Ah, Valentine’s Day. In Finland we call it the “Friend Day” and the day is much more about friendship than romantic love, though the latter has become more and more popular in the past decade(s). In the Netherlands people are more focused on the romantic love.
Being bombarded by the usual imagery of chocolates, champagne, flowers and romantic getaways, I wonder, is this the norm. Should I expect my boyfriend to get me a bunch of flowers and chocolates (or the healthier alternative of strawberries in a heart-shaped box from Albert Heijn)? Do I have to get him an expensive fragrance or buy myself some new lingerie in return?
Truth to be told, I am not really in the mood for Valentine’s Day. It is a Tuesday. I have an 8:30 lecture and a doctor’s appointment. My boyfriend is working as usual. The reality is quite far from waking up in Paris to the smell of freshly brewed coffee and croissants.
Fortunately, I am not a terribly romantic person. I am not expecting a romantic dinner at a five-star restaurant or an expensive gift in a blue box. My boyfriend got me a card and roses for Valentine’s Day yesterday already, just to make sure that he wouldn’t miss it on the day itself. I would have been perfectly content with a card already so the roses were a lovely surprise. I will also cook a nice dinner for tonight. However, beyond that, my romantic language is more about sharing the household chores and being there for each other.
Laundry and date nights
Perhaps this is because my boyfriend and I have been together for nearly seven years already. Five years of those were long distance, and most of the time we did not spend Valentine’s Day together. Of course, we sent each cards and love letters but we never established a routine of doing something special on that day. By the time we moved in together, we were both quite content with that and felt no need to change it. As time passed and we settled into living together, I found that I put much less value on big romantic gestures and much more on the little things. Putting the socks in the laundry basket. Taking the dishes to kitchen and putting them into the dishwasher. Fixing things around the house.
Of course, now and then we do the occasional candlelight dinner or a date night at the movies. We also regularly say the ever-important three words. But more importantly, we let each other be who we are while we encourage each other to do better in life. To be better people, to live healthier, to work harder to reach our goals, even if we both fail at times. Perhaps especially when we fail. We all need someone, be it a partner or a friend, to keep us aiming higher.
Before this gets too sugary for my taste, I want to wish everyone a lovely Valentine’s Day. Spend it with the important people, the people who are there for you with or without chocolates and champagne.