At the beginning of our marriage, I think my attitude was typical. Though I loved doing something special for my husband, the real excitement was: What was he going to do for me?
The first couple of Valentine’s Days came and went and, though we did do something to celebrate, the dates we went on didn’t feel like anything out of the ordinary. So one year before we had kids I asked if I could plan Valentine’s Day. I spent days planning, and I worked hard all day until Jason got home. I prepared a romantic meal for us and then had an evening planned full of games and surprises for him. It was so much fun.
Honestly, it took years for me to realize how selfish it was of me to be, at times, unhappy with his efforts in celebrations. I was inclined to believe that if he didn’t do certain things or behave a certain way, then he didn’t REALLY love me. My focus was wrong. The real question should have been, “What does my love for him look like?” And when I compared it to I Corinthians 13, it was I who needed the work. So I set out on a deliberate road to find my contentment in the Lord, to let go of all those expectations, and to be happy with whatever he did do and not be unhappy for what I found lacking. Let me just tell you, this has been so freeing for both of us!
So while my husband doesn’t really enjoy planning and preparing for Valentine’s Day, I love it. It is a way for me to show God’s love to my family. The activities, treats, and meals are things I can do for them to show them how special they are to me. Taking the focus off of myself and placing it on what I can do for others–that’s God’s way, and it brings real joy.
Does all this mean that I don’t ever struggle with wishing my husband would do things for me? I wish I could say yes, but it is something I still have to battle with.
Does this mean that he’s off the hook? No, it certainly doesn’t. What? You may ask. The thing is, for me to be working on being selfless does not give him the license to live selfishly. He is responsible to God for loving his wife–that would be me! (Now, if you’ve read my blog before, you know that Jason has done lots of special things for me!) But if my focus is right, then even if my husband were to live selfishly, I could still be content and joyfully do things for him. And let me also insert here that it’s not just women that have expectations on Valentine’s Day.
So if you are not a big fan of Valentine’s Day or always feel disappointed, my advice is, don’t pretend it doesn’t exist. Use it as an opportunity to show love for others without expecting anything in return. The joy you find may just surprise you!