My Unfunny Valentine

Vicky Beeching has written a great blog post, ‘Why I struggle with Valentine’s Day‘. In it, she shares some of the reasons (and not just the obvious ones) why she, as a single woman, finds 14th February discomfiting every year.

She talks about the privileging of eros love over other forms of love, and its reduction to fairy tale, fantasy and sentimentality. And to that, as one who peruses Valentine’s cards every year, I would add, its reduction to crude lust. There is much more in her post, and I commend it to you.

I submitted a comment, and I’d like to relay it here. I feel like someone who sees both sides of the coin on this one. Yes, I am married, but ‘the man to whom this miracle happened was over forty years of age’ – I was 41 when I married Debbie. Even now I have to put an annual recurring appointment into my diary to block the evening of Valentine’s Day, otherwise I accidentally schedule church meetings or pastoral visits. I can assure you, that does not impress my lovely wife.

And indeed I remember the way in which being a single adult in the church means being treated as second-class, or being viewed with suspicion, those whispers about what my sexuality might be supposedly just out of my hearing. The one time in my twenties I received a Valentine’s card it was an unfunny joke by a young woman at church.

The one time during those years that Valentine’s Day meant anything to me was while I was at my first theological college. That morning, my Aussie mate Steve led chapel worship. “Good morning,” he said, “and welcome to morning prayer on Valentine’s Day.”

“This,” he continued, “is the anniversary every year of the day Lynda and I lost our first baby.”

Of course I would never have wished that experience upon them, but for the first time I heard someone who understood that 14th February was painful for many.

If you love someone, I hope your Valentine’s Day is good and beautiful. But let’s be good news for those who will have a sick feeling in their stomachs.


  1. We have the same with Christmas. People can’t understand why you’re not caught up in all the trimmings and excitement, and really all you want to be doing is celebrating the birthday of the little person who didn’t make it. Hard any time, can be more so when the rest or the world is on a high.
    We never know what is going off in someone else’s life, that we could be making harder.
    Not a reason not to celebrate, but need to remember how it might be for someone else.


    1. pam,

      You’re right – we do need to remember how it might be for someone else. All of us have some very tender spots that will never completely heal and ‘celebration days’ can touch those spots in a particularly painful way. But the reality also is that people we love and care for need to ‘celebrate’ sometimes. My children like celebrating Father’s Day because of their love for their father, but it’s always a day I reflect on the loss of my father. I actually find though that it’s much better to enjoy the day. For their sake and mine.


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