What do you dread most about Valentine’s Day? The hearts everywhere? The crowded restaurants? Not being able to walk five feet without seeing another bouquet of roses? The big I LOVE YOU! cards brazenly displayed in your face? Being among sickeningly happy couples?
Valentine’s Day brings up a variety of emotions. Even those in happy relationships may loathe the expectations set by such a “special” day. Others who are not in relationships may still love the heart shaped candy and the sappy Hallmark movie specials. At any rate, it is safe to say Valentine’s Day is an emotionally-charged holiday.
Olive Garden is for… Lovers?
On one particular Valentine’s Day, Eric and I chose to brave the masses at Olive Garden. While I was sitting outside enjoying some fresh air and a break from the crowd, an unhappy twosome came bursting through the doors.
“I do not want to wait an hour to eat! I’m starving!” “Well, let’s go find somewhere else. We wouldn’t want you to pass out!”
I did not get a lovey-dovey feeling from those two and did not picture their evening ending with a chocolate fondue fountain and dancing in the living room. Maybe the rest of the night went well. Maybe they are still together. Maybe…
Expectations – Friend or Foe?
Expectations can be good. Good when they are maturely expressed, discussed, and both parties agree to honor them. Expectations can also be frustrating and dangerous. It is the desires we do not express yet expect our significant other to automatically know that lead to anger, tears, rolled eyes, and sometimes deep disappointment.
Valentine’s Day is one of those events that can lead to hurt feelings and disappointment because so many couples, especially early on in their relationships, have preset expectations as to what Valentine’s Day should bring.
“All my co-workers got flowers. All of them! Do you know how embarrassed I was not to get flowers? ~crying~” “I’m sorry. My dad never got my mom flowers. She thought they were a waste of money. He always cleaned the house for her and ordered her a pizza. She loved that! How was I supposed to know you wanted flowers?”
Though I am not as high maintenance as some, I do tend to expect a little extra attention on V-day. What woman does not love to be pampered at some level? To make him think I have no expectations would be dishonest, yet it seems wrong to say, “Eric, this year for Valentine’s Day I would like a white limo to pick me up in front of our house. I expect to find a dozen pink roses and a box of my favorite chocolates. A limo will drop me off downtown at twilight where you will be waiting with a big jewelry box and a horse-drawn carriage. Any questions?” (No, Eric. I am not requesting that!)
Perhaps the best time to discuss your thoughts on Valentine’s Day is June, August, or any month besides February. Talk about how your parents celebrated. What you like and do not like about their traditions. Share what Valentine’s Day means to you and discuss how you would enjoy celebrating it most years – a simple dinner and movie, stay home and eat takeout, enjoy a home cooked meal and board games after, etc. This is not to say your sweetie can never deviate from your ideal V-Day plan, but at least he or she can gain a better understanding how to make February 14th super special for you!
Let’s Change It Up!
One way to beat the Valentine’s Day blues and to bypass the possibility of not meeting each other’s expectations is to mutually agree to devote your Valentine’s Day to other people. Instead of doing something for each other you can do something with each other.
- Buy movie tickets or a gift card to a special restaurant for some friends who are enjoying their first Valentine’s Day together.
- Babysit for a couple with small children so they can enjoy a night out.
- Create goodie bags for all the children in your life and drive around passing them out.
- Buy flowers for the special women in your lives. Your mothers, grandmothers, or women from your church you have grown to admire.
- Pick up a group of ladies who have recently lost their husbands and take them out on the town. (Do not make this a surprise as they may need time to emotionally prepare.)
- Set up a beautiful background (at church, home, or your office) and offer to take free photos for couples. Or, charge a small amount and donate the proceeds to a favorite charity.
- Buy a few stuffed animals and pass them out to children who are going through a tough time. Maybe dealing with a parent in prison or a broken home.
- You can go to a high traffic area and pass out flowers or heart-shaped lollipops with gospel tracts attached and wish everyone a happy day. This could be the perfect opportunity to show God’s love.
- Stand side-by-side with your honey while working at the soup kitchen, adding extra hands to a building project, or creating gift bags for young mothers who need a helping hand.
- Have a game night at your place for all your friends – single or dating – with the theme not surrounding love and relationships, but fun and friends.
There are so many more ideas out there. Taking the focus off of your relationship and your “needs” this year will free you both from the burden of trying to create an unforgettable evening for each other. Instead, you will be a team working in tandem to bring blessings to someone who is hurting or discouraged.
If you still want to dote on your lady or gentleman this year, of course you can. Maybe on a different day or in your own special way as you share your V-day with others!
Are you excited!? I am! This Valentine’s Day may be the best one ever!!!
How will you and your sweetie take this Valentine’s Day to a whole new level?