Hijacked by Hallmark

Valentine’s Day should come with a warning sign. Perhaps even a danger sign complete with skull and crossbone. American women have been conditioned to believe things about Valentine’s day that can be fatal to relationships. Single women struggle to find that “someone” so that they will not wear the scarlet letter ‘S’ on their jackets. Married women are conditioned to believe that the day will be a perfectly orchestrated delight of champagne and chocolates. And divorced women are conditioned to believe that they are failures. If they had given a little more then the relationship would not have gone bad.

These are problems. We’ve allowed a day to control us instead of us controlling the day. Last year I posted a piece called “Hijacked by Hallmark” and this is my offering, of sorts, to the day. I re-read it myself so that I could be reminded of the truth of our culture and remember that it doesn’t reflect the truth about my marriage. Because the truth is that I am loved, and I love. It is a flawed and imperfect love that has had assaults on many fronts – but it is a love based on the God who loves best and relentlessly pursues both of us with that love.

So Happy Valentine’s Day to those of you in countries where it is celebrated. To those who do not celebrate – may you reflect on norms in your culture that may or may not reflect the truth about relationships and who you are as a woman or a man. Thanks for reading.

Hijacked by Hallmark – Posted a year ago today!

Happy Valentine’s Day! A day of roses, chocolates, love, champagne, and, dare i say, disappointment?

For the record: I’m not a hater! It isn’t that I don’t love romance, or valentine’s day.  Believe me – I do. But what I do know is that I have been hijacked into believing that the images portrayed by Hallmark and Hollywood are reality – and when my life doesn’t match those images, there is a discontent.  In other words, I’ve drunk the koolaid and have bought in to this 17 billion dollar day and need to stop and examine why.

The material and physical pictures portrayed in our stores and media are difficult for women to achieve without multimillion dollar budgets and a good plastic surgeon. We  have been set up for a twisted perception of love by Hallmark and Hollywood and sold an image that  doesn’t work in real life.  We are left thinking this is what love is – and if our husbands/partners/friends don’t measure up (and of course, how can they?) we fall into the abyss of discontent and disappointment.

A true valentine’s day means I won’t let my relationship be hijacked by the industry that wants to define love for me and subtly or blatantly send me messages designed to make money instead of foster a relationship. I want the day to be fun and a  chance to celebrate as opposed to a day of false expectations that may never be met.

So – Don’t be hijacked into thinking there is a specific way this day is supposed to be celebrated – instead enjoy it as a day to creatively express your love for those you care about.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.