13 Feb 2021

A Love Letter: Valentine’s Day

A Love Letter On Valentines Day on vickiarcher.com


Valentine’s Day was never a momentous day for me.
Growing up and spending my adolescence in Australia meant that as a celebratory day it wasn’t a big deal and it wasn’t marketed or observed in the same way that it is today. Like all teenage girls, with a fascination for teenage boys, I pondered that emotionally loaded question, ‘Who would be my Valentine’ but apart from the occasional blank card, February 14th came and went by uneventfully.

We don’t really celebrate the day.


He is not romantic in the traditional way; mine is a master of the unexpected. Romance for him is about surprise; romance is about romance when least expected. Once upon a time, he left on my bedside table the Penguin classic, First Love by Ivan Turgenev, a short tale of a young man’s awakening to the complex nature of love. When I asked him what made him think of this book, he smiled in his quiet way and told me that he was always thinking of me.

A few words spoken can mean so much more than the grand gesture. 




He is Australian, like me, and was not brought up to celebrate love on a given day; over time he has learned that Valentine’s Day is an important date in a woman’s calendar. He plays along happily, he never disappoints, but the truth is that the greatest romantic moments in my life have never occurred on Valentine’s Day. This day of ‘red roses’, ‘love hearts’ and ‘soft-centred chocolates’ has become a day of reflection and gratitude for me. I am both a woman in love and a woman that is loved. To be loved is one of life’s most precious gifts and to be loved by the same man for decades is nothing short of miraculous.

If Valentine’s Day is never anything more for me than a reminder that I am a most fortunate woman then I will forever mark that day and cherish it.


Counting back my Valentines would make a grand old tally of sentimental memorabilia but the sum total of my romance is so much more than flowers, seductive dinners and poetic words. More than the most generous of gifts, it is the sweet stolen looks, the unexpected praise and the personal comfort that comes with familiarity. This morning, unprompted and with no reason, he turned to me and said he found me, remarkable. As Valentine’s gifts go, this trumps all.

Romance; real live butterfly-making-spine-tingling-weak-at-the-knees-tear-blinking romance happens when you least expect it.

And that is where Valentine’s Day can disappoint.


This official day for romance is coming, just after Christmas and a little before Easter; we wait as Christmas tinsel is exchanged for red velvets. It sets an expectation to be spoilt and surprised by our partners. Expectation is an enemy of surprise and never a friend of romance.

Fond memories of our affairs of the heart are about the small intimacies and the revelations stumbled upon along the way. What is discovered and learned together becomes the backbone of our romance and strengthens the bond of love.

Not every day can be Valentine’s Day.


How much more romantic and happier the world would be if we remembered to show the people we love that we are thinking of them more often?

Simple gestures – to show affection, to be forgiving and gentle, to listen, to be generous with praise and to be passionate  – are the ways to revel in each other’s company and the way to celebrate love.

Happy Valentine’s every day in every way. xv


 

Spoiling Myself On Valentine’s Day

on my short list

stone & strand alphabet necklace (“a” and “p” for my babies)  ||  new specs in clear   ||  silk shortie pj’s  ||  long silk pj’s



neroli candle  ||  boyfriend jeans  ||  plaid shirt || classic patent leather loafers




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22 Comments

Stephanie Anderson

Dearest Vicki,
What a beautifully written piece Vicki. As I read this declaration of love between you and David I had a tear in my eye and for a brief moment my heart “stopped.
May you and David continue to cherish love-filled moments of “simple gestures” each and everyday.
Happy Valentine’s Day! ❤️

Reply
Vicki

Thank you Stephanie… sometimes it does us good to pause and reflect … Happy Valentine’s to you :)

Reply
Linda B

Again, you gift us, your readers, with such wisdom from your life experience, dear Vicki! Thank you so much for sharing all of this. I have have had similar thoughts about Valentines Day for decades, sometimes wondering if I was not trying hard enough to get into this “holiday”. My husband and I fell in love in college, when I was 19 and he was 21; we married four and a half years later, in 1981. At first, we tried a bit to make Valentine’s Day a thing, but truly, it seems unnatural to put so much weight of expectation on one day–a recipe for unhappiness. It is the cumulative acts of kindness and love, big and small gestures over time, that really count.

Reply
Patricia Hoar

Vicky, My beloved husband died long time ago, infact 25 years, he died of colon cancer and to this day I miss him so very much and from the day he died life has never been the same, I have been so fortunate that there are 3 children who also loved him so much. It doesn’t mean I walk around grieving like in the beginning, but when read your article I found it so so true and the missing never stops,

Reply
Vicki

I am sure the missing never stops – I can’t begin to imagine. Children make the difference, I know and every day I am more and more aware of what a precious gift they truly are.

