“Valentine, St., a saint of the Roman calendar, said to have been martyred in 306 A.D. The custom of choosing valentines on his day (14th Feb.) has been accidentally associated with his name. On the eve of St. Valentine’s day young people of both sexes used to meet, and each of them drew one by lot from a number of names of the opposite sex, which were put into a common receptacle. Each gentleman thus got a lady for his valentine, and became the valentine of the lady. The gentlemen remained bound to the service of their valentines for a year. A similar custom prevailed in the Roman Lupercalia(1), to which the modern custom has, with probability, been traced. The day is now celebrated by sending anonymously through the post sentimental or ludicrous missives specifically prepared for the purpose. But this practice is also on the decline.(2)”
Such is the definition given to St. Valentine’s day by the trusty International Self-Pronouncing Referencing Library. It is a very beautiful and descriptive paragraph, which lays out at least a couple of parameters for the reasons and celebration of the day, and the footnote and definition of what occurred during the Roman Day of Lupercalia leaves little room to doubt that some amount of romance would be the intended result of drawing lots, courting, or possibly of even sending silly little cards by “post”. I have, in addition to that, a thought or two which might add some modern personality to the celebration, and we can step away sharply from the “striking with goatskin thongs” that helped to make up the Roman holiday on 15th February!
My goal in this exercise was to find an older or rather, historical definition and/or usage of the term “Valentine’s day”, and to then translate and weave that wording into the relationship that I enjoy with my Wife. Thus– in the process, I would write her a beautiful Valentine’s note. In that endeavor, I will also limit myself to around 750 words, so as to not lose my love in my more often than not overly verbose style.
Brevity is the soul of wit. Love– if anything– should be both soulful and perhaps a little witty.
I liked the part about drawing lots, and then being bound to the service of one’s valentine for the ensuing year. It made me think of my marriage to Kimberly, and our commitment to each other. As is the case in marriage, that bond of service is a bit longer than just a year. However, it is the same general idea. For better or for worse, I chose Kimberly as my Wife. It was not by the luck of the draw, although I was lucky that she also chose me to be her Husband! I have often said that I married above my pay grade, and she is a beautiful lady, inside and out. I am blessed to be her Husband.
In being married to each other, we indebted ourselves to each other for LIFE. This year, we will celebrate our 12th anniversary. We’ve got a ways to go yet, in the grand scheme of things, and we’ll make it. In my estimation, convincing her to marry me was probably the smartest thing I’ve ever done, and I’m absolutely certain that I could not “do any better” with another– my Kimberly is my match, and I Love Her. I look forward to each and every day that I am able to spend with her.
So, on this coming lover’s holiday, I am so very proud and happy to have chosen as my valentine– Kimberly Sage. She is everything to me and for me. She is my life. She is all that was lacking in my life before I met her, and throughout our marriage has now become the wonderful delight that fills any need or desire with unbelievable satisfaction.
Kimberly, I am thrilled and honored to be bound to your service for this year, for next year… for all the years that remain of my life! I love you– Happy Valentine’s Day!
1. Lupercalia- “Noun, plural… Rom. Relig. A ceremony observed on Feb. 15, in which the priests of Faunus (Luperci) made a circuit of the Palatine Hill, striking with goatskin thongs all women encountered, a rite believed to ensure fertility and easy delivery.” G.C. Merriam, Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, (Cambridge: The Riverside Press, 1960), 501.
2. Logan Marshall, International Self-Pronouncing Referencing Library, (Philadelphia: International Press, 1914), 414.