by Stephanie Gonzalez
Valentine’s Day is just not my thing.
I understand that Valentine’s Day is a real holiday and not what people call a “Hallmark holiday”. Some quick research into Valentine’s Day shows it started in the 5th century and, in my opinion, is a much better option than the festival it replaced, Lupercalia . But still, Valentine’s Day is not my thing.
Years ago, a well-meaning friend asked me to explain why my husband and I don’t spend a lot of time and thought celebrating Valentine’s Day. She seemed concerned. What amused me about her reaction was she assumed we were not paying enough attention to our marriage. I can just imagine how the scenario played out in her mind.
Couple Ignores Valentine’s Day and Marriage Plummets to All Time Low
I laughed hard at her reaction. We put a lot of time into our marriage then, and still do 17 years later. It comes down to this: Marriage takes 365 days a year to thrive, not just one day in February. We try to honor each other with our daily decisions and actions, the way we speak to each other and the fun we plan (yes, plan) regularly. Is it easy? No, of course not. But, it is worth it.
Yes, we are that couple that refused to have a wedding cake.
I want to know my husband appreciates me throughout the year. And I want him to experience the same from me. Seventeen years ago, we put a plan in place to create a marriage different than the norm. The “Make Your Own Ice Cream Sundae Bar” at our wedding was a lot tastier and our mothers got over it.
Do we fall into ruts or find ourselves following along with norms? Sure we do. But by starting out with a mutual understanding and shared goals for our marriage, we can easily tell each other, “We are off our path” or “We are in a rut”. Marriage is challenging. All of you that walked or plan to walk down that path can attest to that.
We don’t have or want a cookie cutter marriage.
My husband and I decided early on to do some things differently in our marriage than other couples. We give ourselves permission to relax our expectations of each other when it comes to certain things like Valentine’s Day. My husband knows I don’t expect flowers on February 14th or on my birthday. I much prefer the unexpected. I want to know he appreciates me on different days throughout the year and for him to have that same experience from me.
If your spouse or significant other loves Valentine’s Day, then by all means, celebrate the day. In doing so, make sure you honor the person, not the day. On the opposite end of this spectrum, if your spouse or significant other doesn’t care about Valentine’s day, don’t use that as the easy way out. There are 364 other days of the year to sprinkle your appreciation and love for them around.
We spend Valentine’s Day our way.
This year, you will not find us in an crowded restaurant for Valentine’s Day. We rented a cabin to spend a couple of days snow tubing and going on riding on dog sleds with our kids. If heart-shaped chocolates are tossed my way, I certainly won’t turn them down.
We only get one life with our loved ones, let’s make sure it is well loved and lived.
Stephanie Gonzalez is a freelance writer and blogger that has worked for non-profit organizations, public service and education organizations during the last 25 years in her primary career. As a wife to a husband that challenges her to life adventures and a mom to two fun-loving sons, she is excited about diving further into her next career. She is absolutely passionate about educating others on two things. First, on nature and its’ impact on our health throughout our entire lives and second that when women retire from their primary careers, they aren’t done yet. You can catch up with her at windyhillwords.com.