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So today, I was at Akpan adem market to get some items. I was huffing and puffing from carrying two heavy bags. I had just rounded a bend when I heard loud music coming from up ahead. True, markets are usually noisy; with all the women calling customers; talking all at once in different dialects, and all those guys in ragged clothes pushing heavy loads of foodstuff on wheelbarrows shouting in loud native tongues trying to make everyone give way for them to pass; but this was something different.

A band of people dressed in similar tee shirts giving out condoms! Wow! I mean this happens every other day but ehn; the way the market people were struggling to get some, you would think they were sharing money. A guy just ran out in front of me shouting with a bunch of condoms in his hands. What joy he must be feeling on how he was going to use them! I dropped my bags to watch and laugh. The first question that popped into my head was, “is this because tomorrow is Valentine’s Day? “. I almost rolled over on the filthy ground when I saw 5 old women who looked like they were in their early 60s, trying with a lot of difficulty to get a condom for themselves. This was a spectacle to behold.
Come to think of it, what value does Valentine’s Day hold for you? Is it to express love to your dear ones? Or is it to exploit them? Love should be shown to people who have no means of paying you back; the orphaned children, the less privileged, the falsely accused in prison who have been awaiting trial for ages, and a whole lot of others. The Bible in Matthew 6:19-20 talks on laying up treasures in heaven. The day is about showing love by giving selflessly.

Another question we should ask ourselves; “is Valentine’s Day over hyped? ” many people try too hard to make the day special; not to say that it’s bad but heightened expectations make us act strangely. Some people who can’t afford to, indulge in a luxury hotel, in a beautiful location to enjoy some quality time together. When you go on the internet, you see so many different tips on how to spend Valentine’s Day, people browse to check out how to make it memorable every year. Obviously, it’s nice to make an effort, but too often, this tips into tedious perfectionism.

I recall an occasion on Valentine’s Day last year, I had gone to an eatery just across the street from my house. As I walked to the counter to place my order, a lady suddenly started screaming at her boyfriend just two tables from where I stood. Why? He had been checking Tinder on his phone while they conversed. She hurled her champagne in his face before storming out. I looked round the room and all eyes were on the guy. He just sat there, wiping his wet clothes as if nothing happened. I just shook my head as I left the scene. Or is it the lovebirds I saw fondling each other down the street as I walked home? Predictably, Valentine’s Day encourages public display of affection; but fondling each other in public? So many things happen just because it’s Valentine’s Day.

Let’s not make it only about improving relationships and marriages. There’s so much we can do to show love to others. Crush the stereotype that Valentine’s Day is a couple’s day and instead make it all about platonic love, familial love, and self-love.

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