Okay, so this post is primarily to the young wives out there. (Hopefully, you seasoned marrieds already know all about this.) What I have to say may sound radical. It may sound grossly unromantic. It might just shatter every last glimmer of poetic idealism you possess. Okay, I hope not. But here goes.
In the movies, the romantic leading man (picture your favorite hunky actor here) always knows just the right thing to sweep his lady off her feet. He would never let a February 14th slip by without some swoon-inducing surprise, or at least the obligatory box of chocolates. He would know to call a baby-sitter, exactly where to call for reservations, what special meal to order, and the perfect pair of earrings to have the maître d hide in the dessert. He would show up from work dressed to the nines with your favorite flowers. He would hold the door as you step into the car (well, okay, that’s just good manners, let’s hope every man does do that), and when you got home, your bed would be strewn with rose petals in your favorite hue.
Le sigh! Le swoon!
But, chick flicks and romance novels be darned! For the vast majority of us, that just isn’t the way the world works. We may dream of spontaneity, but the honest truth is that all that the only thing all that dreaming is likely to get most of us is a whole lot of disappointment and a husband who is genuinely sorry that he cannot measure up to our ideals.
So, there are three options:
- We can let our poor husband know year in and year out just how much they have fallen short of producing the romantic night of our dreams. (Let’s hope we all pass on this one.)
- We can stiff-upper-lip it and hide the disappointment we feel year in and year out. (While I commend the wife who wants to build her husband up rather than tear him down, there’s really no need to be a perpetual martyr in this. Year one, suck it up. Year two: see option #3)
- Take your dream into your own hands and make it a reality!
This may sound radical, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with planning your own Valentine’s Day, ladies. We are talented, resourceful, modern women, and we are every bit as good at planning a romantic evening as our better halves. It doesn’t mean that we’re usurping our husbands’ leadership to plan a dinner date. And, it doesn’t mean that our husbands have somehow failed by not doing it themselves. Most likely, if you have a husband who fails to plan these sorts of things—or scrambles to do something—anything—at the last minute and it never turns out quite right—it probably just means that he wants to please you and simply doesn’t know how. He may not have had a very good example growing up, or he may worry that simply copying your favorite movie is an insincere cop-out. So, throw him a bone! Let him know what you want. Or, surprise him with a romantic night that you will both love.
Do you enjoy eating out? Well, then budget for a fancy dinner, call your favorite restaurant, and phone the baby-sitter. Do you love flowers? Tell him (don’t hint—tell him) what you would like. (Now that he knows, he might even be able to pull this one off himself next year.) Do you want him to dress up? Lay out his suit and tie for him. Do you want a special gift? Call the store to make sure it’s in stock and let him know about it! Don’t forget what he loves, too. Cook his favorite meal, wear that perfume you know he loves, clean the bedroom, light some candles, and slip something sexy on under that dinner dress.
Remember, just because your man does not take the initiative to make dinner reservations does not mean he doesn’t care about you.
Just because your husband may not know the perfect gift to make your eyes light up does not mean he doesn’t care about you.
Just because your beloved doesn’t bring you a dozen long-stemmed roses (say it with me!) does not mean he doesn’t care about you.
Now that said, if your husband loves nothing better than planning a wonderful, surprise romantic evening for you complete with champagne and roses, then by all means, count yourself blessed, sit back, and enjoy the surprise! For everyone else, don’t be jealous of these women. They did not necessarily get a better deal than you. Romantic initiative, while an incredible perk, does not the perfect husband make. Think about why your husband is exactly right for you, why he is the best man you know, and why you have every reason to fall more in love with him right now than ever. Then, dream big, roll up your sleeves, and get ready to pull out all the stops!