Valentine’s Candy Creates Unrealistic Fantasies
The National Retail Federations says Americans will spend more than $18 billion this week on Valentine’s Day candy.
Nor will the observances stop just because it’s past Feb. 14. My wife and I generally avoid restaurants the weekend before or after this made-for-merchants holiday. We don’t want to encounter all the SRO lovey-dovey crowds.
The staggering estimates I encountered recently when I researched the topic of Valentine’s-inspired purchases led me to two conclusions:
- With all this spending averaging more than $136 per person, I’m an absolute piker.
My wife and I have rarely done anything more than a card and a sample-size box of candy. (She would be upset if I presented her with more than a few pieces of chocolate.)
- Daily life seldom matches the hype.
Cards, candy, and flowers are part of the romantic, Disneyland, ooey-gooey sentimentality of love and marriage. These unrealistic expectations shipwreck too many couples when they sail into the harsh cold light of reality.
Divorcing the Bum
Exhibit A is the story I saw a few months back on LinkedIn. “Divorce: Sleeping with my best friend WASN’T the reason why I divorced him and moved on” chronicled the author’s bitter split from her husband. It happened after a mere two years.
I have seen, or heard about, way too many stories just like this. Marriages built on romantic emotion. Matches that fizzle when the idealized image bucks up against real life.
That’s one reason it was so encouraging to write a blog recently for an in-house publication. It was about a couple who have been married for six decades and still hold hands at dinner.
“I would tell you now she’s the best friend I have, and I think she would tell you the same thing,” he told me. “The thing about marriages that last is we were great friends before we started thinking about anything beyond that.”
As I near the four-decade mark myself, I love hearing about marriages that endure. Granted, millions don’t, but we need to know that the failures don’t negate the successes.
It was especially heartening to hear about this long-lasting marriage after a friend’s dissolved last year. It ended after she discovered her husband had been having an affair for many months—and it wasn’t the first time.
After learning recently that she had started dating a guy she met at work, I asked, “Can I say something?”
“Everyone else is,” she replied.
Stretching out each word for emphasis, I said, “Take . . . your . . . time.”
“I know,” she nodded. “I know.”
Now, knowing someone a long time is no guarantee the match will last for years. But it sure increases the odds.
The aforementioned long-lasting couple met as children and dated off and on in high school. Only later did they turn serious, after realizing there might be something more than friendship at work.
In Jesus’s legendary treatise on marriage, He made this comment: “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate” (Matthew 19:6 NIV).
While many use this verse and others to bludgeon divorcees, I think such habits miss the point here. Jesus is emphasizing that there is a spiritual union that goes on in marriage, not just a physical one.
This means that entering such a serious relationship requires time, effort, and prayer. Leave the cards and candy to romantic fantasies.