I’ve been married for over two decades. It’s a good marriage. I love my husband more now than when we first married. But Valentine’s Day has me thinking. What would be a great gift that could make us happier together? Flowers, chocolates, candles? Those are all nice, but they aren’t really going to add much to the quality of our relationship. What else? Hmmmm. I know! How about a girlfriend for our daughter?
Now I know that there are those people who feel that we should start early teaching kids that life isn’t fair. Elizabeth Esther in an interview on Fox news assured us that elementary school kids shouldn’t be given a “pity Valentine” because they might not realize that they are outcasts and will have the audacity to still expect Valentines when they are 20. Newsflash, Ms Esther: at 16 my daughter is well aware that life is unfair. You don’t have to worry about that one. And those kids who got the pity Valentines? They aren’t generally the ones who feel entitled to other people’s attentions later in life.
Ms Esther’s concern is two-fold, however. Not only will those pesky losers not realize that they don’t deserve Valentines, but if they get them it will ruin it for the popular kids. “It totally removes the meaning, the special memory for the kids.” Let me get this straight. Romance only has special meaning if it can be denied to other people? Here I thought that the quality of my relationship with my husband had to do with how well we got on with each other. Apparently, though, the thing that will really give it some vavoom is being surrounded by the misery of people who can’t have happy relationships. I’m having a hard time buying that unhappiness for many creates special happiness for a few, but it explains a lot.
For instance, Randy Thomasson in California, who said that Valentine’s Day was out of bounds for LGBT people because it is “only for one man and one woman.” Now where have I heard something like that before? It will come to me in a moment. In the meantime Mr. Thomasson tells us that “even plumbers know the difference between male and female!” Even plumbers! Well, gosh, then. He goes on, “God’s word is as clear as day … This is why marriage and romantic love are naturally only between one man and one woman. And you can thank God for it.” Oh right, that’s where I’ve heard it before.
All due respect to Ms Esther and Mr. Thomasson, but being surrounded by people who are hurting actually makes me more sad than happy. And being miserable tends to put a strain on my marital relationship. You know what else puts stress on a marriage? When your daughter can’t exchange flowers with someone she likes, or even have a normal teenage crush, because everyone might hate her. I’m not really inclined to offer thanks to God for that. As it happens, though, I don’t think that a mythical deity is to blame. I think that people who share the views expressed by Mr. Thomasson and Ms Esther are responsible. They seem to feel that they can only enjoy romance, themselves, if other people can’t have it. That’s sad. It’s sad for them, it’s sad for everyone else, and, darn it, all of this sadness isn’t doing my marriage any favors.
There are things for which I am thankful. I’m glad that I’m not in one of the pink countries on this map where I would live in fear that my daughter could be arrested for being gay. I’m incredibly grateful that I don’t live in one of the red countries where she could be executed for who she is. I’m thankful for the people all over the map who believe that everyone has a right to love and a right to be happy. At the end of the day, what would make this the best Valentine’s Day ever? More love, less hate.
featured image: Sappho’s Day Card, by the author’s daughter
cake topper cuteness image, by D&K (darcyandkat)