IN THIS TOGETHER ◽ MARRIAGE
Ah, February…the month of love. Every store front from the Dollar Tree to the doctor’s office is filled with hearts and flying babies sporting their weapon of choice.
I hate Valentine’s Day. HATE IT! Seriously.
And that leads us to our useless info of the day portion of this show. Did you know that Valentine’s Day stemmed from a Roman festival to celebrate the beginning of spring, honor the god of agriculture and fertility by pairing off women whom the men had won by lottery? Super romantic, right? Funny enough, that’s not where my loveless relationship with this holiday begins. And before I delve into why I’m a love day scrooge, let me just say that if you love love and love this day then I will pray it rains down glitter and heart shaped balloons on you and brings you joy. You do you!
Also, full disclosure, I totally fill my kids’ valentine morning with love notes about how special they are, all the candy, and all the stuff. Yes, every year. One year I even added a new sticky note to their door every single February day with something that I love about them. All the mush and sap. My husband gets a kiss and a reminder to take out the trash (I’m mostly kidding.)
When I was younger, I was completely caught up in the mania. In school it always felt like some kind of competition to see who got the most cards and candy and flowers, which obviously meant they were the most loved. As an adult, I realized that, to me anyway, it felt like the same popularity contest just on a more expensive scale. I felt myself basing my value and worth on some forced grand romantic gesture…and I created unrealistic expectations of my poor, unsuspecting husband, who just thought I’d like a food processor! (Actually, I really did love the food processor, and I had tossed all my roses and candlelit dinner plans out the window many years before).
Not that the cards and the words and the romance isn’t nice. It is. And I love it any and every other time of year. But I decided that in my marriage, I didn’t want a designated day of the year that forced us to put on a show. I wanted to think about my husband on a random Tuesday and grab his favorite candy bar on the way home.
My favorite days are ones that aren’t planned, and to anyone else, they don’t look like anything special. They aren’t filled with candy and champagne and fancy dinners (unless candy, champagne and fancy dinners are available for delivery!) The days I feel the most loved are when I get a text from my husband in the middle of the day just to say I love you, or when he puts on a TV show that he knows I like instead of ESPN. Just the other night, we kicked the kids out (no one panic…they just went upstairs where there is more than enough entertainment) and watched a movie together on the couch. We laughed until we cried, and then we watched the gag reel and laughed some more. There wasn’t anything special about our evening. But laughing together was like a huge sigh of relief. In fact, it made my whole week. It’s what works for us.
I would pick staying home in stretchy pants with take-out over a night on the town 10 times out of 10. I have friends who itch to get out and ditch the kids and live big. They put on their dancing shoes and party like it’s 1999. We like to party until around 9pm or so…with an obscene amount of carbs and ice cream. I’ve both dined out on Valentine’s Day and served people who did. I’ve eaten a multi-course dinner and also driven through McDonalds. We’ve run the gauntlet with this mandated date night.
However, I’m most content, and feel the most connected, not on a big manufactured holiday, filled with red and pink and (shudder) glitter. I feel most connected in our moments together that look and seem simple. I no longer base my value or worth as a woman, wife, lover on what happens one day during the year.
Because it’s just that….one single day.
I would rather a hundred small moments than one big grand gesture. I’ll take a sticky note on the mirror over a store bought card (I mean, I still really love a good card, but they cost as much as a #4 at Whataburger, so, priorities). And if the big hoorah is what makes you feel connected, then go big or go home (where I’ll be). Just make sure those moments don’t define how you gauge your relationship. All of the little moments add up to a great big love and a great big life.
“What we do every day matters more than what we do once in a while.” John Gottman