Many of you have probably planned or done something nice for your significant other because
it’s a special day. Some of you are reading this and about to panic because you forgot all about it and realize there may be trouble if you don’t have something planned/bought/made when you get home.
We are expected and conditioned in our society to make grand gestures of love to our significant others every February 14th. Does that sound a little cynical? Maybe it is. Grand gestures can be a wonderful thing. It is wonderful to be on both the receiving and giving end of them, but I’d like to give a little tip:
If your everyday life isn’t sending the same message as your grand gesture, the impact and
meaning of that gesture could be significantly diminished.
On the romantic side, there are flowers and candy or a card or some sort of gift, maybe a special outing or dinner, possibly something bigger like a proposal or special jewelry, even a trip. There is nothing wrong with those things. Big Gestures can be a great and wonderful way to show the depth of your love and admiration. Just do not think they alone will suffice.
This idea applies outside romance as well. We may have parents, children, friends, who we love
dearly and are profoundly grateful for them. Do we show that consistently?
If not, things need to change.
The message on Valentine’s Day must match June 1 st or November 6th :
“I love you and am grateful for you.”
Develop habits of making this known. We need to be authentic with those we love. It is better to risk saying something that regretting never having said it.
One suggestion is to learn and speak their love language.
Here are some personal examples: my husband loves quality time. We don’t have to talk, but
sitting next to him in the morning sipping coffee makes him feel loved. Hiking with him when
he’s hunting is more impactful than the grill he got for his birthday.
My adult daughter still loves to snuggle close while watching a movie, and we have to hug a
dozen times a day. Without that, she can be with me all day and feel lonely.
I, on the other hand, am over the moon by acts of service. Just one extra chore done by any
member of my family without having to ask them is better that 2 dozen roses any day (not that I won’t take the roses). Now, if Valentine’s Day brings me a house that’s been cleaned top to bottom AND I can find everything that they put away, I’d be elated by that grand gesture, but the security of the consistency throughout the year is what makes me feel loved and appreciated.
This sounds like work.
Yep. It is.
Great things are never easy, if they were easy, everyone would do them and they wouldn’t be great.
Please take a moment to think about this: What if you didn’t have another day with someone?
You never plan the heart attack or the car wreck or something even worse. If you lose someone
you love, it’s likely that the grand gestures won’t be what you miss, it will be the little things. It’s always the little things.
Then we are left with incomplete grief. There are always things that are left unsaid, but we
sometimes make that list longer than it needs to be. What would you have said or done
differently if you could know when you would lose them?
“Grandma always made my favorite cookies….but I never said thank you.” Incomplete grief.
“He always stopped to say hello and ask me how I was doing. I never told him how much that
helped me during some dark times.” Incomplete grief.
“He bought her a gift every time he had to travel for work, but...” You get the idea.
We need to be authentic with those we love NOW. While we have them.
“Thanks for saying Hello.”
“I appreciate your smile.”
“You did a great job on that presentation, I’m so glad we work together.”
“Thanks for always being so encouraging.”
“You really brighten my day.”
“I really appreciate that you helped with the chores this evening.”
Keep your Valentine’s dinner reservations, still buy the flowers and chocolate and make the
Next week, and the week after, sip the coffee quietly, give the extra hug, do the thing that speaks to them as love and gratitude. Risk being authentic. It is worth it.
For regrets you already have, please let us walk with you through that incomplete grief. You do
NOT have to do this alone. Choose to love yourself on this holiday of love and give yourself the
opportunity to heal.