4 Romantic Alternatives to Valentine’s Day
As Valentine’s Day draws near, many will celebrate romantic love. But what about true love? Here are four ways to escape the superficiality of Valentine’s Day.
With Valentine’s Day around the corner, millions of people have already made plans for romantic getaways, ordered flowers or chocolates, and started writing valentines. For the holiday that is supposed to epitomize romantic love, it is very materially based and commercialized. Nothing says I love you like stuff, apparently.
Can a couple express true love in better ways than heart-shaped chocolates and bland, poorly worded cards?
We all better hope so.
Origin of Valentine’s Day
Before we discuss the meaningful alternatives to Valentine’s Day, consider why we should seek alternatives in the first place. What is the origin of Valentine’s Day?
Valentine’s Day is based on a very bizarre, ancient fertility festival called the Lupercalia. This festival was celebrated in mid-February in ancient Rome. The ancient Romans would sacrifice an animal on the Lupercalia and then use the hides to whip females in order to supposedly increase their fertility.
Valentine’s Day is based on a very bizarre, ancient fertility festival called the Lupercalia.Take a moment to soak in the irony of our modern society—with its concerns for women’s rights and empowerment—still celebrating a holiday rooted in a tradition of humiliating women by physically striking them with animal hides.
Another component of the festival was matchmaking. Males and females would be paired up at Lupercalia by a lottery and then would remain partners for either the duration of the festival or for a year.
Again, consider the irony of people using Valentine’s Day to express true love, when the origin of the day was based on random strangers hooking up. The original holiday was all about sex without love. So how did this perverse festival become associated with romantic love?
The Roman church later replaced the Lupercalia with St. Valentine’s Day in honor of a martyr named Valentine. But the popular celebration maintained the romantic and sensual elements of the pagan festival. (This is also the case with another popular holiday you might be familiar with: Easter. Ever wonder what rabbits and eggs have to do with Jesus Christ’s resurrection? You guessed it, nothing. Rabbits and eggs are all about pagan fertility worship.)
The fact that Cupid, a Roman god of love, is associated with this day is even more proof of its deep roots in ancient Roman paganism.
To learn more about why we should be careful about integrating paganism into our lives, read “How Much Pagan Is Too Pagan?”
Alternatives to Valentine’s Day
But true romantic love is the foundation of a happy marriage and was created by God (Genesis 2:24). It is a beautiful thing that shouldn’t be corrupted with a holiday so rooted in sexual promiscuity and paganism. There are much better ways to build and celebrate true romantic love than a celebration like Valentine’s Day!
Here are a few ideas for how to celebrate your love for your spouse—without doing it on Valentine’s Day!
1. Supercharge your anniversary.
The day that should be a huge celebration of love with our mate is our wedding anniversary.
With all the hectic busyness of life, and all the splitting of our focus (including a pagan holiday with naked babies shooting arrows), it might be tempting to let anniversaries go by without much fanfare. This is a mistake. We should make sure we do something special with our spouse on this day that actually does have deep romantic meaning.
Doesn’t it make more sense to celebrate romantic love on a day that has actual significance to you both instead of a day in February that had a very corrupt and strange meaning to the ancient Romans?
Ideas: Plan a dinner at a special restaurant, a getaway weekend or an exciting vacation. Relive your first date—or do something entirely new together. Be sure to tell your spouse how much you love and appreciate him or her.
2. Get romantic at unexpected times throughout the year.
Though anniversaries are great times to celebrate your love for each other, romance does not have to be tied to a calendar date. Giving gifts, writing meaningful notes and going on romantic getaways are all great for a relationship—and they can be done at any time of the year! In fact, these things are even more meaningful when they are spontaneous and done out of sincere appreciation and love.
Gifts and romantic gestures done at unexpected times and for no other calendar reason will always be greatly remembered and treasured.It is somewhat shocking that so many people wait until a holiday inspired by fertility rites and a Roman god to actually show how much they love their mates. We are told not to worship God through pagan practices (Deuteronomy 12:31), and we also should be careful to not degrade love by mixing it with perverse paganism.
Gifts and romantic gestures done at unexpected times and for no other calendar reason will always be greatly remembered and treasured by those receiving them.
Ideas: Be consistent with little gifts, candies or gestures throughout the entire year. Plan something with lots of “us” time involved that is not tied to any specific date. Do it just because it’s good for the relationship!
3. Talk to each other every day.
Yes, it may sound simplistic—but it is actually a huge thing! It’s important to speak to one another.
Where does real romance that is related to true love come from? A solid, healthy relationship. The old adage of “we could talk for hours” should still be one of the most romantic things to us. The wonderful thing about the giving of gifts and the dinners, trips and adventures together is the closeness that should result from them. This closeness is mainly shared through conversation.
No, not from a three-line French poem that someone memorized to impress a date. No, not the seemingly wonderful wisdom of “be my valentine” (meaningless, if you think about it!) scratched on cheap candy. Closeness comes from real words and the development of a connection between two people who truly love each other.
Ideas: Have a set time every single night where the television, computer, phones and everything else are turned off—so you can talk with the person you love. Walk and talk. Eat and talk (not at the same time!). Sit and talk. Exercise and talk. Whatever you are doing, make sure talking is involved.
4. Put 1 Corinthians 13 into practice every day.
It’s nicknamed the Love Chapter for good reason. This chapter comprehensively lists what love is and what it isn’t. We can use this chapter as a daily, monthly or yearly project to improve our relationships. God wrote the book on love, so His Bible should be the primary place we go for guidance in expressing proper love within marriage.
The Love Chapter is filled with guidance on how to treat the love of your life. Here are some ways 1 Corinthians 13 can be put into practice to improve our relationships:
- Love suffers long: When our mates do something that really bothers us, we should let it go or work on improving the problem together.
- Love is kind: We should do something kind for our mates without being asked—often.
- Love does not parade itself: We should be sure to tell our mates how much we love them privately—we don’t need to use Facebook to demonstrate our love for our mate!
- Love is not puffed up: We should always be ready to admit when we’ve done something wrong.
- Love does not behave rudely: We should make sure our marriage is characterized by considerate behavior toward each other.
- Love does not seek its own: We should willingly and joyfully do something we have no interest in, but our mate enjoys.
The Love Chapter, though about a much deeper love than just romantic love, is filled with guidance on how to treat the love of your life. Read it often. For more insight on 1 Corinthians 13, read our article about “The Love Chapter.”
One 24-hour period involving candies and ancient fertility symbolism does not come close to the fulfilling and meaningful love God wants us to enjoy.
Isn’t it time for you to ditch Valentine’s Day and demonstrate true love God’s way?