Every year on February 14th, the world celebrates Valentine’s Day. Traditions vary across the globe, but often involve chocolate, flowers, heartfelt cards, and romantic gestures. Not everyone likes Valentine’s Day, so why should you at least consider celebrating the day or understanding what it’s all about? Here are fifteen reasons why Valentine’s Day is important:
#1. It’s good to celebrate a relationship
If a partnership is strong and healthy, Valentine’s Day probably won’t make or break it. The people in the relationship are likely already showing appreciation for each other, caring for each other’s needs, and communicating, so there’s not as much pressure on Valentine’s Day. However, the day does provide an excellent opportunity for celebrating a meaningful relationship. Life can get busy and many couples aren’t able to slow down and connect in the way they want to. Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse.
#2. Spending time together on Valentine’s Day strengthens a relationship
Couples are encouraged to buy candy, flowers, and other presents for their partner on Valentine’s Day, but for most people, the real benefit comes from spending quality time together. According to an article on Psychology Today about why Valentine’s Day matters, quality time is an important part of maintaining a healthy, satisfying relationship. You don’t have to do anything fancy. Valentine’s Day can be about spending time together while hiking, cooking, or doing something else you both enjoy.
#3. Showing appreciation for your partner is important
You may feel pressure to buy something expensive for your partner, but many people just want to know that their partner appreciates them. Showing appreciation for who your partner is and how they support you is essential to a relationship’s longevity. According to another Psychology Today article, many people hesitate to express how much they appreciate their partner because they either assume their partner already knows or they’re worried that saying it out loud will be awkward. The truth is that relationships benefit when couples openly communicate their appreciation for each other. The article does point out that how you express gratitude matters. As an example, rather than saying, “I know you hate doing the dishes but thank you for taking care of that tonight,” try saying, “I was really tired from work today, so thank you for doing the dishes.” The first statement isn’t necessarily wrong, but you may find your partner responds better to the second wording.
#4. Valentine’s Day is a good opportunity to celebrate your successes as a couple
When people accomplish things like getting a great new job or graduating from college, others say “Congratulations!” In healthy relationships, couples celebrate these types of successes – big and small – so on Valentine’s Day, it’s time to celebrate your partnership. What have you accomplished together? What obstacles have you overcome? Like anything in life, healthy relationships take work, so why not celebrate? Reflecting on your relationship and celebrating how far you’ve come boosts your appreciation for each other, as well as feelings of happiness.
#5. Celebrating Valentine’s Day can show you’re invested in a relationship
Everyone wants to know their partner is invested in them and in the relationship they’re building. This is especially true if the relationship is new and the people involved are learning how to communicate. If you want to show you’re serious about a person, Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity. As always, the celebration doesn’t need to be over-the-top or expensive, though it can be if that’s what you both want. Taking the time to plan something meaningful shows your commitment and investment.
#6. Being in a happy relationship reduces stress
The best parts of Valentine’s Day – spending quality time together, showing appreciation, and celebrating your relationship – can increase your happiness, especially when your relationship makes you happy the rest of the year, too. Research shows being in a healthy relationship is good for your health. According to a blog on Northwestern Medicine, being in a committed relationship can reduce cortisol production, which is a stress hormone. Less stress means better health, both physical and mental.
#7. Strong social ties can extend your life
The Northwestern Medicine blog also describes research that suggests strong social ties can help you live longer. This doesn’t apply just to romantic relationships; good relationships with friends and family have numerous benefits, too. That said, research does indicate specific benefits to healthy, happy romantic relationships. Happy couples could find themselves with reduced risks for diabetes, Alzheimer’s, depression, and other health issues. While other factors still apply when it comes to how long someone lives, being in a happy relationship is certainly meaningful.
