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Valentine’s Day Disappointments

Updated on February 11, 2009

I received the best Valentine’s Day advice I’ve ever heard from a pastor in Poland. I know, not the first place I would go to look for counsel in amore, but stick with me.

Mirek was making casual conversation with my husband and I, asking us how long we had been married. We were happy to announce that we had just celebrated our third anniversary on our trip there in 2003. It was then that he shared some marital wisdom with us:

“My wife and I never get each other gifts for our anniversary or Valentine’s Day. It’s not that we don’t get each other gifts! For our birthdays we do, for Christmas we do. Because her birthday is about her, my birthday is about me. But an anniversary? Valentine’s Day? Those days are supposed to be about us. So we take the money that most people put towards extravagant gifts, and we use that for something for both of us. It might be a nice dinner out, it might be a night or two away, or something else. But since these days are supposed to be about us as a couple, we make the day about us.”

At first I shrank back at this pronouncement. What?!? Not get each other gifts? But this is probably because that, as a woman, I am the partner in the marriage who most enjoys my spouse thinking about what I would like and searching valiantly until he finds the desired item and then proudly bringing it back to me to present it for my approval. But the more I thought this over, I realized that Mirek was probably right. Valentine’s Day is supposed to be about love, it’s to be a celebration of how much my husband and I appreciate being a part of one another’s lives.

To be so selfish about the holiday ends up ruining it for both of us. First, my husband is automatically at a loss because the expectations placed on him are so high, no matter how much he strives he will never quite reach them. Blame this on today’s romantic comedy genre, or romance novels, or even Jane Austen. Wherever the blame lies, fictional romance has led many women to believe that our husbands are supposed to exist at a level of passion and creativity that just isn’t sustainable for the average male.

Before I continue, let me fend off the zealous female out there who is arguing, “But my husband is just like those movies! He is amazing and romantic and creative every day! Our passion is overflowing for one another. I dare Danielle Steel to create a fictional man who can compare to my reality!” Congratulations to you. You found the one man on earth who can measure up to women’s puffed up, superfluous expectations. You now have permission to stop reading.

For the rest of us, the second person we end up ruining Valentine’s Day for is: ourselves. This is because our anticipations are so high, that after our husbands fail at jumping through the hoops and running through the obstacle courses that we have set up for them- and this being blindfolded because we want them to know what we want and need without having to ask- we weep and wail and wrench our hands at our disappointing reality.

Let’s give up the game! Join Mirek, as well as my husband and I, in celebrating Valentine’s Day for what it is meant to be: a celebration of love. Go on strike against the commercialism, the overindulgence, and the obvious traps we have set up for ourselves and start a new tradition. One where you can actually enjoy Valentine’s Day.

Here are some ideas to get you started...


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    • Sarah Songing profile image

      Sarah Songing 9 years ago

      LondonGirl: That works too! :) We like doing something that's about us. But I think whatever works for you, stick with that.

      Jerilee: Love the romance of spontaneity. There's nothing quite as wonderful as your loved one getting you a gift, flowers, or even a hug just because they want to. Agreed. Great point!

    • Jerilee Wei profile image

      Jerilee Wei 9 years ago from United States

      Good hub and good points. As for us old fogeys here, we've never celebrated it and most other commerical holidays for years. It's a lot more romantic to get gifts for each other in a more spondaneously manner when the spirit moves you. At least then you know it comes from the heart, and not because the other thought they "had to" get you something.

    • LondonGirl profile image

      LondonGirl 9 years ago from London

      We have an even better way of dealing with Valentine's Day - we don't, at all! It's a non-event for us.

    • Sarah Songing profile image

      Sarah Songing 9 years ago

      Cris A: I love the extra mile too. Keep on keeping on.

      Goldentoad: I hear you, so sorry. I'm trying to be an advocate for trampled down husbands out there. Maybe leave this article where your wife can see it...

      Drink96: Congratulations on 27 years! How awesome. Anyone out there who sticks together through thick and thin has my respect and deserves a standing O! Have a happy anniversary this week- oh, and a happy Valentine's Day, of course.

    • Dink96 profile image

      Dink96 9 years ago from Phoenix, AZ

      I'm still not sure if we were just two crazy kids in love or what, but we got married on Feb. 13th (long story, but it's always been a lucky number for us, husband's birthdate, etc.) so it's hard to get a wedding florist, let alone dinner reservations this time of year! We happened upon a new "dinners to go" place in our 'hood and looked at their special Valentine's menu online. My fabulous husband went down today and prepaid for a romantic dinner for two: salad, entree, vegies, dessert. All we have to do is add flowers, some nice music (in our case "Moody's Mood for Love"), candlelight and the two of us to the mix et voila, as he would say, "Now you has jazz....." This is #27 for us. Cheers!

    • goldentoad profile image

      goldentoad 9 years ago from Free and running....

      I book a hotel room for that night as I am pretty sure to get kicked out for not being mr. romantic. I accept that about myself and I wish she would too.

    • Cris A profile image

      Cris A 9 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      I'm all about going the extra mile. Thanks for sharing :D