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This funny Valentine

It’s going to be another Valentine’s Day in a couple of days and we will be spending it yet again in pandemic mode. Florists, gift shops, and online shopping delivery riders will be busy as we indulge in the commercial aspect of the “day of love” to make up for all the time we’ve lost over the past 2 years by giving and sending gifts to our love interests.

The dystopian Valentine is hopefully the last one for this decade, as we hope to emerge from our COVID hibernation by this year. For now, restaurants will have to remain empty, or at best 50 percent occupied on V-Day because nobody wants to fuel another round of Omicron infections. Motels will hopefully continue to do business because whatever happens there may require some handwashing, but most likely no social distancing.

For now, all we can do is try to enjoy Valentine’s Day as best we can. In my case, it will be at home, where we will have a double date. My wife and I, and our son and daughter might dress up and have a semi-special meal just so we don’t forget what society requires of us on that special day. After all, I wouldn’t want to be accused of raising socially awkward kids.

The other thing that makes this year’s Valentine’s Day extra weird, aside from the pandemic vibes, is the election fever that is currently rippling through the country. I don’t know about you, but does this feel like one of the most divisive elections we’ve ever encountered? People are judging each other based on chosen candidates to the point that hearing of love sprouting between two individuals from opposite sides of the political fence getseyebrows raised.

It would be funny to imagine how a Valentine’s date would turn out in such a case. Giving roses that are either red, pink or God forbid yellow might start a tiff even before the date started. I guess this is why most of the unattached and desperate for love conveniently brand themselves as “undecided.” It allows them to better explore their options for finding love.

I remember being asked by some younger workmates when we were out for drinks many years ago (going out for drinks with people outside our bubbles is always at least 2 years ago) and we were discussing what was more important when it came to love: passion or values.

I was amusing myself listening to their discussion and was surprised when they turned to me and asked. As the one who was married the longest, my answer was swift: when it comes to love, values are more important than passion.

My reason was that passion can fade and change, but values don’t. A couple that is passionate about their chosen field of expertise, art, a K-Pop group, a presidential candidate, or each other can have a lot of good times together but if their values are different, they are in for trouble when the going gets tough.

If one values honesty and the other doesn’t see it as vital in a relationship or life in general, they are going to have a problem. If one values family while the other values independence, someone is going to have to make sacrifices out of “love.” The trouble with sacrifice is that it may sound like a powerful theme for a storybook relationship, it is no fun at if you have to do it for the rest of your life.

That drunken conversation with young workmates many years ago reminded me just how important it was as a parent to ensure that my kid’s values are set and pointed in the right direction. If I can do that, all they have to do is find a partner who has more or less the same set of values and I can be confident that they will do well in life and in love.

The toughest part of knowing a person is determining their values. It is easy to see passion because we see it in what they do. There are passionate doctors, lawyers, architects, gamers, athletes, hobbyists, fans and it is often admirable to see their passion at full display. However, a person’s values are much more difficult to identify.

I’m guessing that is why these election season is so polarizing. Because for those of us who see values as important, a person’s choice of certain candidates is seen as a bell weather of their values.

That is why this year’s Valentine’s Day is going to be pretty interesting if I were a fly on a wall of a restaurant filled to (50%) capacity.*

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