Marriage is all about partnership, and often that involves compromising on things you don’t necessarily agree upon. One topic we hear couples discuss often is the dilemma they face when it comes to celebrating special occasions together, like Valentine’s Day or anniversaries.
You might get excited about the prospect of having a romantic experience together; sharing special affection and gifts may speak to you in a way it doesn’t to your spouse. On the other hand, your spouse might dread the looming celebration. The gap between expectation and reality can create uncomfortable friction between you as the big day approaches.
Special occasions like Valentine’s Day are loaded with specific expectations, and emotions can run high when a couple neglects to find a happy medium, year after year. The good news is, even if one of you is absolutely not excited about an upcoming special occasion, you can still work together to create a memorable experience. We’ll show you how.
If You Hate Valentine’s Day…
There are plenty of reasons why some people just don’t get excited about Valentine’s Day. Have you heard (or argued) these points before?
- “It’s just a commercial holiday created by card companies to make money.”
- “Why should I have to show you I love you on a specific day of the year? Can’t we just celebrate all year?”
- “I’m not giving you roses and chocolate, just because everyone else gets those.”
- “It makes single people feel miserable, so we shouldn’t rub it in.”
- “Valentine’s is just a competition to try to outdo everyone else on gifts.”
- “It’s too crowded and hectic to go on a date on Valentine’s Day because everyone is doing the same thing.”
Even if these arguments feel one hundred percent valid to you — and even if you can’t work up an ounce of enthusiasm over celebrating, you need to consider your spouse’s feelings. You don’t have to fake excitement; Valentine’s Day can be just another day to you. But it’s not “just another day” to your spouse.
How you feel about Valentine’s Day isn’t important; what is important is your spouse, and how you feel about him or her. Whatever you think about the day, it matters a lot to your spouse. And in this case, that means it’s time to put your spouse’s feelings before your own and celebrate for them because you love and feel strongly toward them.
It’s not about forcing yourself to fake excitement about the holiday itself. You’re not celebrating because you love the day; you’re celebrating your spouse because you know how deeply they will be impacted by your gesture of love.
Find joy in creating a moment or an experience that is a gift of love from you to your spouse — even if you don’t need Valentine’s Day as a special milestone for yourself. We give gifts and conjure up experiences for the ones we love to create another chapter in our story together as a couple. And you may find that the act brings up emotions and affection from deep inside you that may have been hidden from your spouse.
If Your Spouse Hates Valentine’s Day…
It can be difficult to convince your spouse to get on board with your idea of celebrating Valentine’s Day if he or she is just not interested. Maybe it means a lot to you, but you dread its approach every year because you know your spouse won’t be willing to fulfill your hopes or expectations for the day. Now, you’re just in an annual cycle of hoping for something special, then being disappointed when it doesn’t come.
Valentine’s Day isn’t exactly important to your spouse; because of this, he or she may genuinely not know what to do for you. If a Valentine’s celebration isn’t an emotional need for your spouse, it’s going to be difficult for him or her to understand, then orchestrate, a celebration that will make you happy.
We all want to be appreciated in ways we don’t have to ask for, but we also have different needs when it comes to receiving affection (take our Deep Love Assessment to learn more about one another) and often, those needs are mismatched between spouses. Sometimes, the solution to the Valentine’s dilemma may be as simple as telling your spouse exactly what you want. If you open the conversation, your spouse may even say, “Tell me what to do; I want you to enjoy this day.”
If you’re able to tell your spouse how you’d like to celebrate Valentine’s Day (or any other special occasion, for that matter), you can help him or her create something memorable. When your spouse knows exactly what you want, they’re more likely to show relief than resistance. Be willing to offer some coaching and direction so your spouse can help you celebrate a memorable holiday.