Valentine’s Day is next week and as the song says, “love is in the air”. As a migrant who works with people from many different countries, I sometimes think about the nature of romantic love and how differently it can be expressed in different cultures. For some, the only way to show affection is by hugging and kissing, while for others, that’s simply not done, but the love and affection people feel for each other is just as strong. Every culture has its own way of celebrating love and sometimes that doesn’t conform to what society and media tell us is love.
I think most people would agree that in a loving partnership, you learn to compromise and accept each other’s faults and the relationship just deepens as you grow older together.
However, for me Valentine’s Day is not just about romance, it’s also about the love we feel for our family and sometimes that love can be tough and require hard work and sacrifices. It can be expressed in the discipline and structure that a parent gives, or the fact that parents go out to work to feed their family, or insist children eat their vegetables.
Sometimes, the deepest love can be expressed in the simplest ways, like making your partner a cup of tea, driving the kids to sport, looking after a parent who is ill, or preparing a meal for others.
And sometimes, the deepest love is expressed without words, because our silence can say it all.
I wish you a very happy Valentine’s Day. Take the night off, go out and enjoy a meal and focus on the people you love and care for.