Making Love the Gift

I hope all of you had a terrific Valentine’s Day.

I love the idea of Valentine’s Day. I love the idea of a day set aside for love, a day to celebrate love. A successful relationship is something to celebrate!

Unfortunately, the idea of Valentine’s Day doesn’t match up with the reality of it.

It seems to me that Valentine’s Day should perhaps be renamed to be Husband Test Day, or Wife’s Gift Day, or Husbands Prove Their Love to Their Wives Day, or Husbands Reveal What Shitty Gift Givers They Are Day. (Sorry Ladies!) Before you protest, please let me explain.

I led a focus group of three men (let me assure you, I use a very scientific method; we sit around with some beers for a few hours). One man was my husband Steve, one was Cary who’s been married for 30 years, and one was Brad, 24, who is not currently in a relationship, but has been in a few of the serious type as he puts it. I asked them some questions.

Do you like Valentine’s Day?

Steve: Sure
Cary: It’s really for the women
Brad: Its o.k.

Do you usually get a gift?

Steve: Yes
Cary: Always – at least a card.
Brad: Yes, when I’m dating someone.

Do you think about or anticipate what your wife is going to get you?

Steve: No
Cary: Yes
Brad (from here on, insert “past girlfriend” for “wife”): No

Steve to Cary: You think about what she’s going to get for you?

Cary: Oh, no, no, I thought you asked if I thought about what to get her. No, of course I don’t think about what she’ll give me. Why would I?

Are you ever disappointed by what your wife gives you?

Steve: No
Cary: No
Brad: No

Do you ever talk with your buddies about what your wife got you for Valentine’s Day?

They all looked at me like I was crazy. Brad laughed.

MMMmmmmm. I would bet that most of you know where I’m going with this. SO, why would the answers be so different if I were asking women?

Why is it so important to us what we get from our husbands? Why do we set them up, in our minds and hearts, so that they are just as likely to fail to live up to our expectations as to succeed? Why do we need this? Why do we make what we get from them more important than what they feel for us?

Look, I’m not knocking gifts here. And I’m not saying that we don’t deserve to be showered with them. In fact, I think it’s a great idea for our husbands to send flowers to us throughout the year on days that aren’t even special, and to bring home gifts just because…..

The problem here is that evil word: expectation. This word really can get a marriage into trouble, and specifically in this case, can lead to a Valentine’s Day filled with disappointment. We are not only setting our husbands up, but we are also setting ourselves up.

Our society sets us up, too! “When you care enough to send the very best” says it all, doesn’t it? Plainly, our husbands must not care enough if they don’t send the very best. This message has been shoved down our throats since we were very young girls.

Don’t we really just want to know and feel that we are truly cherished by our mate? I say, let’s try to get there some other way than by consumerism.

In fact, let’s just get back to the basics of Valentine’s Day: The celebration of love. Next year (or heck, next week…why wait?), talk to your husband and plan to have the day filled with only kindness and passion toward each other (i.e. all “issues” will be put aside). Maybe buy a journal and both of you write 10 things in it that you love about the other. You could make each other a card. Definitely take time to make out (see blog “Kissing Advisory”) Set aside an hour devoted to talking about when you first met, your first kiss, the first time you made love. You get the idea. In fact, I bet a lot of you have great ideas; if so, please leave them in the comment section here and next year, before VDay, I will list them.

Most important: ALLOW GIFTS TO BE ICING ON THE CAKE. And if he gets you something that you aren’t crazy about, you know what, that’s o.k., he probably thought it was cute, or romantic or something, don’t burst his bubble, it’s not worth it.

This concludes another view from my married life.