The Valentine Exchange

by Joanna Pierce on February 14, 2018

I remember as a child wrapping a shoebox in red construction paper, cutting out a slit in the top, and decorating the exterior with embellished hearts and flowers. All of this was meticulously done in anticipation for the yearly school Valentine’s Day exchange.

When the day arrived, I had such a fun time placing a Lisa Frank-themed valentine in my classmate’s shoeboxes. I paid very close close attention to ensure I didn’t distribute an “I love you” valentine in any boy’s shoebox. My mother encouraged me to give boys the more masculine valentines (if there is such a thing with Lisa Frank), and I also wanted to ensure my male classmates didn’t get any wrong ideas about my exclusive platonic feelings for them. Boys were and still are gross (Ssshhh—don’t tell my husband).

And, the best part was pulling my valentines out at the end of the day and reading through them one-by-one. They said stuff like, “You’re terrific,” “You’re an awesome friend,” or “You’re totally rad.” What an uplifting day! And, I especially cherished the valentines that were hand-made—I knew the person took extra special care in framing that valentine just for me. It really made me feel like a million bucks no matter the day I was having.

Whatever happened to doing this as an adult? My department at work, as close as it is, doesn’t hammer out the construction paper, shoe boxes, and pick-up goofy-themed valentines to hand out. Why? I have a few theories.

One, some people have children. And, because they’re already using the last empty shoebox in the house for classroom Valentine’s day activities, the remaining shoeboxes in their home actually have something in them—shoes. Two, adults have made valentines into a gushy expression of love reserved for their significant others. We’ve taken all the fun out of valentine-giving and encouraging others.

I think we need to resurrect valentine-giving as adults and not just make it a classroom activity. While you may not want to go out to grab a Barbie or Transformer-themed valentine to share because they may be a tad juvenile (albeit still really cool), or sacrifice a much-needed shoebox, there’s no cause for worry. You can forego the shoebox, and just go for the valentine, and I’ve got a few perfect Valentine Day sayings to share:

Valentines, in their simplest form, are to edify and encourage others; that’s what we’re commanded to do in Scripture (I Thessalonians 5:11). When we give a Valentine to anyone—child or adult—we’re essentially sharing the Word and allowing the love of God be shed abroad in our hearts (Romans 5:5).

So, this Valentine’s Day, think about sharing a “Valentine” with someone—anyone. It doesn’t have to be mass produced in the store, or have a funky character on it. But, it can be in the form of a text, a phone call, email, or whatever method you choose. And, that Word of encouragement will make someone’s Valentine’s Day.