Usually, this time of year I write about what to give your spouse for Valentine’s Day. If you’re only looking for that advice, visit my roundup of previous Valentine’s posts here.
But sometimes to do the right thing, we need to know what not to do. Thus, all those Thou Shalt Nots in the Ten Commandments. So let’s talk about six things you might have given, but you won’t now that I’ve warned you!
1. Unvoiced Expectations
You’re expecting something special from your spouse this Valentine’s Day. After all, it’s the lovers holiday! So of course, he knows how important this is. And if he’s been paying attention at all, he must have picked up on your hints about what you want.
When Valentine’s Day arrives, you suddenly realize he has no such plans. He bought nothing, he has no date plans, and the card he purchased was a standard greeting that doesn’t begin to express your unique connection.
Look, your husband may genuinely be a clod, but more often I see husbands, and sometimes wives, who honestly didn’t know what their spouse wanted because the expectations were never laid out.
If this holiday matters to you, tell your spouse and tell them why. If they—like I once did—rant about V-Day being a ruse concocted by greeting card companies, florists, and chocolate makers, let them air out their opinion. Then at the end, say, “I can see your point, but to me, it’s a chance to show each other love. It’s just a day on the calendar, but I still want you to honor me with a gift.” Or something like that.
Don’t stay silent about your expectations—voice them!
- “February 14 is coming up.”
- “It’s Valentine’s Day this week.”
- “You do have my gift, right?”
- “I hope this year’s present is something I actually want.”
It’s okay to remind your beloved that Valentine’s Day is only days away. But if mention it over and over and over, those reminders become like nibbles, gnawing away at your spouse’s independent desire to do anything for this holiday.
The day begins to feel like an obligation instead of an opportunity, and the burden of your expectations can weigh them down until they’re unsure they can meet them. The holiday can seem like so much to you that nothing short of an event that goes viral on social media will do. “Oh my gosh, did you see what Bob did for his wife?! Wasn’t it perfect?”
Poor everyone-not-named-Bob. They can’t compete with that! And honestly, we shouldn’t nag our spouses for it. Lighten up and let your spouse enjoy this holiday too.
3. The Gift You Want Them to Have
Let’s presume a scenario in which she asked for a certain patio table, and you got her the one that’s “better” because it matches the features you thought she should have. Never mind that she had been periodically wandering through Lowe’s and Home Depot for the last two years sitting at patio tables and finally found and asked for the perfect one. Because yeah, the table you got her was beautiful and twice as expensive. (Someone reading this right now recognizes this story. ~grin~ Love you, Spock!)
But this setup happens for others: a spouse asks for something, and the other decides to get something else. Now it’s true that you might get points for buying a higher quality version of something than your spouse asked for, since many people feel bad about asking for more than the bare minimum. Sometimes, however, you’re just substituting your opinion for theirs.
If your spouse has asked for a specific gift for Valentine’s Day, you can follow up by inquiring why they want that particular item. Let them express how they made their decision, and then you can decide whether to vary from their request or stick with it. If they have a particular preference, honor that.
4. A Surprise When Your Spouse Hates Surprises
I admit to being wowed by stories of a husband planning a getaway weekend and whisking his wife away to some gorgeous destination with barely any notice. Such a surprise usually requires advance planning, conspiring with family members or friends, and attention to presentation. It all sounds so…romantic!
But I have friends who would hate that—genuinely hate it. “Whisked away” would be “yanked away,” and “barely any notice” would be “no consideration for my schedule.” Even “conspiring with family members and friends” would be “why didn’t anyone tell me so I could prepare???”
Look, your desire to surprise them really comes from a great place of wanting to show love! But it’s showing love the way you’d like to receive it, instead of tailoring such expressions to what meets your spouse’s emotional needs.
Just remember that a surprise for some is like this:
And a surprise for others is like this:
Know which one your spouse is, and plan your Valentine’s Day accordingly.
5. Super Sexpectations
Let me clarify first: I’m a fan of sex on Valentine’s Day! Though, to be fair, I’m a fan of sex on any day that ends with y. Still, it’s nice to celebrate the holiday of romantic love by savoring physical intimacy with your spouse.
However, we can get so wrapped up in making holiday sex a spectacular event that must exceed other sexual experiences. We believe this time:
- the wife must wear that special red teddy you got her
- the husband must properly prepare the bedroom for lovemaking
- the lovemaking must be as choreographed as an Oscar movie sex scene
- the orgasms must be earth-shattering
Again, not opposed to any of that! If your orgasm shatters the earth, good for you. High-five.
But what if your spouse isn’t on board with all of that? What if your kid gets sick that day? What if her lubrication or his erection just doesn’t cooperate with it being February 14?
Go ahead and pursue sexual intimacy on Valentine’s Day—and make sure you voice that desire—but emphasize intimacy. If you came closer together on that day, it’s a win, for you, for marriage, for love.Go ahead and pursue sexual intimacy on Valentine's Day—and make sure you voice that desire—but emphasize intimacy. #marriage #Christiansex @hotholyhumorous Click To Tweet
You know this day matters to your spouse, or you think it might, but you don’t even acknowledge it. You don’t buy her anything. You don’t do anything for him. You don’t show extra affection or make time for a sexual encounter. You treat it like any other day. Ouch.
I recently tweeted this:
If you haven’t figured out yet how to celebrate, get with it! It’s day’s away! I have a bunch of posts with ideas that you can access here, and I’m hardly the only marriage website giving out ideas for Valentine’s!
If it matters to your spouse, don’t let the day pass with recognition. Use this opportunity to selflessly demonstrate love your mate.