It’s hard not to reflect on love and it’s connection to our health and happiness on this, the feast of St. Valentine. Even if your reflective response is deeply and directly connected to your gag reflex.
Now, my general disdain for Valentine’s Day has nothing to do with the fact that I’m single. I mean it. Nothing.
It has most everything to do with the fact that Valentine’s Day has a tendency to make us lazy in love. The holiday has become the perverse and proverbial get-out-of-jail-free card. If you make any sort of effort on Valentine’s Day, your general indifference towards your beloved and lack of investment in the success of your relationship with said beloved, is somehow forgiven, tolerated and acceptable.
And that strikes me as decidedly not okay.
What if, instead of spending a fortune on overpriced red things, flowers and cards filled with false sentiment and saccharin, we spent time really wondering about our partners – who they are, how they feel, what they love, what they fear, how they are changing and growing and what we might do to support that growth? What if we got curious – really curious – about the people we love?
In his book Curious?, Todd Kashdan suggests that curiosity acts as a positive spark in all relationships. And given that healthy relationships are profoundly linked to our sense of well-being, it follows that sustaining a sense of wonder and curiosity about the people we love will help us grow – both as individuals and together. Research findings suggest that “curious people treat their partners as vast unknown territories”. Curious people continue to ask a lot of questions and that wonder leads to an ongoing and deepening interest that can last a lifetime and survive the challenging times that are inevitable in any relationship, romantic or otherwise.
So, yes, I do think Valentine’s Day is ridiculous.
And, yes, despite that disdain, I really do believe that love is the answer.
We just can’t forget to ask the questions.
The opposite of love is not hate; it’s indifference. - Elie Wiesel