Why it has been 16 years since our first and last Valentine’s Day celebration

By Nina Steele 

Valentine's DayMy husband and I will never forget the first and last time we celebrated Valentine’s Day. It was 2 days before our wedding, 16 years ago. We had been together for just over 6 months and naturally, we thought that as a young couple, celebrating Valentine’s Day was the right thing to do. Understandably, the fact that we were also about to get married, made the occasion even more special.

We lived in Blackheath, South East London, at the time, and the area was not short of good restaurants. We had expected the evening to be magical, with candle lights and a table tucked away in a corner. Instead, the sitting arrangement was similar to that of Wagamama, with as many couples squeezed together as possible. There was absolutely nothing romantic about the evening, and the discomfort of most of the couples, was plain to see. That was it for us. There was no way we were going to put ourselves through that again.

I suspect that things have changed since then, and that with so much competition around, restaurants would be as much focused on making money as they would be on making sure that customers have a good experience. Businesses are well too aware that in this age of social media, all it takes is for a few customers to share their bad experiences online for a reputation to be damaged.

Even so, now that we have got older, Valentine’s Day for us, is just another day. It helps that our marriage has got stronger through the years, and that we say ‘I love you’ to each other all the time. When your relationship rests on strong foundations, you don’t really need a day in the year to remind you of how blessed you are to have one another.

Often, what happens is that, there are certain couples who make no effort throughout the year and then expect everything to magically come together, come Valentine’s Day. If your relationship is resting on shaky foundations, a dozen red roses or any other fancy gifts, is not going to suddenly make everything ok. I remember a former work colleague who was in a poor relationship she knew was going nowhere. Yet on Valentine’s Day, flowers promptly arrived for her. She beamed with pleasure at being the centre of attention. Not long after, the relationship ended. That’s what happens when people fail to understand what makes a strong and happy relationship.

Valentine's Day

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