It seems a common belief (especially among men) that Valentine’s Day was invented by the greeting card industry to make some profits during a low income time of year. While the greeting card industry may have seen an opportunity in Valentine’s Day, they certainly didn’t invent the “valentine.” According to legend, Valentinus (or St. Valentine) was a Roman priest in the third century. He is said to have performed marriages of Christians and helped Christians in other ways during a period of Christian persecution in the Roman Empire. Folklore further suggests that he started the “Valentine” tradition by cutting heart shaped pieces of parchment and passing them out to remind people of their vows and of God’s love. St. Valentine was supposedly martyred on February 14th.
Ancient pagan traditions in Rome also have venerated February 14th as the climactic day of a fertility rite called Lupercalia. As with many holidays we celebrate now, there is an interesting mix of Christian and non-Christian traditions coinciding on the same day. So this is a centuries old tradition and no matter how you cut it, guys, and it can’t be avoided! Take this opportunity to declare your love anew! But before you go out and buy a mass-produced card and that traditional box of chocolates, do you know what will really make your loved one feel loved?
Did you know that gift giving is just one way to express your love and devotion? A popular book by Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages, explains five powerful approaches to expressing love. These “love languages” are 1) Acts of Service, 2) Words of Affirmation, 3) Gift Giving, 4) Time Together, and 5) Touch. Every person has at least one dominant “language” they use to express love. This is also the medium in which they receive love the best.
For example, a person oriented to Acts of Service will feel loved when you help them out with the things on their “to do” list. Helping them in their daily life tasks will speak volumes to them! Likewise, the Acts of Service person will demonstrate their love by doing things for you. If Words of Affirmation is your thing, then you feel loved when you hear supportive, encouraging comments. Praise and compliments feel like warm sunshine to a Words of Affirmation person.
The person whose primary language is Gift Giving will be a thoughtful and great giver of gifts. Nothing tells this person they are loved like a well thought-out gift on special occasions, or simple spontaneous gifts that let them know you thinking about them. A “Time Together” person won’t care so much about gifts as they will about spending quality and quantity of time with their special person. A “Touch” oriented person feels soothed and connected through loving touch. This encompasses sexual touch, but most definitely includes non-sexual affection as well.
Given this information, I encourage you to think about what you could give your loved one this Valentine’s Day that will matter the most to them. If you’ve got a “Time Together” person, they will feel much more loved by a card that says “I want to give you a day this week where we just hang out together” instead of (or in addition to) the box of chocolates.
There is a free test online that tells you what your love language is. This test ranks all five love languages in order of importance in your life. I encourage you to check it out! Go to http://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/ .