My husband and I are not big on celebrating Valentine’s Day because we like to think we show love to each other all year long. J Sometimes we celebrate the day after Valentine’s Day so we can go buy the clearance chocolate. Still, we try and do something simple, like cook a steak dinner after the kids go to bed or bake a delicious dessert that has chocolate in it.
One year I tried my hand at a lava cake because everyone said they were so easy, but I forgot the sugar and it turned out terrible. This year there won’t be a lava cake, but not because I forgot the sugar. It’s because of Lent. It’s a weird liturgical year, so here are my tips for celebrating this Valentine’s Day:
1. Celebrate a day early.
This year, Valentine’s Day is Ash Wednesday so you are required to fast. Ash Wednesday trumps other holidays, so no meats and sweets! Since Tuesday is Mardi Gras, indulge yourself in a good steak and a glass of wine. You’ll probably have better luck getting a reservation on Tuesday anyway. And don’t forget dessert! (the more chocolate in it, the better, in my opinion)
2. Go to Mass.
Again, because it’s Ash Wednesday. Really, there is not much more romantic than kissing each other with ashes on your head while your stomachs are grumbling. But seriously, uniting yourselves to the love of Christ who offered his body up for you truly is the most romantic thing you can do. So go to Mass.
3. Do Not Go See the Fifty Shades of Grey Movie.
From the book, The Porn Myth, by Matt Fradd: “A study published in the Journal of Women’s Health found that emotional abuse is present in nearly every interaction in Fifty Shades, including stalking, intimidation, isolation, and the use of alcohol to compromise consent. The main character, Anastasia, experiences the typical reactions of an abused woman, including nausea induced by the sense of menace she experiences in her sexual encounters.”
“Fifty Shades of Grey is a perfect example of a piece of erotic/pornographic literature that went mainstream. It is the fastest-selling paperback ever. After this piece of “mommy porn” was turned into a movie (rated R, mind you), sex stores saw an increase in sex-toy sales – and not just any sex toys but bondage sex toys, just like those used in the book, and, subsequently the movie.”
If we have learned anything from the news recently, it’s that the abuse of women is never okay in any circumstance. I have never read the Fifty Shades books or watched the movies. But I have read enough reviews to know not to, because it is soft-core porn and the opposite of love. Apparently they get married in the third movie coming out this Valentines Day? Doesn’t matter. Chastity exists in marriage, too, and it doesn’t involve pornography or sex toys or abuse. Do not go see the movie or rent the earlier ones.
4. Express your love chastely.
This means if you are married, you can express your love through renewing your marital covenant in sexual union. Unless, of course, you are using NFP and need to abstain in phase 2. Then you can express your love like the other engaged or not-married couples: snuggling on the couch with a board game or good movie. (After Mass, and it can’t be any Shades of Grey movie… see above points) Use wisdom and good judgment in choosing a movie by clicking here to see Catholic News’ latest movie reviews.
5. Make Your Lenten Resolutions together.
Since Valentine’s Day is the start of Lent, let’s make this year’s celebration all about real love. Real love cares for the salvation of each other’s soul more than chocolate or flowers. If you can find ways to encourage one another in Lenten practices that will help you grow in holiness, then your love will be rooted in Christ. It’s God’s love that is everlasting. “The flower wilts, but the word of our God stands forever.” Isaiah 40:8
Finally, know that I am not anti-Valentines Day. In fact, I am all about reasons to celebrate love! Marriages are so wounded in today’s culture that it’s important to make time to strengthen your bond of love. Just make sure it’s a celebration of real authentic holy love, and not the imitation kind that shows up once a year on February 14th.