In less than 48 hours, your Instagram feed is bound to be overflowing with humble-brags about significant others, coupled with photos of flowers, chocolates, smiles, and the occasional giant teddy bear. I’m mentally preparing myself for a flood of posts that start with, “Let me just brag on this guy for a minute”. (Which, for the record, is probably the quickest way to elicit groaning and resumed scrolling. It’s totally cool for you to love your significant other. Just say it. No humble-brag required.)
Don’t get me wrong, I love Valentine’s Day. It is also my Mom’s birthday, so it was always a special day for my family. My Dad would give me and my little sister cards and little gifts, and we would celebrate my Mom’s birthday (She just keeps turning 29! 😉 It’s magic!). We did the flowers and the chocolates and the decorations. It was my idea of a normal Valentine’s Day.
Then I started dating my husband. On our first Valentine’s Day together, he killed it. He took me to see Little Women (my favorite musical). I’m pretty sure he got me flowers and we went out to dinner. It was really great and I felt appreciated. My high expectations were met.
We were engaged and living in different states for our second Valentine’s Day together, and I unconsciously had higher expectations of my fiancé than I did of my boyfriend. (Especially after he did so much for the first year.) Ben was working at a church in Iowa, and couldn’t miss any Sunday morning services. I knew that, but as I thought about what he might do for Valentine’s Day, I had myself convinced that he was going to somehow get out of working Sunday morning, wake up really early, drive the five hours down to my school, and surprise me. There were probably going to be flowers and chocolates involved, because he was my fiancé, right? Wrong. There was no surprise visit on Sunday morning, no flowers magically delivered to my dorm, and no chocolate. I was so disappointed that I skipped church and sat at Starbucks by myself to mope (I’m not proud of that, but it’s what I did). As I sat there by myself, I couldn’t help but ask myself why I was so “upset”.
Had Ben done anything wrong? No.
Did he tell me he didn’t care about me? No.
Did he read my mind and carry out the very detailed, very unrealistic, and un-communicated expectations I placed on him? Oh… Huh. That’s interesting… Shoot.
I realized that I was only disappointed because he wasn’t living up to my un-communicated expectations.
That’s the root of all disappointment though, isn’t it? Unmet expectations. You wish for something, and then it doesn’t happen. You expect something from someone, and they don’t deliver. It’s very possible to communicate realistic and healthy expectations for how you would like someone to treat you, and when the communicated expectations are not met, you will experience a healthier kind of disappointment. It might still be selfish, but you communicated. This was not that.
My disappointment was so great because my un-communicated expectations were even greater.
I even remembered a conversation we had a week or so before where he said, “I know you’re coming up to visit the week after Valentine’s Day. We can do something to celebrate then!” Yeah… Did I remember that in my Sunday morning moping? No. Did Ben communicate his expectations for how we would celebrate the holiday? Yes. Did he live up to those communicated expectations? Of course he did, because he is wonderful. He took me out to dinner at my favorite restaurant and gave me flowers and then apologized for not visiting me when I told him how upset I was.
By that point, however, I had the realization that my selfishness, unrealistic expectations, and failure to communicate were to blame for my disappointment- not Ben. And what had I done to show my love for Ben in celebration of the holiday that was “so special to me”? Absolutely nothing. Not a single thing. No. Thing.
I learned a few things from my selfish-mope-fest, which I would like to share with you. If you, too, would like to have a disappointing Valentine’s Day, then take my advice and follow these easy steps.
How to Have a Disappointing Valentine’s Day
- Expect your partner to read your mind. Whatever you do, don’t communicate your desires to your partner. He should just know. And if he doesn’t know, he should be able to guess what your made-up, intricate, highly unrealistic plan is.
- If he asks you what you want to do, lie. If he says anything like, “Do you want to do anything for Valentine’s Day?” You should respond with something like, “Oh no. I’m not one of those girls that cares about that kind of thing.” Then go back to step number one and expect him to read your mind to know the truth.
- It’s all about you. Don’t even think about how you can express your love to your partner. This holiday is about you. Should you write your husband a letter telling him everything you love about him? No. Should you cook your partner’s favorite meal or ask how they would like to spend the day? Definitely not. And don’t waste your time communicating your gratitude and love for your partner. Just mope until they express their unending love for you. You are the real star.
- If you’re not in a relationship, just compare your Valentine’s Day to everyone else’s. Spend the day on social media, reading everyone’s humble-brags. It’s sure to remind you of how much you’re actually loved by God and so many other significant people in your life.
If you follow these simple steps, I can guarantee you’ll have a disappointing Valentine’s Day.
But if you, (like me) don’t have the desire to spend another year as a selfish and mopey mope-fest of a girlfriend/fiancée/wife, just do the opposite of the aforementioned steps and your Valentine’s Day should be a little less disappointing and a lot more enjoyable.
- Communicate your desires. Do you enjoy Valentine’s Day? Do you like all of the cheesy things like flowers and cards and chocolates? Tell your partner that. Tell him that it is special to you and you would feel really appreciated if you celebrated the holiday together.
- Be honest! It’s okay to enjoy celebrating holidays. It doesn’t mean you’re materialistic. I love celebrating all holidays. My husband and I are figuring out how to celebrate holidays together and are creating our “normal” for what each holiday will look like.
- Don’t be selfish. Where is the rule that Valentine’s Day is all about the woman? I’ve never seen it written down anywhere, but I know that my selfish and sinful self unconsciously believes that the day should be about me being loved. Think of a few creative ways to express selfless love for your significant other. What would make him feel loved and appreciated and known? Does he have a favorite meal or a favorite way to spend time together? What is his favorite thing to do? Do that! What is his love language? Think of a few ways you can go out of your way to love and celebrate your person this week.
- Don’t compare. Everyone celebrates differently. Some people go all out, and some won’t do anything. If you’re in a relationship, do what works for you and your partner and don’t compare your day to the people around you or on social media. If you’re not in a relationship, don’t worry about it! Throw a Galentine’s Day party with your best girlfriends and celebrate each other. Write letters to your loved ones telling them why you appreciate them. If you spend the day focusing on how you can love rather than how you want to be loved, you’ll be much more content.
I’ve learned so much about selfless love from my husband. He shows me selfless and sacrificial love on a daily basis, and I strive to be more like him as he becomes more like Jesus. I’ve got some fun ideas for how I want to celebrate and express my love for Ben this week, but he reads my blog so I’ll keep them to myself for now. 🙂 I hope this post will help you have a healthy mindset and attitude going into this week, and that you can benefit from the story of my selfishness.
Do you have any fun and creative ideas for celebrating your significant other? I shared a free printable yesterday in a post that would be easy to print off and give to your loved one!
Have a Happy Valentine’s Day! With so much love,
Featured Image Credit: Pinterest