Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us on 14 February! I’m all for using any opportunity to encourage relationships, but where does Saint Valentine fit? A trip to my history books confirmed that there is much discussion about who he was and why we celebrate it. The most believable option is that he was a priest in Rome during the reign of Emperor Claudius II. According to tradition, Valentine disobeyed the edict of the emperor who had ordered soldiers should not be married (I suspect because they would not be as available and prepared to be deployed), and conducted secret weddings in the underground church. He was arrested and while awaiting his execution apparently he developed a romantic interest of his own with the jailer’s daughter! He passed the time making simple gifts and sending notes to her. His last note arrived on the morning of his death, and ended with the words “Your Valentine”. He was beheaded on 14 February, about the year 270, yet it was not till the year 496 that this day was named in his honour.
So what? This is your chance to do something special for your partner! In tune with this tradition maybe this is the time to propose marriage, to show your commitment to each other in a concrete way. Considering your partners love language and how you can use it. If it is words of affirmation the card might hit the mark, or gifts the bunch of flowers will work. Quality time may require you to book a romantic dinner out, while acts of service may require you to spend more time than usual helping out with domestic tasks. For physical touch… I’m sure you get the idea. The trick is to make this time special by showing that you have thought about it, and prepared to do it sacrificially, for your partner not for yourself, because we should not forget it cost Valentine his life! Don’t put it off, start preparing NOW!
Chaplain Ian Whitley