I’d like to tell you a funny story.

I’d also like to share with you a few things I learned from that “funny” story.

Finally, I’d REALLY like your help settling a more than decade-long argument with my husband.

So let’s get started.

Allow me to take you back in time. The year is 2004. February of 2004, to be exact. I am a newlywed. A blushing bride, betrothed to my beloved for only six months. The newlywed phase is what we are in, and romance is at an all-time high. My very first Valentine’s Day as a married woman is approaching, and my little heart is all a-flutter, just envisioning all the ways my man is going to sweep my off my feet. (Never mind the fact that we have been together since we were 16, and although his strengths are many, “Casanova”  is not exactly his nickname. This doesn’t matter. I’m not living in reality-land at this point. I’m living in la-la land).

Actually, I’m living in Dallas, and I am very homesick for my family back in Austin. So, when my mom and dad tell me they are planning a trip to Dallas for Valentine’s weekend, my husband and I decide we will celebrate Valentines earlier in the week, in order to be able to spend the weekend with them. No problem. I’m ok being swept off my feet on Wednesday, versus Saturday. I’m nothing if not flexible.

Wednesday comes. It’s our “Valentine’s Day”. We decide we will go out for a “fancy dinner” somewhere. Keep in mind, we are 22 years old. We are children! I’m still finishing up school. We are poor. We eat hamburger helper a lot. A “fancy dinner” has the potential to sweep me off my feet. If he plays his cards right.

Alas, we both get off work later than planned that day, we are STARVING, neither of us feels like getting dressed up, and the fact of the matter is, Chuy’s sounds freaking delicious. So in a moment of creamy-jalapeno fueled weakness, I lower my romance bar (a lot) and agree to Valentine’s dinner at Chuy’s. We go. We drink creamy jalapeno with straws. We have fun. We go home. “Valentine’s Day” is over. In my husband’s mind.

Come on, now.

I know we SAID that that was our Valentine’s Day, but of COURSE it isn’t. And he surely must know that, too.

The next day, I get a call from my parents. They aren’t coming to visit us anymore this weekend. No real explanation is provided. But I know the explanation.The EXPLANATION, of course, is that Casanova is taking me away somewhere for the weekend. Way to step up your game, babe. Make me THINK enchiladas and greasy chips are all that’s in store for me, when REALLY we’re boarding a plane Saturday morning! Love it.

Saturday morning comes. The REAL Valentine’s Day. Forget all that Chuy’s crap. Let’s get on with the excitement and romance of TODAY. So we wake up. I wriggle my way out of our snuggle, open my nightstand drawer, and present him with his card and gift. I mean, it’s not much, compared to the plane tickets he is about to reveal to me, but at least I thought to get him his favorite candy, and write a sweet card. So I present that to him, and he presents me with…..a blank stare. Actually, more like a terrified stare. “I…uh…..thought that we….uh…..kind of already did Valentine’s Day on Wednesday.” Ha! Puh-leeze. Maybe if he’d had a card. A single rose. SOMETHING. Maybe then I would have accepted reality…and realized that no grand gesture was in store for me that day. But the fact that there was NOTHING….well, no husband would be that dense. Therefore,  my original theory must be true, and he must have something up his sleeve.

And that is the theory…the assumption..that I operated under all the way until about noon that day…when my husband’s college roommate showed up at our front door to shoot hoops with him, or some such nonsense. So as not to be too wordy, I will sum up the rest of the day in bullet point format:

  • there really was no trip
  • there also really was no card, no flowers, no chocolate, no NOTHING
  • there WAS a college roommate, who, due to a crazy ice storm that day, got iced in our apartment all day with us
  • the ice outside was nothing compared to the ice inside
  • we each spoke to the roommate all day, we never once spoke to each other
  • to this day, I think the man is completely insane for not acknowledging Valentine’s Day ON Valentine’s Day, as anyone with half a clue would do
  • to this day, HE believes that when two parties settle on Chuy’s as their Valentine’s Day celebration, both parties should remain satisfied with that, and not expect something more. Not anything more at all. Not even a card. On their first married Valentine’s Day.

I’m super curious to hear who YOU agree with (care to comment below?), but first (and in all seriousness) a few lessons my girlish self learned that day, that I’ve carried with me ever since:

  1. Communication is pretty key. Communicating about expectations is just about the very best and most healthy thing you could ever do in your relationships. Turns out men aren’t mind-readers.
  2. Everyone shows love different ways. I spent that whole icy day, glaring at both of the men in our tiny apartment, and stewing to myself, “a man that doesn’t even get his wife a card for Valentine’s Day is a man that clearly does not love his wife at all.”  What I have come to realize in the 12 years since then is this: My husband is not good at Valentine’s Day. He’s not great at anniversaries either. He’s not a giver of flowers. He doesn’t write mushy posts to me on Facebook. He’s just as likely today to take me to Chuy’s for Valentine’s Day as he was back then, only these days, we’d probably not even bother GOING to Chuy’s, we would just get it to-go, and eat it at home after the kids were asleep. But….he’s every bit as affectionate towards me as he was when we first started dating. He’s chivalrous. He still opens my car door for me, almost every single time. He texts and calls me during the day to see how I am, and asks if I need anything. He tells me almost daily how much he appreciates me. He notices when the kids have dragged me to my breaking point, and sends me off for a few days of pampering. If we’re at a party, he makes my plate and my drink for me, before making his own. He values and seeks out my input. I could go on and on. The point is, don’t be too hard on your men if they, like my man, SUCK at Valentine’s Day. Try to remind yourself of all the things they ARE good at.
  3. Valentine’s Day is maybe, just MAYBE, a wee bit lame, anyway. I know it sounds like the kind of thing only a man, or a bitter woman would say, but….it IS kind of just a day Hallmark created anyway, right? There is some truth to that, there really is. And my husband is REALLY glad I see things more his way now.

