Today, 54 percent of our 17-year-olds have parents whose Valentine tokens became meaningless through divorce or abandonment. Given the demographics and behaviors that are already in place, for babies born this year, around 70 percent will reach the age of 17, on the cusp of starting their own adult loves, with parents who have rejected each other. Divorce affects more people than just the couple calling it quits – it deeply shapes the psyche of the next generation and their ability to make commitments themselves.

St. Valentine is a tough act to follow, but a good model for today. Love demands death, and it is a debt that will be paid, be it through the life-giving self-sacrifice of marriage built on chaste romance or the death of love itself.

Be my true Valentine is taking on a new meaning in our time.