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This year, I have decided to participate in a blogging challenge, hosted by Brita (great name, if you ask me) from bellebrita.com. She provides a topic for each day and the challenge is to write a blog post on it. I am not sure I will be able to write a post for every single day (especially as I am starting a new job next week – yay!) but hopefully I can do 2 – 3 posts each week. We shall see! Today is day 1 and the topic is Valentine’s day.
To be honest, I felt tempted to skip this one because I am not the biggest fan of Valentine’s Day. All the pink and the plush hearts are a bit much for this pragmatic German gal. However, from experience I know that the things I don’t want to do usually provide the most potential for growth. Hence I pulled myself together and put my fingers to my keyboard and here we are!
My experiences with Valentine’s Day
So, Valentine’s Day. As mentioned, it’s not my favourite. As a European I don’t have a strong cultural connection to this holiday, however, it started to become a thing when I was in high school. The week leading up to the 14th, pupils were able to pay for roses and fill out cards with little (if they wanted anonymous) messages. Finally, on Valentine’s day student council members dressed up as angels distributed the messages attached to roses in the classes.
A sweet, fun thing, right?
Take a bunch of angsty teenagers who fight with confidence and body issues and are doubting their self-worth and give them a tangible way of measuring how loveable they are (the number of roses received) and voilà – you created a recipe for deep dark depression.
Okay, maybe I am being overly dramatic but it really felt like that to me – yet another day where my worth is defined by the amount of attention I receive. And as you probably guessed, I wasn’t one of the girls who went home with a whole bouquet of roses.
The tragic thing is at age 14, I was happy to be single on 364 days of the year. But suddenly there was this idea that only romantic love and male attention could really fulfil all of my needs and desires.
Which, you know, is silly.I was happy to be single on 364 days of the year. But suddenly there was this idea that only romantic love and male attention could really fulfil all of my needs and desires. Click To Tweet
Romantic love isn’t everything
Yes, of course romantic love is great. Having been married for almost four years now I can testify to that: Love is great. (Even though it’s not always that romantic.) It is such a gift to have this one person who I know loves me and choses me and goes home with me even on the days when I am not the most fun to be around. I am immensely grateful for that.
But as wonderful as this is, it’s not everything.
Being married is not like a love spa, where you can passively soak up love and then feel all good and fuzzy about yourself. Actually, it is much more of a battle field where sometimes you’re fighting on the same team and sometimes you’re not sure but what is sure is that all your weaknesses get exposed and at the end you think “I’d understand if you wouldn’t love me anymore”.
Love is hard and often complicated. Obviously, having someone in your corner can make you feel more confident. But on the whole, your problems, especially your problems with yourself, do not suddenly disappear as soon as your significant other enters the scene. For a while it might feel that way, but the doubts you had about your self-worth and your worry as to whether you’re good enough will eventually creep back up.
Because a relationship does not change your worth.
You probably know this, but let me say it again: The amount of gifts you receive on Valentine’s Day do not determine your worth. Whether you’re single or married or in a relationship – it doesn’t change how much respect you deserve. It does not matter if your marriage is happy and blissful or full of pain and loneliness: the fact that you are incredibly valuable stands.Your relationship status does not determine your worth. The fact that you are incredibly valuable stands whether you're single, married, dating or divorced. Click To Tweet
How to celebrate Valentine’s Day differently this year
Rather than striving for other people to validate our worth let’s return to the truth that we have already been declared worthy. Jesus gave everything so he could have you. He didn’t just spend 7,50 Euro on some heart shaped chocolates to show you his love, he paid with his own life, so that you could live and be with him forever.
To be fair to Valentine’s Day – love and relationships and marriage are definitely worth celebrating. Love is awesome. But maybe we should change the way go about it. Maybe this year we can skip the CO2-intensive imported roses and instead take some time with our friends, our partners, our family and celebrate communion. Break the bread and drink the wine and remember what ultimate love looks like.
And then leave behind the self-doubt and defeat and the body issues and love from a place of freedom, of contentment in who you are, because HE created you in His image, He declared you worthy, and He already gave everything to you.
I look forward to hearing all about it. Happy Valentine’s month, folks.
A while ago I wrote a post all about learning to accept the worth that God has spoken over us. It’s a quick read and you can check it out here.