Alright. Hope you’ve enjoyed my tale of sorrow.  Now….settle the score for us, and comment below!



  1. After 38 going on 39 years we now go out a few days before or after Valentines Day cause I hate overpaying for a preset meal and having preset cattle calls for my reservation. He sends flowers cause I only get flowers for three holidays- Mothers Day, Birthday, and Valentine’s Day. What I’m saying is-it sounds like he’s a good guy and takes care of the important things so do what I do and revel in the 364 days a year that he is perfect and if you want something, tell him. If you’re lucky, you have a daughter and one day she will go shopping with you and make a list (mine takes phone pictures) and either take dad shopping or when she gets older and has a credit card she will shop for him. Good luck.

  2. I had to sit my husband down and have a chat with him about how, on days such as Valentine’s Day, our anniversary, Mother’s Day, and my birthday, I expect some sort of acknowledgement of my place in his life and heart. He’s a wonderful husband year-round, but I also like a little special something for a special day. He tried to suggest that I’m materialistic, but I don’t need candy, flowers, jewelry, or fancy dinners. A handwritten note would be amazing! Breakfast in bed and some flowers picked from the yard would be divine. Just acknowledge me in some way!

    Five years of suggestions haven’t improved much. Now he’ll just wait until the day of and tell me he needs to go to to the store to get something for me and comes home with a card and some half-dead flowers. It’s an improvement, but I feel like he’s making it obvious that he considers it a chore he has to do to stay on my good side instead of a gesture from the heart.

  3. First and foremost I would have to say that AT THE TIME of the V-Day event, if it would have been me, I would agree with how you felt and done the same. But knowing what I know now being married 8 years now, your husband was right to assume V-day was done. All laughs now though, right?! It’s funny because my husband and I are the exact same way as you two are. My husband doesn’t even celebrate V-day at all as he feels it’s a made up holiday. I’ve learned to accept that and don’t expect a change. Especially because all year, throughout the year he spoils me. Through kind gestures, texts, calls, random date nights, etc….He doesn’t need a particular day to show me, he and I do it all the time. I love that you shared this with us and I know that at the start of a new relationship and/or marriage, you and I, and so many other women, fell or felt the same. We have to learn our spouses and know who they are. Reading this and many of your other blog posts, I can see that you and your husband do have a strong and healthy relationship and probably laugh about this to this day. Thank you for sharing!

  4. My husband and I still have this conversation about a Valentine’s Day we had 16 years ago. (We got married in 1999). We laugh about it and I realize that I just have to be very clear about my expectations. We do need to focus on the things we love about our spouses and get over any areas of shortcomings. We of course are not perfect ourselves.

  5. I agree with Anonymous towards Tristan’s comment. Haley, you are a fabulous writer and the reason I get through the day sometimes! Thanks for being such a fresh and realistic outlook on the every day lives of moms!

  6. I agree with Tristan to an extent. Men aren’t mind readers and oftentimes they don’t understand why most women get so wrapped up in this stupid Hallmark holiday. They’ve been trained, or it’s been engrained in their head, to “show her you love her with candy, flowers, jewelry, a getaway, etc”. If you take a poll, most guys will tell you they don’t get why VD exists, especially if they show you on a daily basis how much they love and appreciate you. It’s pressure from society to make a big deal out of VD.

    To me, that is incredibly cheesy and absolutely ridiculous. I’m not bitter in any way, but I despise that “holiday”. Why put that kind of pressure on a guy and expect him to bend over backwards, shell out tons of money on crap that’s marked up ONLY for that day, just to “show you he loves you”? In my opinion, if you need a “holiday” for that then you have some seriously skewed views on life. Especially if you’re requesting your readers to “settle a ten year old argument”. Just drop it. I think you’re still living in fantasy land. It seems like you expect him to be a knight in shining armor who treats you like the pretentious princess you come off as, and he’s expected to put you on a pedestal every day of your life- not just on VD.

    You nailed it on the head- COMMUNICATION IS KEY! If you feel the need to be swept off your feet on that particular day then you need to make him aware of this upfront. Don’t have some grand fantasy land idea in your head and expect him to construct it without even one word of input from you, and then get upset over it when he isn’t the Casanova you dreamt of. If he shows you on a daily basis or at random times how much he loves and appreciates you, not only are you lucky BUT I’d hope you take more pride in that than the forced day that they feel pressured to go out of their way and make it a contest for their women- who got more gifts, who’s bouquet was bigger/more expensive, how much did he spend overall to woo you. I’d rather be appreciated at random, when it’s on their terms, than appreciated when it’s expected. Much like an apology- if it’s forced it doesn’t mean crap, but if it’s from the heart and without coaxing then you know it’s genuine.

    I’m just curious- how many women (specifically those that expect so much and put an inordinate amount of pressure on guys to become a magician with all these tricks up their sleeves) do the same for their guys on VD? *OR* how many women then flip the table and go above and beyond on Sweetest Day in October and show your significant other the same dizzying amount of romance and fake adoration?

  7. I told him two weeks ago I had a present for him and it didn’t mean he had to get one for me but just so he doesn’t feel cheap to not get me anything when I offer him a silver chain. He arrivé late from work, didn’t have time to eat in all day so we end up in a last minute restaurant style fast food, but it’s ok we have the traditional chocolate fondue coming later. I am 6 month pregnant, super sensitive, tell him that I would like to talk about something else than his work. He drinks on his own. I go take a shower, I get out he is on a phone call. I go in the bed room, he left!? Went to his brother drinking!? Worst Valentine’s Day ever.


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