Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Won't you be my Valentine?

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. Brandon and I don't make a big deal out of gift-giving holidays for several reasons.

First of all, we want our children to understand that the best gift of all is love- above all the love of God who gave His Only Son so that we could have everlasting life.

Secondly, we don't want the children to think that the only way you can show love and appreciation is through gift giving.

Third, we don't want to set up ourselves for "one-upping" what we did last year or making it into a competition. Of course, in our culture, Valentine's Day seems to be all on the man. He must do something utterly romantic or he's the scum of the earth for not getting it right (or possibly forgetting it altogether). The woman gets off easy. She is to be wooed and lavished with gifts.

Valentine's Day brings a mixture of emotions. I remember my school days, hoping to get a cheap, dinky little carnation from a boyfriend or secret admirer (and while I was usually "dating" someone nearly all the time, I was almost ALWAYS single on V-day!). I watched my friends with their arms and backpacks loaded with special gifts, and myself, often empty handed. Sometimes a nice friend would give me something, but more often than not, I had nothing... and felt unloved. Of course, there was one year when I had several admirers at once who loaded me up with candy and gifts. Another year I found myself dumped on the day marked for love. My sophomore year, I was nominated as Sweetheart and attended my first dance (which was nothing like I thought it would be). I came in third, but that was no surprise. Clearly the most popular of girls would win, not me, someone who was not assigned to any particular click and was not a cheerleader. My good friend Robert accompanied me to the dance since my boyfriend and I had broken up shortly before the dance.

My Valentine's Day experiences alone should have been a blazing sign as to why dating is not healthy and not God's design for courtship. (Another topic for another time.)

But there's one memory in there that was so small and lovely that didn't come with the mixture of radical emotions. It was the day my fiance gave me my wedding ring.

No, we were not married on Valentine's Day. We were engaged in the last few seconds of New Year's Eve. For Valentine's Day, I planned a nice little "picnic" in my bedroom with my parent's permission. It was there that he gave me the lovely little ring that was not only my engagement ring but also my wedding ring as well. We wore our wedding rings on our right hands until we officially tied the knot. (Which was humorous, because my dear husband handed me his right hand, instead of his left, when I went to slip the ring on his finger during the wedding ceremony! He was so use to putting it on his right hand!)

I almost forgot about this day because it was just so simple. Of course, I rushed into my parent's room and showed them my ring with excitement, but that day did not come with the mixture of emotions that nearly all the other V-days had before that. There wasn't worry or fear. There wasn't the inward pleading and outward facade of strength.

I remembered this as I showered this morning, washing my hands and turning the ring to face upwards (as it often gets twisted). It's a modest ring. White cold with bands of yellow gold framing in a diamond small enough to keep from snagging on things but big enough to sparkle. It's not what most brides wear, maybe not what most would like to receive when their husband-to-be kneels down and asks that one question they've been waiting to hear, but it was the one I wanted. In fact, I had picked it out.

I picked it out because it was simple, not to showy. More than a band, but not too much more. And it was inexpensive as far as rings go, and when you're seventeen and peering at a ring for your future, several hundred dollars almost seems to much, especially when you know the man you love could better use that money to clear up debts and prepare for your future together.

So it was this morning, several days passed Valentine's Day, that I recalled the story of my ring, and that it has been on my finger for seven years.

And, in case you are wondering, I bought my husband new shoes for V-day (actually, he picked them out and bought them a week or so before), and he bought me a new wardrobe (from Shadeclothing.com and OldNavy.com, which I picked out and bought several weeks previous). Okay, so we really didn't go get those things for each other, but he did get me three deliciously smelling candles, and I got him a nice card and his favorite candy (Maplenut Goodies).

Seriously, who needs another stuffed teddy bear?

Pre-marriage, Brandon and Mandy


Anonymous said...

I love this entry and I agree. We got the kids each a small thing of chocolate and I made cards. Josh went grocery shopping, made dinner and dyed my hair for me. It was the sweetest. Yesterday we have been together for 8 years.

Jacob's behavior has changed a lot. He's doing so much better lately and I find myself getting tons done.

I hope your family is doing well. Take care.

-Megan (Soldier'sSweetheart)

GraceFromHim said...

I too agree!
Great Post :)

The Willinghams said...

Wow, that doesn't even look like you! You've both changed in appearance so much.

Megan said...

awww...what a sweet pic. So young and happy! :-) We didn't "do" Valentine's this year. We made heart shaped cookies and got each other some little things, and it was much more enjoyable than the usual expensive dinner out.

Macs girl said...

The only reason we do things on Valentines Day is because my birthday is the next day, but my fiance doesn't believe in Valentine's Day. He said when we first started dating that he doesn't need a specific day to tell someone he loves them.