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The Valentine's Day Fuss

My blogging buddy Terry, who helped "moderate" the comments last week when she noticed I wasn't chiming in (because I was away), wrote an interesting post this morning about her ambivalence towards Valentine's Day.

She started with this:

10 years’ ago, I viewed Valentine’s Day the way most (not all) other American women viewed it: as a chance to manipulate my husband into buy me flowers and/or candy, woo me with “spontaneous” romantic gestures, and give me a night off from the daily drudgery of housewifery. In other words, 10 years ago I didn’t think about it too much. If I had I would have seen the inherent silliness in the farce that Valentine’s Day has become.

And after writing about the commercialism of Valentine's Day, she concluded with this:

If a fellow feels undue pressure to produce a grand gesture of affection on February 14th, it means one of two things. The first is that he hasn’t flexed a romantic muscle for his wife all year. The second is that his wife has fully bought into to the high pressure marketing that kicks off every February. It could mean both. Either way, the fact remains that his gesture of love may be a gesture of many things: fear, pressure, unfulfilled lust, or his being brainwashed by the marketing machine. Short term the payoff might be worth it, but if things go back to the distant, disconnected state they were in before Valentine’s Day, it was a waste of good money.

Read the whole thing.

Here's what I commented:

Terry, I’m with you here. I just don’t make a big deal out of Valentine’s Day, and neither does my husband, because to us EVERYDAY should be Valentine’s Day. It seems to me that the emphasis on buying romantic stuff on ONE day makes it seem like you’re making up for a lack in the other 364 days. A marriage or relationship can’t survive on one day; you need that constant care.

I guess the other thing that bothers me is that we women tend to think that Valentine’s Day is for US. We get mad at our husbands if they don’t get us anything, but what do we get them? We don’t put great thought into how we should seduce our mates, because they’re the ones who are supposed to put the thought into it, because they’re seen as such louts the rest of the year. It doesn’t seem healthy to me.

I would much rather have a low-key romantic marriage than one that is punctuated by major gifts and cards on one particular day. And I feel that it is my job to make my husband feel loved, too, not just his job to make me feel that way.

So that's where I am in this whole Valentine's Day mess. I'm with Terry. I think it's too commercial, and it shouldn't really be used as a test of one's love.

That being said, I know there are a lot of my readers who are going to be sadly disappointed today, because they want some sort of recognition of love, and their husbands aren't going to provide it. Perhaps it's easy for me to say that I don't care either way about the holiday because my husband is romantic on the other 364 days. If your husband isn't, then for you, Valentine's Day probably takes on special significance because you're hoping that today, at least, he'll be sweet.

That kind of disappointment is hard. And all I can say is, don't set yourself up for it. Instead of expecting a ton from him and then being disappointed, why not plan a nice evening for him yourself? Make a candlelight dinner, even if it's only pizza, to eat after the kids are in bed. Rent a movie HE'D enjoy and then watch it together, snuggling under blankets. Plan a family games night. Go for a walk after dinner. Plan how YOU can show him love, rather than waiting for him to do something.

I know it would be nicer if he stepped up to the plate, but for some of us, it's not realistic. And if you want to rescue the day, take action yourself. Plan a nice evening, and show him that you love him, no strings attached. If he truly felt that, maybe he'd show more love, too!

Let me know in the comments: do you find Valentine's Day hard because your hubby isn't romantic? How do you deal with it?

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6 Comments:

At 3:38 PM , Blogger Terry @ Breathing Grace said…

Thanks for the link love, Sheila!

 

At 8:38 PM , Blogger Shanda said…

I so agree but I always feel like an unromantic, almost like not celebrating Christmas. Thanks for the comment about doing something nice with no strings attached!

 

At 11:47 PM , Blogger BeckyB said…

I'm with you! Very well said, too. I've lived too many Valentine's Days (Mother's Days too) trying not to have big expectations but usually disappointed. Ridiculous! I have an amazing husband and a great marriage. Why torture myself and end up completely miserable? It's the picture of self-absorption and the complete opposite of a day to celebrate love! Thanks for the great post!

 

At 1:51 AM , Anonymous Bonnie said…

I love Valentines Day for a whole different reason. My kids. What a great day to focus on love for everyone and especially God's love. Both my girls got the traditional stuffed animal and candy, but there favorite V-day gifts were there new devotionals (books) that they share with mommy each day. Instead of worrying about what the world says Valentines Day should be, we just make up our own traditions to make the day special. My hubby and I do get one another a card, and that is sweet and special for us. Nothing extravagant needed :)

 

At 1:51 AM , Anonymous Bonnie said…

I love Valentines Day for a whole different reason. My kids. What a great day to focus on love for everyone and especially God's love. Both my girls got the traditional stuffed animal and candy, but there favorite V-day gifts were there new devotionals (books) that they share with mommy each day. Instead of worrying about what the world says Valentines Day should be, we just make up our own traditions to make the day special. My hubby and I do get one another a card, and that is sweet and special for us. Nothing extravagant needed :)

 

At 10:28 AM , Blogger lorig said…

We make a big deal of Valentine's Day for the kids. It is one more opportunity to make them feel loved and special. I decorate the table and use the good dishes. We have a red themed meal (a hold over from when they were preschoolers that they won't let me change). I was going to skip the small valentine card or gift and just have the family time but found out a few days before that the youngest who has gifts as one of her love languages expected something (they have never been big gifts just tokens with thought put into what they girls liked at the time). So while I made supper, I put together a valentine for each girl with some candy that I had for decorating and a hand written note about what I love about each of them. Hubby got an electronic valentine since he appreciates the encouragement notes but not the clutter of a card and some chocolate. I got a hug and the joy of watching the family enjoy the day. Ohters tried to guilt hubby into something more but I don't want the overpriced flowers or a night out in a crowded restaurant and he knows it. I recycle the jewlery ads before he can see them. A key has got to be communication though. I let him know what I expect and he is not left guessing when the world tells him something else.

 
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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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