Valentine's Day: A Day for Love?

I preface this article with a disclaimer. I recognize that Valentine’s Day is probably originated as a pagan holiday of false love, but it is a good reminder to treat your man with respect. I need a nudge periodically to remind myself not to take him for granted, to appreciate what he does and who he is. I use the day to help me to focus.

How do you measure your husband’s love? By what he gives on Valentine’s Day?
My husband has told me that Valentine’s Day puts impossible expectations on the man. How can he fulfill any dream of a woman? Can he even imagine what she’s thinking?
Yet year after year, men stand in grocery store lines at 5 PM on Valentine’s Day with their card and flowers and a hopeful look on their face that this might be enough.
Maybe my husband tells me these things so I can take pity on him.

Do you know what my husband got me for one Valentine’s Day? Tires for the excursion, because we needed them. (Well, he actually bought the tires with me on Valentine’s Day.) I wouldn’t slip off the road. The other tires didn’t have much tread. I was thankful.
Do you know what my husband got me for another Valentine’s Day? Tires for his vehicle, because we needed them. I was thankful he wouldn’t slip off the road on the many miles he drives.
In the 26 years we’ve been married, my husband has gotten me a card maybe half of those years, flowers a handful of those years, maybe even candy (from offerings from drug reps at the office). He’s told me in advance he didn’t get me anything, except maybe tires…
When my dryer finally limped to a stop this year, and we had to buy another one, one of my sons said, "There you go Dad, you got Mom her Valentine's Gift in advance." It's good to have dry clothes, without the high-pitched squeak as it tumbles and to have all the button work, especially the "on" switch. I am grateful.
Do I hold that against him? Stewing because he forgot or didn’t bother? Withholding what he would like because I didn’t get anything?
I have no doubt my husband loves me, with or without a card, flowers or candy.
I don’t measure his love for me on whether he thinks to get me a card. He’s busy. (Not that he wouldn’t stop everything to buy me a card if I told him that was what I wanted.) I would rather have him come home sooner. He has no time at lunch to run errands. He leaves for work at 5:30 AM and returns at 6:30 PM. Do I want him to waste time buying a card when he could just come home? He comes home sooner. I appreciate that.

He knows I need to be told every day that he loves me. And he tells me. He knows I feel loved by words. He finds the right words that help me. No card or flower or candy can give me that feeling every day.
But nor do I expect what he cannot do. He cannot read my mind.

I tell him what I expect. I told him early in our marriage “Flowers just die.” (We were poor and he had just brought home a dozen yellow roses. I felt guilty he’d spent the money on me. But I did like them!)
He’s sent flowers other times. It makes those times even more special.

If you expect something from your husband, tell him. He does not read your mind. And the mind of a woman is deep and unexplainable, especially to a man trying to figure it out. Don’t make him guess and hope and stress.

If you don’t like dark chocolate, tell him, probably before he buys it, with gentleness and appreciation.

How do we celebrate Valentine’s Day if there’s no card or flowers or…?

One book, that we read before we were married, told that men are like a light switch. It takes nothing more than a moment and a look for the man to be ready for intimacy. Women are like an iron; they must warm up to the idea. Thus the romance of Valentine’s Day…the card, the flowers, the romantic dinner, the music…are all for the woman to lead to the romance.

Women must prepare mentally.
I must prepare my mind for my husband all day, maybe even several weeks since I had to buy for a special dinner. My iron was warm and was able to give more, even when I normally would have been too tired. It enabled me to give more intimately to my husband.
With toddlers, we schedule those intimate times. My husband would tell me any day that begins with a “T.” I’d think Tues, Thursday…He’d think Today, Tonight, Tomorrow and Tuesday and Thursday works, too. We had to work it out. (This counsel was shared by another couple and was helpful in eliminating expectations that couldn’t be met and frustrations because they weren’t met.) I’d be too tired all the time to think of night-time activity. So by scheduling certain days, I’d reserve some energy and my iron could be warm when his light switch went on.

Dwell on what you give, not on what you get. Prepare for what he likes. Man’s needs are pretty basic. They don’t need a card or flowers or candy. They can be reached through their stomach with a good meal and their woman content by their side.
I’ve said it before, but men appreciate their wives by their sides, even if you do or say nothing. Pretty basic. Very simple (except you must ignore your internal list of what you should be doing.) Sit with him while he watches TV. Watch while he works in the garage.
Try it.
Somehow they are inspired by your presence. Rather flattering, but not rationale. Maybe God gave them emotions, too!

Valentine’s Day is coming. How are you preparing for it?

How do you minimize the pressure to conform to the world's view of love?

I had to laugh at the "tire gifts," reminds me of one of our first Valentine's when Steve gave me a rock hammer. But we'd started going out to Death Valley and it was perfect for that. I actually rarely get anything for Valentine's Day, Steve prefers to get me gifts all through the year when it strikes him. And I'm with you, practical gifts are wonderful. One year it was a kitchen center to make my work lighter, which I felt was wonderfully thoughtful.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I really enjoyed reading this.

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Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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