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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!