My husband f-ed up Valentine’s Day -- again. He’s never gotten it right in the seven years we’ve been together. He just doesn’t think it through. I got a card, and we ate out at a place in the neighborhood we go to all the time. It was just another uneventful night, and I certainly didn’t feel special. How can I get him to nail it? He doesn’t have a clue.
Heather R. — Salt Lake City, UT
Valentine’s Day was on a Tuesday. How amazing did you expect it would be on the most mundane night of the week? The good restaurants were packed, noisy, and had prix fixe menus at inflated prices. Flowers were triple their normal cost, and the lines at the candy shops were out the door a full week in advance. Do you really need a spectacle from him on the most inconvenient day of the year? I hate to be the Grinch that stole Valentines Day, but I’d rather you feel loved and special every day, instead of one measly day.
But I hear you, sister. If you’re jonesing for some over-the-top displays of affection, my pro tip on how to get him to nail it is to give your husband an actual clue. He’s not a mind reader, and I’m guessing his colleagues don’t address him as “detective.” Don’t wait for him to catch a clue, find one, or get it all on his own – he won’t. You might say what could make you wildly happy, then shoot for realistic so he can accomplish it – otherwise, he will always and forever “fail” at this.
Telling your partner how to win with you isn’t magical, or even sexy. But it’s time we bust the myth that if someone loves you, they just know – they don’t. You have seven years of proof that what I say is true.
And let’s be real. Just between us, it’s not about a Tuesday in the middle of February, is it? I assert you don’t feel special the other 364 days. So when he doesn’t pony up on the big one, it breaks your heart. If this is the case, you have homework: Look in your relationship to see where he falls short. If you can pinpoint what’s happening, or more likely, what’s not happening, try using one of these two statements to talk it out:
“What I love that I want more of is ____.”
“What I’d like to receive from you is ____.”
Then follow up with the question, “Is there anything you need in order to give me what I’m asking for?”
After that, give him a turn with the same two statements.
When you’re both being appreciated, acknowledged and loved in language that works for you, you’ll feel special and adored every single day of the year, and you can leave Valentine’s Day to those who have something to prove.