For the last few weeks, any time I've gone to the store, I've had to negotiate carefully past displays that urge us to spend money to show our love.
Chocolate dipped strawberries, cakes, cookies, flowers, champagne, wine, stuffed animals (destined for the thrift store donation pile someday).
It's a lot easier to play at romantic love than to nurture the real thing. “Falling in love” is probably one of the easiest things in the world to do.
First there's eye contact, then a smile, then that spark of attraction. Those endorphins in our brains send our hearts soaring when the interest is mutual—yes, that's the falling in love part. The feeling we get comes from a chemical in our bodies called oxytocin.
Then people try to hold onto that feeling with flowers and chocolate.
Unfortunately, a selfless sacrificial love isn't shown by calories and flowers that will be dead in a week or so.
One of the most romantic movies (and the only one in which I can tolerate Kevin Costner, besides Field of Dreams) is Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Toward the end of the movie, when Robin comes to rescue Marian, she tells him,“ You came for me...you're alive...”
He replies by saying, “I would die for you.” (Swoon!)
Now, that's worth a whole lot more than roses and chocolate. That's the stuff of real love. You can't buy that in a store at any price.
If you've found that type of love, you won't keep it with typical gifts, and if you're looking for that type of love, you won't earn it by those kinds of gifts either.
Although chocolate, chocolate, chocolate will win points any time.
So will genuine gestures of love instead of an over-the-top budget blowout once a year.