Valentine’s Day ... love or pressure?
“Like a river flows surely to the sea
Darling so it goes
Some things are meant to be
Take my hand, take my whole life too
For I can’t help falling in love with you”
Elvis Presley – Can’t Help Falling In Love
As Valentine’s Day approaches, there is a lot of fanfare, with many persons receiving romantic gifts and gestures from their significant other. Then, there are those who are in good relationships but whose partners are unable to shower them with gifts due to financial constraints. They, however, still want some kind of public show on the day. The pressure to ‘step up to the plate’ is all too real, and, is with this in mind that Family and Religion reached out to Rev Gifton Wallace of Fire Baptised Holiness Church of God in Harmony Hall, St Mary, who said that God declared that it was not good for the man to be alone, and so, he provided a helper for him.
“One of the blessings of man in this setting is the ability to love and to be loved, and while this is considered instinctive, we must recognise that this is a God-given ability, and whatever God has given us or released to us, we have the capacity to perfect,” he said.
Wallace said the word ‘love’ is one of the most abused words in the English language and as such, has lost its significance. The language of ‘Bible days’ expresses the differences between the types love that can be experienced by human beings.
Philio: affection, fondness, liking for the other; brotherly love.
Eros: passionate or romantic love.
Agape: The love of God for man.
“The love that is associated with Valentine’s Day is Eros, which speaks of the love between a man and a woman. This day sees special expression of love being expressed by persons, especially through gifts, floral arrangements, and greetings, and persons make a concentrated effort to ensure that the evening brings with it a very passionate sexual experience to top the day off,” he said of the day, which will be celebrated on February 14.
Wallace said that while pampering your lover on Valentine’s Day is in itself a good gesture, there can be a measure of hypocrisy to it, because this day is sometimes the only day when some show any form of appreciation to their significant other. For the rest of the year, they are not recognised and celebrated, and so, the day can bring with it certain unhealthy psychological ramifications.
When it comes to expectations, Wallace shared that lovers might be forced to express themselves through expensive gifts that they might not necessarily be in a position to afford, but in order to please the other, they stretch themselves beyond the limit to cater to expectations.
“While we continue to subscribe to the truth that love is not love by what it says, but by what it does, the fact that someone hands you something does not necessarily amount to them loving you, or even wanting you. Some actions are done out of duty, pretence, guilt, hype, or psychological pressure, and none of these mentioned is a good reason, as many times this amounts to nothing more than a ‘bamboo-fire’ attention, since in some experiences, that might be the only attention given,” Wallace stated.
The love that God wants to be expressed, said Wallace, is one in which the other person is valued and treated with utmost significance daily. He said this will see worth and value being expressed in words, deeds of kindness, body language, affirmation, hugs, non-sexual contact, and the creation of an environment that allows the other to grow, be loved, be respected and be appreciated. Above all, love is the giving of one’s self in totality to the other individual.
“Many persons have been lavished with expensive gifts and still feel a deep sense of loneliness, lack of self-worth, being unappreciated, undervalued, or unwanted, even with expensive gifts being released, because while they have the things, they do not have the person! And here we refer to the person’s, love, attention, affirmation, support, time and simple non-expensive gifts that makes a relationship work. The other individual will prefer having YOU any time over the gifts, unless they are gold-diggers and have ulterior motives,” he observed.
Wallace said God has made us creatures of ideas, and as such, couples should begin to think outside the box.
“While gifts are to be given and appreciated, we have to find inexpensive, innovative ways to celebrate each other, and many times, the simple things in life are of a greater and lasting value, especially in these times when work pressure and social media have robbed us of quality time with each other. A walk in the park holding hands (which, incidentally, is a post-courtship forgotten practice), a drive in the countryside offers needed alone time [and] creates opportunities for forward planning and the reinforcing of relationships,” he said.