Today is a day I used to dread, a day of dizzying displays of pink, of hearts prolific everywhere, and romantic expectations so thick that it seemed I could never live up to them all. Even if you are single, something that is hard for me to imagine now with three wives, you cannot escape it. My son who is single and without even a girlfriend calls it Singles Awareness Day.
As a man I loathed the expectations that abound with the day. I used to say, “Who the heck is this Valentine guy anyway and what woman invented the day?” It seemed so one sided. I never felt like the women had the pressure on them to get gifts or plan romantic things for Valentines, it was always the men who had to buy the chocolates, plan the dinner or spend some copious amounts of money to signify his love to a woman. The same type of woman who, if she did not receive the right romantic expectation, would find her love fraught with insecurity and doubt.
Well, as it happens, Valentines is also right close to my Anniversary, (more on that later as Anniversaries seemed to have the same noose around a mans neck). This will be my 23rd anniversary to Alina and Vicki and as such I have certainly learned a few things about women and relationships and gained a healthy perspective about women that bears sharing this holiday. I learned to celebrate love everyday, and that Valentine’s day is a great reason to acknowledge it as such. It is a day for woman, and really there is nothing wrong with that. As such I have created a list of things to avoid for men. For women you will have to see if you agree and perhaps add to the list.
1) Don’t take the day lightly This is not just another day on the calendar. There is no way to avoid it so if you want to be happily married don’t ignore it. It does not mean you have to celebrate it on the day however, just acknowledge today and announce your plans for later. In fact, I recommend against it. I learned this with two wives at once. I couldn’t celebrate it at once and make them each feel special so I scheduled times on other days around the actual holiday. It is much less crowded at restaurants that way as well.
The key is to make every day a romantic day. Express your love often in multiple ways, perhaps a love note, a gift or a random bouquet of flowers. If you are frequent enough in your expressions of love, and let’s face it men never are, then perhaps you can get away with missing an “I love you” expression on the actual day. But for most of us: Don’t ignore the day!
2) Don’t buy lingerie This is not a bad gift for the woman to buy, but the wrong thing for a man to buy. Men tend to express their love too sexually anyway. Buying a gift that advertises that is a sure way to not put her in the mood. Think of it as her buying you a lawnmower for Father’s Day. We recently put on our Facebook page a questions about what gifts women most want, and you don’t see lingerie on there once, but there are some pretty good suggestions if you are wondering what to buy.
3) Don’t get married on that day I know it sounds romantic, but trust me, from someone who has an anniversary around the day, put it off until another time. It may be a great time to pop the question, but even then I would wait. You don’t want to find a hotel or restaurant or make your anniversary special on the same day the rest of the world is trying to do the same.
4) Don’t wait until last minute and if you do, make it look like you did not. Nothing says I am not romantic more than ‘I did not think of you until I was on the way home from work and heard the guys on sports radio talking about Valentines.’ If you find yourself in that situation skip the roses, they will be picked over. Get her something thoughtful, or tell her you have something special planned for another day, that you love her, and then get to planning that something very special!
5) Don’t stay in the box I have learned to personalize things. If I got all three of them flowers for example, they should all be different types of flowers and a unique note in all three. The same principle goes in a monogamous relationship. Get creative and make sure you personalize the experience. Go to the blood bank and donate on the day, followed up by a pledge of your heart. Don’t go to your favorite restaurant you always go to, try something different. Either way, make her feel special, because she is!
6) Don’t Use Marketing Cards We use Send Out Cards which is a great way to personalize your cards, but avoid the cheesy canned Hallmark expression of love. Nothing says I have a bland relationship like using someones words for your expressions of love. This goes for plagiarized poems off the internet. If she knows you she knows how you will best express your love, and something from your heart that evokes emotion is all a woman wants. Most men are too afraid to be vulnerable with their emotions. Open up your heart, not a card!
7) Don’t bring up the past Comparisons, good or bad, to the past is never a good idea on Valentines. Love is about having nothing in the space between you and another. Out of this nothingness love can be made and the possibility to create a beautiful memory exists. Don’t let the constraints of the past dictate your expression of love. There are few things worse than being in a romantic moment and bringing something up that ruins the mood. This day is about love, and love is about possibility.