Love is...making sure that every day is Valentine’s Day

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Valentine’s Day is almost upon us; many look forward to it with baited breath, many will simply ignore it.

Some singletons will be glad when it’s over as they find this national romance day depressing.

Love is in the air

Love is in the air

Though having a significant other doesn’t necessarily guarantee that your day will be filled with hearts and flowers. Some lovers refuse to buy Valentine gifts as they don’t agree with having to make a show of loving someone on one day of the year, just so as retailers can make a killing. Others will shower their loved one in gifts trying to either demonstrate their love or avoid being put in the dog house for not making the effort.

The British public spend on average £41 on their partner or spouse.

According to research there is a difference between what men and women spend on partners. Men spend around £50 and females spend around £32.

Despite Valentine’s Day being thought of as superficial by many, there has been a steadily climbing increase in the amount we spend since 2012, as £880 million, £978 million and £1.3 billion has been spent for the last three years respectively. The industry that makes the most out of Valentine’s day is by far restaurants. Couples staring lovingly at each other over the soup as they celebrate their love in fancy eateries, is expected to bring in £557 million in the UK. Greeting card companies are another huge earner (expected to make £57 million), as Valentine’s Day is their second most popular celebratory day of the year. For nearly 20 years I worked as a professional greeting card writer and Valentine’s Day was always a nice little earner!

But this is the commercial side of love and for many (particularly many young people) it’s all that matters. If a fuss isn’t made on this one particular day of

the year, it will go in the ‘disappointments’ book in their minds. They can remember too clearly the one day that a card or flowers weren’t bought and forget the number of times their partner was there for them, doing the small, daily mundane things.

Love in our current world rarely seems to last. Our society is on the hunt for instant gratification. We want the intensity and passion of those heady first

months along with a strong emotional connection and a feeling of belonging.

The trouble is, that true connection that people yearn for only comes in a relationship that has been built up over time, one that has experienced hardship, yet the lovers have stayed the course.

Commitment needs investment and that is something our society doesn’t seem to have the patience for anymore. We are so busy speaking to hundreds of strangers on social media that we can ignore the flesh and blood person beside us, no longer investing the time to really get to know and understand them.

Then we walk away when things get tough or if we feel a semblance of boredom. Real love can’t be measured by what we are presented with on Valentine’s Day. Flowers wither in days and a Valentine’s card contains words written by someone like me, someone who was paid by the line and didn’t know the sender and receiver from Adam. Real love is what I saw between my parents. A love that lasted 58 years until my mother’s death, after which, my father never regained his spark when the light of his life was gone. They did everything together.

They were respectful and courteous to each other and spoke to each other as if they had met only yesterday. Every week they would dress up and have a date night until my mother took Alzheimer’s aged 71. My father was by her side every step of the way through many serious illnesses and with her dementia at the end of her life. He went through the heartache of her denying he was her husband and her threatening him with the police if he continued to claim he was. Then after not recognising him for several years, she suddenly called his name on her deathbed and told him she loved him three times in quick succession before dementia could cloud her brain again.

He was ecstatic because she’d recognised him one last time, days later she passed away as he sat by her bed. Their’s was a true love affair, one that lasted decades in sickness and in health. They nurtured their love each day. Neither ever sent the other a Valentine’s card.