Since Valentine’s Day is upon us next week, I’ve been thinking a lot about early childhood memories and how they influence how we celebrate today.
And our expectations of our husband’s Valentine’s Day embrace.
When you think of your childhood Valentine’s Days, are you filled with sweet memories of joyous celebration? Pink, yellow and green candy hearts stamped with “Be Mine”? Shopping with your mother for just the right gift pack of cards to share with classmates?
Does the memory of your shoe box carefully decorated with cut out paper hearts, crepe paper and glitter, just bulging with valentines, bring a smile?
Can you recall your excitement when you realized that everyone in the class had dropped a valentine in that shoe box resting on your desk?
Or are you saddened by memories of rejection and exclusion?
Do you remember Valentine’s Day with a rising sense of dread? Did you pray that no one would notice the embarrassment and shame which stung your eyes when you realized that your shoe box was practically empty?
How do your childhood memories and fantasies of Valentine’s Day influence what it means to you and your husband today?
What are your expectations?
Is this the holiday where you believe your husband should cater to you?
Do you expect him to write a loving card, bring flowers, candy, or a thoughtful gift?
Should he make dinner reservations at a fine restaurant, take you dancing, to the theater, a concert, or to the movies?
And what do you want to do for him to show your love?
Do you include other family members in your Valentine’s Day celebration?
Have you ever discussed your mutual expectations with each other?
You can make Valentine’s Day mean whatever you want.
By now you know my bottom line on EVERYTHING is that you get to think whatever you want about it.
If you think this is the time of year when your husband should be showing you that he adores you, tell him. Help him know exactly what he can do to make this day special for you.
Don’t make him guess how you feel about Valentine’s Day or what you want.
Just because the greeting card and candy industries declared this a holiday, it’s up to you to respond to it however you decide best fits you as a couple.
But please don’t blame him if he doesn’t meet your expectations because he doesn’t know what they are. It’s all on you to make it clear.
When it comes to gifts, decide whether you’d rather be satisfied or surprised.
Chose satisfied if there’s something you specifically want that speaks to you of love and devotion, go ahead and tell him.
It relieves so much worry and tension on his part. It allows him the pleasure of knowing he’s done something for you which makes you happy. It’s a win-win.
Chose surprised if whatever he decides to do, or not do, is just fine with you.
If you REALLY want something, take care of making sure it happens.
What if he doesn’t acknowledge Valentine’s Day as you hoped he would?
You don’t have to wait for him to celebrate you.
YOU CELEBRATE YOU! That’s always an option.
Even if he does know what you want, he is an adult with free will to do or not do anything you ask.
It’s always up to you to decide what you want to make that mean too.
So, don’t even hesitate if there’s something you really want for Valentine’s Day that says LOVE to you. By all means, go out and get it or arrange it for yourself.
There’s still time, you know, to have that conversation and plan a Valentine’s Day celebration that reflects your wants and desires, with him or without him.
How do you do Valentine’s Day with your beloved?
Whether you like to be satisfied or surprised, celebrate in a big way, modestly or not at all, what’s most important is that you understand each other’s expectations.
Of course you can agree to disagree, but at least you have awareness and can make decisions for yourself from a place of knowledge.
When thinking about Valentine’s Day makes you uncomfortable because you’re unhappy about the state of your marriage and you recognize that your conflicting beliefs about Valentine’s Day are a symptom of your tension, let’s talk.
I can help you match exactly what’s upsetting you with the next best steps to take to improve your relationship.