
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Originally posted February 14, 2017 –
We’ve never made a big deal about Valentine’s Day around here because my husband and I think it’s a retail scheme to get people to spend money they shouldn’t, but when my oldest daughter went to school as a freshman (previously homeschooled), for some reason, Valentine’s Day became this huge deal to her. It was only minorly depressing the first year in high school because she wasn’t old enough for us to allow her to date yet anyway, but the next year she had developed some crazy expectations about the day, and it ended up being kind of crappy for her (even though her team won the basketball sectional that evening, and she had a really good game, so it should have been a day to celebrate).
By that time, I had started to become annoyed with today’s dating culture. I still can’t figure out the whole “talking to” someone deal. What does that even mean? It means NOTHING. I think it probably means one of the people is keeping their options open until they find someone they consider better. Sometimes it means one of the people is “talking to” a lot of different people. Anyway, I was getting fed up with teenagers who can text, snapchat, and message each other twenty hours a day, but if they are in a room together act like they don’t even know each other. That makes no sense to me. I was tired of mixed signals that just lead to insecurities. If you like someone actually act like you like them, and if you don’t really like someone, don’t lead that person on endlessly. I’m just not very tolerant of interactions where someone is stringing someone else along for months at a time or where no effort is being made to respect the feelings of another person, and I see way too much of that between young people (and probably old people too) these days.
Around the time of that crappy Valentine’s Day, I had started to be a little concerned that my daughter would lower her standards and date someone shady just because she was lonely in a culture where everybody thinks they have to be dating someone even if that person is all wrong for them. I did not want her to get into an “unequally yoked” situation. And I did not want her to get into a relationship where either she or the other party was only vaguely interested. That can only eventually end badly. So I started praying this very specific prayer EVERYDAY, sometimes multiple times a day. Of course, I’ve always prayed that her future spouse would be a praying, Godly man who would take her to church for the rest of their lives and be a strong spiritual leader for their family, but I also started adding a bunch of almost outlandish specific requests to that list.
At first, it was a desperate, aggressive, on the verge of angry prayer where I was like, “God, why don’t you do something about this before she just dates some loser?!” It wasn’t exactly a very faith-filled prayer in the beginning, but as the months went by I started to calm down a bit. Every day I continued to pray that God would send her someone who would love her extravagantly, far above what we could even imagine. I prayed that God would send her a man who would enthusiastically pursue her, fearlessly and unashamedly, with constant effort, and he would see her value and cherish her and never, ever leave her wondering where she stood with him. I wanted her with someone who would be absolutely thrilled for the whole world to know that she was his. I prayed that he would love her without hesitation and with no reservations. I prayed that she would be the priority in this man’s life, and he would demonstrate this through his actions, not just words. I prayed that they would be perfectly suited to complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses and they would find incredible happiness together. And just for good measure I randomly threw in that I also wanted him to be part of a good youth group that he could get her involved with, since our church didn’t have an active youth group at that time.
I figured I would be praying this whole wild prayer for a long time. I had pretty much resigned myself to the idea that she probably wasn’t going to find anyone mature enough for a serious, committed relationship in high school. And right before school started that year, she had reached a point of contentment and decided she didn’t need to date anyone, and she had put a stop to all the “talking to” which never seemed to go anywhere and was always confusing. After exactly six months of praying that same prayer from February to August, I didn’t pray that prayer anymore. I just stopped without even thinking about it, and only much later did I even consciously look back and realize I had stopped (not stopped praying altogether, just stopped praying that crazy list). Of course, we all know how the story goes from there. [If you don’t know where it goes from there, start by reading this.] Sometimes I’m a little shocked myself when I think about each of those specific demands on my prayer checklist. I guess I didn’t exactly think about what that would actually look like, but I don’t think we can argue that anything on the list was neglected.
And as for Valentine’s Day, last year [now 2 years ago] my now-son-in-law did completely redeem the holiday for her by showing up with, not just a cheesy, cliché Valentine gift, but with EVERY single cheesy, cliché Valentine gift out there, including the giant teddy bear which completely disregarded my no-stuffed-toys rule (but thank goodness he has not disregarded my no-puppy rule). And did I mention he got the giant bear with a LIFETIME warranty? Nobody really needs a giant teddy bear sitting around taking up space, let alone one with a lifetime warranty, but for some reason, my daughter had this notion for a few years that a man who really loved her would show up on Valentine’s Day with a giant teddy bear. We have no idea where she came up with that, and I don’t even know if he realized she had that misguided notion about this crazy bear being the true token of someone’s undying affection, but that silly bear probably covers Valentine’s Day forever (good thing it has a lifetime warranty, right?).
But let’s face it, it wasn’t really about a giant teddy bear for her. It was more about knowing someone cared enough to do something completely ridiculous and outrageous just to make her happy. She’s assured me they are being more practical about Valentine’s Day this year which is good because none of it’s really about Valentine’s Day either. Anyone can be a good boyfriend/girlfriend/fiancé/spouse for one day of the year. It doesn’t take a lot to be on your best behavior and pay attention to another person for just one day. What matters is a constant, unrelenting effort every day, and that has been present between the two of them from nearly the moment they met.
I think when I was praying the whole “no hesitation” thing, I probably didn’t honestly expect absolutely zero hesitation, but that’s what we’ve gotten from those two. And so, that brings us to a wedding, and we know that seems a little odd to most people, but if you spend any time with them, it doesn’t seem that strange. It just seems like the natural course of human events. They may be unusual for today, but throughout the course of history, they really aren’t that peculiar at all. Maybe they were just born in the wrong generation, or maybe, just maybe, it’s this generation that’s missing out. Do we really think God intended people to behave carelessly with one another’s hearts? Should serial dating and teens being unkind to each other be so much the norm that two people in a healthy and stable relationship who treat each other extremely well are considered an anomaly? When we have reached the point where it is more socially acceptable for young people to randomly and indiscriminately hook up with people they barely know than it is for two young people to get married and work to build a future together, isn’t it time to reconsider our values?
Fortunately, these two do not seek validation from the world, but would the world not be a better place if this couple was considered the norm rather than the exception? I obviously realize not everyone finds a good match at such a young age, and not everyone is mature enough to put the well-being of another person before their own (this is true regardless of age though), but should we deter those who have found that early? Should we really find it more favorable for young people to go out into the world and create a bunch of crazy baggage for themselves until they’re in their thirties and then expect them to settle down into a healthy, committed relationship? Is that really the best we can offer our youth? Maybe we, as a society, should reconsider some of our thought patterns on dating, relationships, marriage, and so on. Maybe there is something to be learned from a silly girl who so desperately wanted someone willing to get her a giant teddy bear and the boy who was just crazy enough to buy it.
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