I vividly remember Valentine’s Day when I was in eighth grade. I saved up my allowance to buy my cute seventh grade boyfriend a hat. I even put some of my perfume on it as a personal touch. My boyfriend liked the hat and wore it often.
The chocolates I received in exchange felt much less thoughtful. Don’t get me wrong, I love chocolate, but it felt like a very low effort gift. I still remember how glum that Valentine’s Day left me feeling. I couldn’t help but wonder: Is this really as good as romance gets?
I typically think of Valentine’s Day as New Year’s Eve’s romantic cousin, with expectations so high they can’t possibly be met. The greeting card, chocolate, and flower industries have joined forces, feeding us the hopes of fairy tales. The problem is that life is not the stuff of fairy tales. When even just one of those expectations goes unmet, we end up feeling disappointed and dejected.
Twelve years of marriage have taught me that having a day set aside for special romance is nice, but it’s the everyday actions that matter most. Take for example, a recent romantic moment in my own love life.
I rushed through the door, hands full of library books, mail, and that laundry detergent I kept forgetting to order online.
My backpack slumped off my shoulder and into a chair as I noticed a delicious smell filling the air in our home. After untangling myself from the books, mail, and grocery bags, I walked into the kitchen to find my husband standing over the stove stirring something.
He turned around to smile at me, then casually went back to stirring. A smile crept across my tired face when I realized my husband made dinner. Again.
My husband knows I hate cooking, so taking it upon himself is a considerate way for him to love me. He has a hundred other things he could be doing, but he chose to do something that made my life easier. And maybe it wasn’t as dramatic as getting a bouquet of roses, but those intentional, thoughtful everyday actions add up.
Sometimes, romance is found in the every day little moments. My husband makes me feel like his Valentine every day by choosing to serve me, love me, and sacrifice for me. And I’ll take that over a box of chocolates any day.