Making Plans for Valentine's Day

My husband and I do not go out for Valentines Day.


I heard that!

For one thing, we've never had much cash for it early in our marriage as missionaries, then as we struggled to make ends meet as "ordinary" people.

Later it was because my wonderful babysitter shared her birthday with the holiday so I felt terrible asking her to babysit on that day!

I have to admit, I spent some of those early years wishing (sulking, pouting, feeling sorry for myself...) that we could celebrate the way that EVERYONE ELSE does! After a while, my husband got tired of my attitude and started dreading the holiday altogether.

It was time for an ...ahem... attitude adjustment.

It was Lexy's birthday that did it for me. I now had a good reason to stay home. (At least it was MY choice.)

So I started a new family tradition with our children. We eat in the dining room on the good dishes. I make something special - including dessert, which we rarely have at our house.

One year I made French silk pie. It is Rich. It is time consuming...

My family did not like it!

But I digress.

Anyway, the kids love the holiday. Hubby tolerates it. And my bad attitude is gone.

It works well for us.

Yet I continued to think that everyone else went out for Valentines day but us.

Until last Valentine's Day.

I was at school for the class parties and two different moms asked me what I was making for dinner. I had not told them about our family tradition, so I wondered how they knew that we were "eating in." As we stood there exchanging recipes, I figured it out! We are not the only ones who include ALL of the special people in our lives, not just our "significant other," as we celebrate Love!

Wow! A new dose of reality!

Sometimes we set ourselves up for disappointment.

Yes, you heard me. I said we set ourselves up for disappointment. We imagine a romantic ideal of the way that we think it should go (maybe from a book we read or a movie that we watched of someone else's romantic ideal). We make it impossible for our poor husbands to please us without a great deal of effort or expense on his part. He carries a fear that if what he does is not good enough, he will be "punished" with pouting, rejection, a cold shoulder, withholding of intimacy, nagging, or keeping score.

If he does succeed, his prospects are not much better because he must then meet or exceed the new expectations the following year!

Is it any wonder that so many men hate Valentine's day? That some of them wait until the last minute and buy a pitiful handful of flowers at the gas station on the way home?

 They cannot win, no matter what they do.

If I could take back those years of pouting, I would in a heartbeat. I am the reason for his dread. I would re-do that time so that it would be remembered sweetly. I would choose not to ruin future memories.

I have to work harder now because I am trying to "redeem the years that the locusts have eaten." I am confident, though, that we will get to that point.

This is the advice that I would give to a young bride: DO NOT start off your marriage by putting that burden on your husband. Plan something special FOR HIM instead! Remember what LOVE means.

"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal... love is patient, love is kind. It does not is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs... When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a [woman], I put childish ways behind me..." from 1Corinthians 13

If you are a woman like me and you have already sabotaged the holiday, there is still hope! Take charge. Start by choosing to become become a woman that "the heart of her husband safely trusts" (Proverbs 31:11)

Make a plan. Don't put the pressure on your husband. If you have something in mind for that day, plan it yourself! That way, you will get your dream date, you will have the right attitude, and your husband will be more relaxed. It is the first step to making sweet memories to replace the tense ones.

Happy Valentine's day
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Traci Michele said...

TRUE! just stopping by to say hello! Have a blessed day! Love, Traci

Jacqueline @ said...

I love your blogpost! How true and really amazing...this culture is just full of pressures on our men. We don't go out for Valentine's Day either, but rather celebrate our love on a less obvious day and in a more honest or forced way. would appreciate your continued contribution...your blog is just great :)

Anonymous said...

As newlyweds you could come up with a tradition to start, even a silly and or simple one. Ours is (when we're in one place & I'm not pregnant) decadent drinks (the sort of thing made with Bailey's Irish Cream or other absurdly rich liquers...once a year! Less, really!)

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