St Valentine’s Day should be a time of love, affection and happiness. Often though it can descend into a day of tears, sullenness and disappointment, with many people hating Valentine’s Day because expectations have not been met.
Even the simplest things can go wrong. A husband knew that his wife had always wanted a Porsche and so at some expense he hired one for the Valentine’s weekend and parked it outside the house for her to see when she opened the curtains on St Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately she assumed he had actually bought it for her, and what should have been a lovely moment descended into a disagreement when she realised she had to hand it back in a couple of days, leaving her husband feeling embarrassed at letting her down.
In another example, a wife who bought her husband an incredibly expensive present on Valentine’s Day was disappointed when he wasn’t as enthusiastic about the present as she had hoped, and he questioned the wiseness of spending so much money. “But I wanted to make you happy,” she exclaimed. Her husband replied: “It’s not your job to make me happy. That’s my job.”
So the main thing to do on such a day is to manage expectations. Despite the unrealistic expectations thrust upon us by films and television, love does not depend on gift-giving and huge romantic gestures. It is the day-to-day details of being there for someone else, helping each other, showing appreciation, and yes, even putting the bins out without being asked.
What can help in a relationship is realising what are unrealistic expectations and seeing instead what would be the realistic expectations.
Making love every night, expecting your partner to know what you are thinking, and being showered with expensive presents may be your unrealistic expectations. A healthy sex life, a partner who listens to you when you say what you want, and gifts on birthdays and anniversaries that don’t put you in the red at the bank, might be more realistic, and lead to a more harmonious life.
If couples can agree on what is essential for a loving relationship and bring these values into everyday life then they are on their way to establishing a relationship based on love rather than on expensive trinkets chosen in the middle of February.