Three legends exist about the origin of St. Valentine's Day:
The first involves a man named Valentine who secretly married young couples during the Roman Empire. At the time, the Empire forbade the rite of marriage to lure all young men into the army and away from sentiments of the heart. When Valentine's crimes were discovered, the Emperor banished him to prison.
The second involved a man imprisoned for his underground work with Christians. While in confinement, he fell in love with the Emperor's blind daughter and healed her sight. Legend has it, he wrote a letter to the young woman prior to his execution signed, "From your Valentine."
The third legend tells of a man named Valentine who was known to lavish children with flowers and sweets. Upon imprisonment with other Christians of the time, the children he'd impacted with his kindness tossed notes through the prison bars to him.
Hard to compare to a saint, isn't it? These romantic ideals are of another time and place, but certainly we can become a Valentine for the one who has captured our heart. Here are some discovery questions designed to help you leave behind someone else's idea of Valentine's Day and create your own:
Q: What is something your Valentine sacrifices to be with you? Can you, if only for a day, give it back to them?
Q: What is the one thing your Valentine has always wanted to do/learn/be? Do it. Give your Valentine the tools to learn it. Help your Valentine become it.
Q: Without obligations, where would your Valentine's interests lie? Take away those obligations for a time. Pursue that interest with your Valentine.
Q: Quiet your routines, your surrounding responsibilities, the noise of life. What is the true essence of peace for your Valentine? It's there, in the stillness. Sometimes we can't see it for all of life's clutter. Give your Valentine that peace.
Q: What is one thing you'd never do for your Valentine? Do it.
Tomorrow: Everything I Need to Know About a Woman's Heart I Learned from a Romance Novel
Art: A Painter's Honeymoon by Lord Frederic Leighton, 1864