Valentine’s Day is part of our culture. Rachel and I have remembered it every year for over 50 years… I say remembered because celebration would be a bit strong…
I’ve spoken to several men… Some say what they will do, some what they won’t do; some see it as a joy, some a duty; some see it as an opportunity for getting brownie points, some just forget.
Much about St Valentine, the patron saint of love and marriage, (as well as travellers, bee keepers and people with epilepsy) is legend. He was an Italian doctor who became a priest who did the odd miracle and was imprisoned for his faith.
Whilst in prison he taught the jailer’s daughter. Just before his eventual execution in AD 270 he sent the girl a note, which he signed ‘your valentine’…hence the tradition… for cards (not presents!)
Valentine was jailed for performing weddings during a time when new marriages were outlawed in ancient Rome. Emperor Claudius II thought that marriage would be an obstacle to recruiting new soldiers and would distract existing soldiers!
Musing on marriage…
Many of our friends got married in their early twenties expecting life-long marriage.
However, attitudes to marriage have changed over the last 50 years. Living together without marriage is common, single parent families more widespread and same sex marriages accepted.
Although I recognise that this doesn’t work out for all I still believe in:
- Marriage as an institution – whatever it looks like.
- Lifelong commitment in a faithful relationship
- Unconditional public promises made ‘for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health…
- Love that grows through marriage rather than grows into marriage.
- The dangers of emphasising the pleasure of and right to sex.
- Our solemn duty to be examples in showing the next generation how to ‘do’ love, and marriage.
- …Love and marriage is a gift from God…
I think Valentine would have approved.