Want a Valentine's Day you'll both love? Here's an idea for him AND you.
For many men, Valentine's Day is an absolute nightmare. This should come as no surprise. There's a lot of pressure for us to do things we typically aren't that good at: being sweet and thoughtful, acting lovey-dovey, and making it seem like we're sensitive. Many of us resent that it's a trumped-up holiday, and that restaurants and florists jack up their prices since they know they've got us over a barrel. Plus we're always hearing about some other guy who took his girlfriend horseback-riding on the beach in Aruba, so we always feel crappy if we're the Average Joe who only brought home a last-minute box of bon bons. The Busy Person's Guide To Romance
But, like most things in life, Valentine's Day can have some good among all the crud. You just have to go about it right.
For men, it's really just about understanding that women are going to compare notes with each other on what their boyfriends and husbands did for V-Day so it's a great opportunity for us to make our gals feel extra special and cash in on all the brownie points — if you're the kind of guy who's good at that kind of thing (hint: horseback riding in Aruba).
But say you're one of those women who isn't attached to Mr. Symbolism (and we might talk about that next week); what can you do to help him give you a Valentine's Day you can brag about?
In my view, women should start by preemptively undoing the pressure of Valentine's Day; take the day itself and how much it might mean to you off the table and instead give it a completely different angle. Don't hope that he takes you to the fancy French restaurant that filled all its February 14th reservations in mid-January. Instead, tell him you already have a plan: You want to go there on the thirteenth and, on the fourteenth proper, you're going to stay home, order pizza and watch the Godfather series — or whatever your man would love (and that you wouldn't mind).
What this does is take away whatever resentment he might feel toward the day and keep him from thinking that it's a battle of the sexes showdown.
As to your friends at work, they don't need to know when it happened, just that it did. The morning of the fifteenth, you tell them, "Oh, he took me to Jean Pierre's. Then gave me a backrub. And we made love on and off by candlelight the rest of the evening."
By making Valentine's Day about both of you, you help him want to make it about you. And wouldn't you rather your man show you his feelings because he really feels them, not because it's a day on the calendar that Hallmark decided to call important?
It's easy to be happy with someone when you're feeling good about life. But what about when you're not doing so well? Do you want to see him when you've been denied a raise, or your cat died or you had a plain old bad day? He should be a comfort during tough times, not a burden.
You don't want to change the essence of who he is. There may be stuff that irritates you in everyday life—he insists on wearing his favorite, holey T-shirt, he eats sugar cereal for dinner, he still watches Saturday morning cartoons—but you like him, plain and simple.
If you do have crucial differences that will impact your future together—different opinions about religion, money or something else—you want to work them out with him, and you believe you can come to a conclusion that will satisfy both of you.
Sometimes it's that easy. You feel like he understands some essential part of you that you can't explain or articulate. It's a warm, comfortable feeling—and one you should have with the person you marry.