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Courtesy | Wiki­media Commons

When all the phone alarms start buzzing on the morning of Feb­ruary 14th, pressure sits on the chest of everyone in America. It’s Valentine’s Day. Some singles and even couples will claim to be ignorant of it, but it’s there, ready to intrude on the peaceful dinner or movie night. Valentine’s Day pressure is good because it reveals things about the char­acter of a rela­tionship.

Valentine’s Day is often under­stood to be a day of romance, and that’s why there is so much pressure to deliver. Romance becomes a standard by which you can evaluate the day. Along with Christmas and birthdays, it’s one of the few days when people can look at their rela­tionship and see it for what it is. That kind of exam­i­nation is scary for couples used to sliding along with Netflix and “You up?” texts.

This is good because a day of crystal clarity, like Valentine’s Day, reveals a lack of com­mu­ni­cation, effort, or com­pat­i­bility. This can make it easy to see when a rela­tionship is limping along and can end a bad one months before inevitable expi­ration. This saves everyone time and effort.

When I was dumb and in high school, I was trav­eling on Valentine’s Day and didn’t bother sending my girl­friend any­thing. She was under­standably upset and the rela­tionship ended. That was a good thing. Without Valentine’s Day revealing how callous I was, that breakup would have been pro­longed and nasty.

The pressure of Valentine’s Day can reveal good things too. Last year, I was three months away from being seperated from my girl­friend indef­i­nitely because she was grad­u­ating and I still had another year at Hillsdale. It was a scary time, when hidden doubts about our future started creeping into my head.

For Valentine’s Day, we went to a chocolate shop and had a fancy meal, but what made the day unique was that I showed her where I grew up. That tour forced us to com­mu­nicate who we were and what we wanted. After the day was over, I knew our rela­tionship was founded on some­thing strong enough to last through a sep­a­ration. 

We are still together, and I owe that to the pressure of Valen­tine’s Day.