The Hidden Benefits of Valentine’s Day

So, we’ve just survived another Valentine’s Day. How was yours? Was it fun, romantic, full of whimsy and surprises? Was it exhausting, rife with obligation, something you would rather have slept through? Or was it just another day?

Regardless of your perspective, Valentine’s Day has become less a chance to represent your love and more another hopelessly commercialized American parody of itself; primarily designed to sell meaningless greeting cards and preservative-stuffed chocolates in plastic-covered cardboard boxes.

I say, let’s bring back the reason for the day in the first place.

Surprisingly, the annual day of love started out as a day representing significantly un-warm and fuzzy ideals. Many point the origin of the holiday to ancient Rome, in which the Feast of Lupercalia (god of Fertility) was held on February 15. Among other things, the feast included animal sacrifice and beating women.

Around the third century, two men named Valentine were executed, both on February 14, and the Catholic Church honored them by celebrating St. Valentine’s Day.

It wasn’t until Shakespeare and other playwrights of his time began romanticizing the holiday that we started to see the modern day V-day take shape. Handmade paper cards were considered love tokens in the middle ages, but Hallmark took over that job over 100 years ago, in 1913.

Now that you’re caught up on the history, we challenge you to consider the hidden benefits of Valentine’s Day.

 Yes, benefits. Turns out, there are a few that you may not have thought of, regardless if you love the day or hate it.

It gives you a chance to stop and smell the flowers of your love.

You should embrace Valentine’s Day, simply because if you are fortunate enough to have love in your life, a specific date set aside to celebrate it helps you remember your love amongst the rush-rush-rush and always-online chaotic schedules. Taking a day out to slow down and appreciate your partner is all the more meaningful in a society that demands instant gratification on every other day.

As an aside, think about all the little things you do for one another on a daily basis, that aren’t categorized as “romantic” but certainly do prove you truly love and care for the one you’re with. She does your laundry, your dishes, walks your dog while you’re at work; he fixes that funky noise coming from your car or drives your mom to the dentist. All of these little gestures go unnoticed most of the time, so isn’t it wonderful to have a day to say thank you and make each other feel appreciated?

It gives you a chance to get creative and put some spark back in your relationship.

Many guys, especially, argue that the holiday is overrated and played out – just an excuse to have to dish out the big bucks on an “expected” extravagant gift, like a $150 dinner or a new pair of diamond studs. It’s no wonder the poor fellas feel this way, with shiny ads for jewelry and chocolates assaulting them 24/7 and the inevitable comparisons that happen when friends post their gifts on Facebook. And the pressure to perform is on; 52% of women admit to being jealous of romantic gestures they see from others’ partners.

But what if you could make your partner happy just by putting a few hours in to a totally unique gift, or date?

With the advent of idea-clogged sites like Pinterest, it takes seconds to think of an idea; one of my favorites is “52 reasons I love you.” You take a deck of blank playing cards, and write something you love about your partner on each one. Bam! Super-thoughtful gift that’s bound to elicit more gratitude than a shiny bauble that came from the sale flyer in the Kay Jewelers’ catalogue.

Or, you could create a fun scavenger hunt themed around your relationship, with the last clue leading to a romantic dinner in the park or on a rooftop. How jealous would her girlfriends be? As an actual female, I guarantee that “green” won’t even begin to cover it.

Being thoughtful makes YOU happier.

Science has long proven that giving a gift to someone else, i.e. paying it forward, actually brings you happiness. There’s a real hormone in all of us called oxytocin. It’s known as the “love hormone,” because it’s linked to feelings of increased happiness, love and attachment. And if men experience a 27.5% increase in oxytocin just by giving their girl a box of chocolates, imagine how much you would get from the above ideas. And if she’s getting her oxy on too, that can only mean your expressions of physical love on the big day are bound to be earth-shattering.

It gives you a free chance to make it up to her in a big way if you’ve recently screwed up.

Think about the last time you and your partner had a big blow-up. The best you can normally do is apologize, maybe take her to dinner, and hope it blows over soon. But if you’ve had a fight around Valentine’s Day, here’s a candy-coated excuse to make her forget all about that stupid thing you said about her sister.

It brings back that honeymoon stage rush – and really gets her going, too           

Women love the attention they’re showered with on Valentine’s Day. Again, I am a woman, so this might seem vaguely sexiest or anti-feminist coming from me. But I’m also a realist, and I haven’t met a woman yet – myself included – that doesn’t bask in a little attention from a special guy. And getting the right attention on V-day also reminds us that we picked the right guy, the one who would do anything to make us happy, who is proud to be ours and wants the world to know it. It gives the guy a chance to demonstrate how amazing he can be when it’s definitely not about him. As quoted in another blog on this subject, “Valentine’s Day is a metaphor for every other moment throughout the entire duration of your relationship, when the woman in your life needs and wants and hopes you are able to joyfully and proudly step out of your way and make it about her.” So, if the most romantic thing you’ve done for your girl lately was let her pick the restaurant — and you started out your relationship wooing her silly — this is your chance to bring it back to those feelings.

So there you have it – 5 totally legit reasons to fall in love with Valentine’s Day, all over again. Let us know how it works out for you!

By Libby Baldwin

Embrace the Evolution of Love in the Wedding Culture

There comes a time when the wedding industry needs to do something to break the monotonous cycle of society’s perspective about standard weddings and embrace the revolution of equality of marriage. We’ve all seen our fair share of wedding magazines illustrating the very concept that marriage is a union between a man and woman and constantly lacking multiculturalism. The simple fact is marriage is not defined by society’s ideology.  It is defined by individuals who love each other without barriers and the willingness to understand that marriage is a union that empowers each other through innovation, spiritually, and compassion, thus promoting a more compassionate universe.

In this life time, if we are truly lucky, we find that individual who understands us and wants to spend the rest of their life basking in the love we unselfishly give them. Love is, after all, a beautiful and wonderful thing, right? Love is blind; it doesn’t care about religion, creed or sexual orientation. Love is many things, but none more than a celebration of differences between us. And weddings are the same, often celebrating not a joining of couples in matrimony, but a blending of families, faith, and cultures.

I believe that the time has come for us to open the doors to those who have not graced the covers of the most glamorous wedding magazines.  The many faces, colors and hues of matrimonial bliss should be given their share of the spotlight.  It is time to create a more culturally sensitive magazine that encompasses not just multiculturalism, but represents other nationalities, genders, and spirituality that genuinely guides our readers as they plan a wedding by discussing important topics such as spirituality, finances, cultural introductions, and religion. Don’t worry, we’ll still discuss our absolute favorite concepts for wedding dresses, beautiful make up, and great places to tie the knot!

So let’s celebrate our differences and incorporate them into one of the most important days you’ll ever have.  We are right here to help you do that. In these pages, you’ll find all kinds of breathtaking ideas to help you and your betrothed celebrate those differences that make love beautiful. Weddings are a celebration of love.  May these pages inspire you to find unique and special ways to express your everlasting love.