Why It’s OK to Take A Pass on Valentine’s Day
Ah, Valentine’s Day. Unlike Thanksgiving, which is universally loved, this Hallmark holiday is definitely a love-it or hate-it kind of day. From the red cellophane wrapped heart-shaped boxes of candy to the flowers to the hard-to-get and overpriced dinner reservations, Valentine’s Day is pricy and pressure-packed. Single? It can make you feel like an outcast. Newly together? It’s a damned if you do and damned if you don’t situation. Married? Inevitably one partner feels forgotten while the other feels obligated.
The sentiment, which really is about expressing love for the important person (or people) in your life, is a great one. So why limit it to just one day? We’re saying it’s fine to take a pass on the Valentine’s Day hoopla, as long as you celebrate the meaning behind it throughout the year.
Here are Five Ways You Can Feel the Love All Year Long
1. Be Honest.
Skipping Valentine’s Day has to be a joint decision, so definitely have a talk about it or you’ll be in the dog house. Have an honest conversation when you have time together (not when you’re running out the door to soccer practice) and see how the other person feels. If your spouse or significant other wants the pink-filled candies and the mushy candies, then so be it.
2. Be a Little Selfish.
No, we don’t mean the kind of selfish where you scarf down all of the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream without sharing. A recent New York Times article showed that the happiest married couples were those who were selfish in the sense that they refused to lose themselves completely in a relationship and, conversely, allowed the other to express themselves as individuals. In other words, it’s true love is not really about a date night escape, but rather about being respected and loved for your unique traits (all of them) and reciprocating. So if you’re married to someone who can’t see a snowflake without dreaming of ski lifts but you’re more of a hot chocolate in the lodge type, go along for the ride (and bring a book). You’ll be happier as a couple for it.
3. Play to the Other’s Strengths.
Our differences are often what make us so powerful as couples. But it can be easy to lose sight of that when her tendency to type-A cleanliness clashes with his inability to find and put clothes inside the hamper, rather than on top…or next to. Find ways to play to each other’s strengths. For example, assign chores on the basis of each other’s strengths. And when planning activities, let the creative one come up with a list of things to do (museum trips, a painting class, jazz concert), while the type-A one actually follows through on all of the details and bookings.
4. Pick a Card, Any Card.
Is there anything better than opening the mailbox and finding a fun piece of mail rather than the latest cell phone bill? Buy four cards that make you laugh (or cry) and send them throughout the year, rather than just the one day.
5. It’s a Numbers Game.
This is a game better for those who’ve been together longer, but surprise each other with a list according to the number of years you’ve been together. Married for five years? Give each other a list of five reasons why you love them or they are special.