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Deborah Peterson Milne

Such a delightful read, Vicki. You are so spot on with, ‘expectation is an enemy of surprise and never a friend of romance’. Graham too is not a huge romantic, but it’s how he treats me the other 364 days of the year that truly counts. When we lived in Houston, it stuck with me on a Feb. 14th seeing men flocking to the vendors at the side of the road; their pickup beds loaded with huge teddy bears and fluorescent flowers. I thought, how sad. These men likely knew they’d better not come home empty-handed. So here’s to the men that surprise us when we least expect it, and show their love in many unique ways. Happy VD!! xx

Reply
Sunflower

A lovely thoughtful piece Vicki and an everlasting love clearly. You’re so right it is the little things that mean a lot. We both give each other a Valentine card and have many times chosen the same the card! My husband had drawn a heart in the snow on the windscreen of the car this morning just before I came out of the house. A little act of love goes a long way. Have a lovely weekend. x

Reply
rena.spain

what a wonderful proof of love from both sides. I always appreciate your thoughts no matter the topic is . Enjoy all the qualities love brings.

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P McDonald

So beautiful, sweet, and thought provoking! Four years I have been a widow, your post brought a remembering smile to my face. Thank you for sharing.

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Kathryn Weir

I love this. I have never found Valentines Day meaningful and I am sure that your comment on expectations is very true. Being a New Zealander, like you we have only has Valentines day become a big marketing exercise in recent years, I have always been suspicious of it. Love is never meant to be packaged and defined by flowers and chocolates and expensive dinners. We experience love in so many days and ways unexpectantly. I write this from my bed beside which, on my night stand, is this morning’s coffee made by my husband. He makes me one every day. Thank you for reminding us of what love is.

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Kaaren

Beautifully written Vicki and so so true Growing up in Australia like you it wasn’t the big deal back then but now it sure is. My husband sounds exactly like yours and I love him more for it . Actually it is Valentine’s Day here today and my husband is fishing on Straddie ! Maybe I’ll get a few fresh fish cx

Reply
Deb

I loved your words today Vicki. Like you and several others, the Valentine’s Day thing was something we never knew, only watched on American TV or in movies!
Love is lots of things and it’s the loving small gestures that lift our hearts! Often the unspoken words, the little smile across a crowd, the firm hand on on one’s back at a stressful moment. I love a surprise gift or flowers as much as any woman but it doesn’t take a special day, red roses and chocolate to say “I love you!” After 30 years my husband can still give me a look that is just like the first night we met and it makes me feel weak behind the knees! It’s not all for the young!

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Mary

Fabulous post Vicki – loved the masked photos of you two love birds!
We just do a card to each other – and I gave Bob a carrot cake, his favorite, and he bought me beautiful flowers – well I picked them out – after 56 years of marriage you can do that, and it’s still romantic!!!!

Happy Valentine’s Day.

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Jacki F.

What wonderful words, a comfort to those of us whose partner is not traditional. He used to be, many decades ago. But how’s this for romance–I have my coffee brought to me at bedside every morning. Today he is cooking one of my very favorites– veal milanese topped with arugula. Since we cannot travel to Italy (our “second” home), he’s bringing it here. George Carlin once wrote “you can either be alone or annoyed”. At this point, 36 years & 2 (adult) children later, being annoyed is easy; being alone would not be! (And I just got myself one of those plaid shirts.) Words of one of my favorite all time songs: “Someday I’ll pass to the great sky above, and the first thing I’ll ask is how well did I love”. Happy V-Day! I’m off to fill the house with flowers :-)

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Patricia

Vicki, It is rare for me to comment on a post, but your reflection of love and Valentine’s Day pulled at my heartstrings. These are.such beautifully written words. Thank you for sharing these heartfelt words. ❤️

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Kim

There is an accurate and well written book The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman it includes the 5 general ways a partner can express their love to you, they are : Physical touch, acts of service, gift giving, quality time and words of affirmation. Try to guess your partners language, and then guess yours.
For me acts of service is important, and quality time, so physical touch or gifts are NOT so important to me, this can include children, if one of the partners is constantly doing one of the languages that is not the other partners language for eg constant gifts but all she /he wants and craves is a heartfelt talk .
Beautiful message Vicki.

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anitapelayorivera

Hello dear Vicki!

I have been without any internet since last Wednesday and we finally got back online.This subject and how you are describing it, I can attest to that…one great lesson I am learning as I grow up is to stop having such high expectations of “love” from others but to amp up my love for others to a higher standard. I always get disappointed when there is no reciprocity but I am completely and overwhelmingly happy when I know I’ve given my best to someone else.I swear, love and its pursuit can keep us busy for a lifetime.

Reply
Maryk

“To be loved is one of life’s most precious gifts and to be loved by the same man for decades is nothing short of miraculous.” Beautifully sums up our 45 year love story. I am keeping your words. Thank you for this!

Reply

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