Taking Valentine's Day seriously — or finding a partner of compatible beliefs — can be equally challenging tasks for some.
Although the religious roots of the event are subject to debate, the Huffington Post reports, the most popular account dates back to 270 A.D. and Roman Emperor Claudius II. A temple priest named Valentine was executed for performing secret weddings for Roman soldiers, who were under Claudius II's ban on marriage. The emperor, it seems, felt marriage was a distraction for his warriors.
"Valentine, a man of many talents, supposedly healed the blind daughter of his jailer while incarcerated and, the night before his execution, gave the newly sighted young lass a handwritten card signed — you guessed it — 'From Your Valentine,’ ” Mitch Ditkoff, a Huffington blogger, wrote.
Not everyone is a fan of setting aside Feb. 14 as a day for romance, however. Ellen McCarthy, a wedding reporter for The Washington Post suggests the holiday is good for some, but society should "at least put some age limits around it. Maybe condone celebrations up until the fourth grade, when people still have the common courtesy to bring in a valentine for everyone who sits in their general vicinity. And then, for those who insist, allow it to be picked back up by the over-60 set."
McCarthy notes that Zena Polin, who is unattached and the owner of The Daily Dish restaurant in Silver Spring, Maryland, isn't a fan, even though the day brings in business. “ ‘It’s February,’ ” Polin said. “ ‘It’s cold. You’re not dating anyone. You’re probably at your heaviest weight. You haven’t been able to get outside for months.' …And along comes a parade of (seemingly) happy couples on a holiday that leaves single people in the dust."
So Polin will offer an "Anti-Valentine’s Day Menu" this year, as she's done for the past three years. The 2015 offerings include "a Bitter Betty Martini, a Love Stinks cheese board and a dish called 'Consciously Uncoupled' — a vegan lentil patty served with beef short ribs." There's no indication that either Gwyneth Paltrow or Chris Martin, who themselves "consciously uncoupled" last year, are planning to partake, however.
For some couples, particularly those who are politically conservative, religion can be a source of conflict in a relationship. According to data from the Public Religion Research Institute, "Republicans (38 percent) are more likely to say that opposing religious beliefs is a major problem for a marriage or romantic relationship than Democrats (22 percent) or Independents (29 percent.)"