by Dr. David and Janet Congo
Note: This post is the 1st in a series of posts building up to Valentine’s Day. Click HERE to read the other entries.
When I was a little girl, Valentine’s Day was a much anticipated day. It was a day to let my friends know how special they were to me and it was a day that made me feel valued and connected to others.
I’d make my valentines with such care. As an art project at school, we’d decorate a box or an envelope to hold the treasured cards. The teacher gave us a list of everyone’s name in our class, and instructed us to make a valentine for each classmate. The cost was minimal, the risk non-existent, and the anticipation was contagious. The big day would come, and we’d feel excited to give and thrilled to receive. Dave still remembers his delight when, in third grade, a cute little blond from another class managed to get a valentine into his box.
Over the years, as marriage and family therapists, we have witnessed another side to that day that causes us to pause and reconsider what Valentine’s has become for many married couples.
1. Couples get intentional about romance one day a year….Valentine’s Day. The assumption somehow whispers, “If I express love and romance on Valentine’s, then I’m off the hook for the rest of the year.”
2. Couples focus on the superficial. Flowers, chocolates, jewelry, lingerie, and gifts are delightful to receive if the giver is someone of character.
● Chocolates without commitment lead to empty calories.
● Jewelry without joyfulness leads to an empty spirit.
● Lingerie without loyalty leads to an empty heart.
● Flowers without faithfulness lead to empty arms.
If the giver is devoid of character, all the superficial expressions of romance are reduced to forms of manipulation. Basically the person only gives to get!
3. Couples possess inequity of expectations. Many wives approach Valentine’s with a sense of entitlement. Often women expect men to be the romantic while ignoring the reality that men love to be surprised, reassured and romanced also. Many husbands approach Valentine’s with a sense of dread. When expectations are high, the potential for failure is also high.
4. Couples compare rather than have compassion. Both sexes compare their spouse’s actions or lack of them to their friend’s actions. That leaves husbands and wives relieved if their spouse came through but more often critical or envious if they didn’t. As a result many end up feeling condemned rather than connected, and attacked rather than attached. Let’s redeem Valentine’s Day.
Stay posted for our next Conscious Loving blog which has been designed to help you create some magical moments of your own.