Are you marking Valentine’s this year? A lot has changed…

What hasn’t changed is the use of gifts to express love and appreciation.

What hasn’t changed is the use of gifts to express love and appreciation.

What you need to know:

  • Valentine's Day has become a routine that couples are required to follow year in year out.
  • Those who give gifts tend to do it just to get their partners off their backs.
  • many couples are getting tired of Valentine’s because of the unrealistic expectations and unnecessary stress it creates


Every February 14, many couples break up over Valentine’s Day. Some fight because the day was not adequately marked, with the attendant gifts and romance. Others go into debt to fit into the social norm of gifting, getaways, and candlelit dinners. With the world still reeling from the economic ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic, is the day of love still worth marking?

The cons

According to research conducted by Groupon, an American firm that offers deals and coupons, many couples are now finding Valentine's Day boring. This is mainly because Valentine's Day has become a routine that couples are required to follow year in year out. Expecting and giving gifts is one of the things couples have trouble with. Those who give gifts tend to do it just to get their partners off their backs. According to this study, couples prefer sharing a unique experience during Valentine's Day. Locally, psychologist Dr. Chris Hart says many couples are getting tired of Valentine’s because of the unrealistic expectations and unnecessary stress it creates. "This is a day that sees partners spending unnecessary amounts of money that they don't have on things their partners don't really need," he said.

The pros

Nonetheless, there are those who think that Valentine’s Day is important. A study conducted by US-based marketing firm, OnePoll, and eCommerce firm, Zulily, suggests that couples who mark Valentine’s Day get equally or more excited about the day than other traditional holidays such as Christmas Day. Also, the evolution of Valentine’s suggests that the pressure to romantically couple up may be a thing of the past. The excitement around it is no longer constrained to romantic love. People are using Valentine’s Day to celebrate love of all kinds with their romantic partners, children, friends, and even pets. In fact, the majority of those who recognise Valentine’s Day use it as an opportunity to show love and appreciation to those they care about, regardless of how they are affiliated.

What hasn’t changed is the use of gifts to express love and appreciation. “People are using gift-giving and shared experiences to connect and express love, gratitude, and appreciation. From crafting something homemade for their colleagues at work to getting dressed for dinner with romantic partners or friends, Valentine’s is no longer just about red roses,” said Zulily’s Claire Magruder.

The balance

To strike a balance, psychologist Patrick Musau recommends that you should go as far as you are comfortable on Valentine’s Day. “Instead of devaluing Valentine’s Day, use it to put your relationship back in shape. For example, if your marriage has been on the rocks, use Valentine’s window to patch things up,” he says.

Keep your finances in check. Don’t go into debt to express love. “If you can’t afford a restaurant dinner, don’t borrow. Don’t fuliza to buy your partner a Valentine’s Day dress. Borrowing means you can’t afford it,” says Musau. “Your partner should understand your financial position. However, don’t recoil. There are less costly and effective ways to cheer up your partner on Valentine’s Day.”

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