I got dumped the day before Valentine’s Day.
By late January my dad had helped me work up the courage to ask a girl to be my Valentine.
“Is she your Valentine now?” he asked.
“If you ask her and she turns you down, will she be your valentine?”
“So the worst thing that could happen is that things will be the same as they already are? What do you have to lose.”
I don’t know if that was some kind of reverse psychology game, but it worked. I asked her to be my Valentine. She said “yes” and I was over the moon. I waled to the store after school and picked out the best possible gift I could imagine. It was this giant Hershey’s Kiss the size of my head and I knew it was going to make her the happiest girl in school.
It was lunchtime on February 13th when she approached me on the playground, the first time we’d spoken in the nearly two weeks since I asked her to be mine. She told me she had said yes to another boy when he just asked her to be his Valentine so she had to let me go.
That night, alone in my room, I discovered that giant Hershey Kiss was as fake as she was. Just a giant, heartless shell of chocolate.
You’d think that a grown man, happily married with four children, wouldn’t even remember this story, let alone be hung up on it enough to share publicly. Maybe you’d think my little heart was crushed and I’d hate Valentine’s Day, but you’d be wrong. I still pretty much hate that girl from the fifth grade, but I’ll never stop loving Valentine’s Day.
Here are some tips for the husbands out there to to help you make Valentine’s day awesome for the lady in your life.
1. Don’t Be Stupid, Celebrate!
Yes, it’s a commercialized conspiracy designed by marketers to get more of that hard earned cash out of your pocket. Yes, it’s a forced display of affection so it’s easy to say that none of that love is genuine. Yes, all the best restaurants are crowded. But don’t be stupid, none of that should stop you from making a big deal about this holiday and publicly declaring undying love and affection for your girl.
But what if she agrees Valentine’s Day is stupid and says we don’t have to celebrate? First, IT’S A TRAP! Second, this is your best-case scenario. When you actually do something awesome it will both be unexpected and a giant declaration that you don’t care how cheesy it makes you look, you’re all in on your love for this woman!
2. Think Season, Not Day
Growing up my dad never celebrated Valentine’s Day with my mom, he always celebrated for the full two weeks leading up to February 14. And listen, my dad is the kind of guy who believes my mom when she says they don’t need to celebrate her birthday, their anniversary, or Christmas. But he gets it right with Valentine’s.
My parents worked for the same college and I remember sneaking in to her office one night to decorate her desk area with heart decorations. One day after school we drove somewhere and met one of my mom’s coworkers in a random parking lot because they were headed to a conference and my dad needed her keeping the celebration going while my mom was out of town. Every single day my mom would get some kind of card, gift, or token of affection.
I loved all of this. I loved seeing how much my dad loved my mom, how grateful he was for her love, and I how much fun she had being the recipient of his affection.
Valentine’s Day is a thing, but if you start celebrating early it can make so much more of an impact. Following in my dad’s footsteps, I plan way ahead and make sure that Lindy is loved well for two straight weeks.
3. Think Effort Not Expense
Celebrating Valentine’s for a full two weeks can seem a little crazy and maybe expensive, but it doesn’t have to be.
The Dollar Store is your friend. I hit them up every year and spend like $20 on streamers and decorations, cheesy cards, and little toys I can stash around the house. This morning I hit up the dollar section at the front of Target for cheap and fun little decorations. Pro tip: go to these places first thing in the morning, like right after your drop your kids off at school, before they get crazy as the day progresses.
Last week I hit up our local party supply place and ordered some big red “XOXO” balloons to have ready to go on February 1 and I know they’ll last the full two weeks of Valentine’s. Easy.
4. Decorate with Music
This one is easy. Put together a rad playlist and make sure that’s on every night in your house. You need songs from the bands your were super in to when you first started dating, some of the classics, love songs from movies she’s into, something from the artist you had your first dance to and some new stuff throw in to the mix
I always pull out the Shazam app at weddings during the bridal procession or the first dance. This is a great way to find some new love music you might otherwise have missed.
We have a small Sonos system throughout the house and I make sure this mixtape is playing on repeat throughout the house all February. Check out my 2017 Valentine’s Mixtape for some inspiration.
5. Embrace the Cheesy
I get it, all of this is totally cheesy and unnecessary. If I’ve done the rest of my job as a husband properly, Lindy is already well aware of my love, affection and commitment to her. I don’t have to do any of this stuff, but that what makes it so special.
Valentine’s Day is cheesy and pressing in to that is the whole point. Lindy recognizes the effort it takes to make all this happen: running errands, decorating while she’s out of the house, and and wrapping little gifts every night. Embracing all of that cheesiness shows intentionality with my love that makes her feel thought about and cared for.
Celebrating Valentine’s really well definitely takes a lot of work, but it’s an investment in our marriage that’s worth the effort.
Get out there, get creative, and get to work showing your wife how much you love her.
What do you have to lose?
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