On Friday, Febrary 13 my husband and I are babysitting our two grandkids to give our son and his wife a chance to go out to dinner. Our son arranged this well in advance. He is a wise man.
People have expectations on Valentines. If your sweetheart, or that someone special in your life, has an expectation then you don’t want to disappoint them.
Valentine’s Day, for the person who is trying to determine the expectations of the love of his (usually his) life, can feel like walking through a mine field.
There could be an explosion if you get it wrong, or, eery silence filled with trepidation.
I recently read an article called, The Valentine’s Day Grinch, that expresses some of wariness I feel about Valentine’s Day. In a previous, related article, Great Expectations, the author writes that, “To expect something suggests a sense of entitlement and this can often lead to disappointment.”
If you do get it right one year, the expectations change the next year. When it comes to Valentine’s Day there is no fool-proof formula for success.
I feel compassion for men anticipating Valentines Day, especially for the men who try and fail to please.
My husband refuses to buy into the commercialism that is Valentines. He refuses to “play the game,” I understand. But early in our marriage, as a young wife, I had expectations. And I was disappointed. There may even have been private tears.
From a man’s point of view, a date on a calendar should not dictate what he is to do in terms of demonstrating his love. In a sense he feels he is at war with the commercial advertising of chocolates, flowers, cute little stuffies and all other things heart-shaped and red-colored or glittering, that are luring him to part with his money, supposedly to show a woman his love. Not only does this commercialization of love drive him crazy but he has to navigate this field without any real help because a woman can’t give him a list of what she wants. That would ruin everything. She wants to be surprised.
There really ought to be a class: “Valentine’s Day for Dummies.”
Any other day of the year I am surprised and delighted when I receive flowers, a card, or an invitation to dinner at a restaurant. But Valentines creates an illusion. It is this personal visualization that sets a woman up for the possibility of disappointment.
Unless a guy is highly intuitive–and most are not–it is unlikely from the outset that he will get the response he wants for his efforts. You see, he too, has an expectation. He wants to be rewarded with at least a show of gratitude. He has, after all, invested time and money, even if it is out of obligation.
Admit it, Valentine’s Day is a pretty much a set-up for failure.
Is the solution to eliminate all expectations? That might help. On the other hand, there is nothing more satisfying than to have expectations and have someone exceed them.
Let’s be realistic about the chances of this happening, given the odds. It’s quite a long shot.
One thing Valentine’s does is create awareness. Awareness of what you might ask? Awareness of love? Awareness of our shortcomings?
For some it even raises the bar. You have to ascend to a new level of expression.
It essentially says, here is your chance. And that can be really intimidating.
Are you going to step up to the plate?
I remember plenty of times I struck out at baseball. But I loved the game. Sometimes I punted the ball. Once I made it to second base through no skill of my own. I never slammed a home run.
I think Valentines is more about being in the game than making that home run. It’s about doing something, anything.
So. Pick a day. Pick a time. Pick a token of love. Do it in February when you can take advantage of all the heart-shaped displays. Do so without being locked into “The Day.”
Maybe you will wow her or him! It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you are together and that you express your love, any way you choose.