#8. Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be about romantic love
Many single people despise Valentine’s Day, even if they’re content with being single. They may feel bombarded with messages about love, sex, and marriage. It’s perfectly fine to avoid anything related to Valentine’s Day, but it can be a good opportunity to celebrate the important friendships in your life. Strong, fulfilling friendships have many of the same benefits as romantic relationships and some even choose a friendship as the backbone of their lives. You can participate in the usual Valentine’s Day traditions (flowers, a card, a nice dinner) or do a favorite activity with the people you love most.
#9. You can start a new tradition that fits your relationship
Speaking of the usual traditions, there are no laws that say you need to engage in them just because it’s Valentine’s Day. Not everyone likes candy, flowers, or candlelit dinners. If you and your partner avoid Valentine’s Day because nothing about its aesthetic appeals to you, you can create your own traditions. Do you both like cooking? Try a new recipe together. Prefer Halloween over Valentine’s Day? Watch a scary movie with the lights turned out. Creating a Valentine’s Day tradition that fits your relationship helps keep it fun, nurturing, and strong.
#10. You can take advantage of a special at a restaurant
Many people like going out on Valentine’s Day. It’s a great opportunity to take a break from cooking, cleaning up, or taking care of kids, if you have them. While Valentine’s Day is often not the cheapest night of the year, many restaurants offer enticing specials and menu items they don’t normally serve. If there’s a restaurant you’ve always wanted to try and you’re eager to treat yourself and your partner, see what’s available in your area.
#11. Valentine’s Day can be a great day for small businesses
According to The Balance, Valentine’s Day is the fifth largest consumer spending event in the United States. Flowers, candy, and cards are the most popular items, but anything your partner likes can make for a great gift. Big corporations will always do fine, so consider spending your money at a local or small online business. To avoid delays, it’s a good idea to think ahead and order well before February 14th, so the owner has time to get everything ready and shipped to you. Etsy is a great resource for small businesses.
#12. Valentine’s Day can be fun, but it can come with pressure, too
We’ve mostly discussed the positive aspects of Valentine’s Day, but it’s important to note the drawbacks, too. Many people feel a lot of pressure when the holiday rolls around, especially when it comes to sex. The pressure to get a good gift and say the right things can also be overwhelming. If Valentine’s Day goes poorly, relationships can suffer. Valentine’s Day can also make things worse if you’re already having problems. This is why so many people dread the holiday.
#13. Talking about how important (or unimportant) Valentine’s Day is with your partner is good for communication
Feeling the pressure of Valentine’s Day? Talk to your partner. Good communication is the bedrock of any relationship, so if Valentine’s Day is really important to you, tell your partner. If it isn’t that important or you have certain things you like or dislike, you should also tell them in case they have different ideas. Talking through your expectations or concerns is essential to healthy communication and a happy relationship. Even if you have different hopes for Valentine’s Day, talking about it and compromising on the less important things will make the day better.
#14. Valentine’s Day has a bizarre history
Some people find Valentine’s Day a bit shallow, though that’s because of how commercial it’s become. Its origins are far more bizarre than the lacy greeting cards and heart-shaped chocolates would suggest. The story of St. Valentine is mysterious and violent. According to one legend, Valentine was a priest in 3rd-century Rome when the Emperor outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine broke the law and kept performing marriages. When he was discovered, the Emperor executed him. There are other saints named Valentine, so it’s unclear who Valentine’s Day refers to, but romance plays an important part in all their stories and they all ended up killed. By the Middle Ages, St. Valentine was extremely popular in England and France. The oldest valentine is a 1415 poem, written by a duke while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London.
#15. Valentine’s Day can be challenging if you’re single, so don’t be afraid to treat yourself
Spending Valentine’s Day alone? Feeling a little sad about it? It’s time to treat yourself, whatever that looks like for you. Maybe that means taking yourself out for a nice dinner, ordering takeout, or cooking a fancy recipe. Watch a favorite movie or TV show, read a new book, play a video game, or go for a long hike. Whatever your goals are and wherever you are in your life, you deserve a day to feel good about yourself.