Ladies, here’s a little secret about Valentine’s Day.
When it’s just us guys in the room and women are out of earshot, we take a vote. Nine out of ten of us agree that Valentine’s Day is just a made up holiday for us to do things for our wives and girlfriends because we didn’t do enough at Christmas or on birthdays or on anniversaries or on Mother’s Day, if you’ve birthed one of our children (by the way, thank you for that).
But what about that one out of ten kind of guy who thinks Valentine’s Day should be federal law?
Usually he’s an extra tender fella who loves his wife so much that he’ll sit through an entire season of Grey’s Anatomy without complaining. He’s the kind of guy who makes the rest of us look bad because nobody else was willing to step away from the poker table to answer a call from his wife.
The truth is we may roll our eyes at the poor sap, but guys, it may be time to start listening to him. It may be time to take a page from his playbook and start recognizing the value in celebrating a day devoted to your significant other.
Our biggest mental block is that we see Valentine’s Day as this goopy, floral-fueled, chocolate-covered lovefest. And for years and years we, ourselves, have perpetuated this. That’s right, guys. We’re to blame.
It’s not that women don’t like flowers or chocolates or carnival-sized teddy bears, because plenty do. It’s that we don’t know how to do any better.
We haven’t figured out that Valentine’s Day isn’t just about saying “I love you,” which most of us say every single day, anyway.Valentine’s Day is about a very concrete thing. It’s about showing gratitude. It’s about saying thank you.
You know you’re doing Valentine’s Day right when you’re doing something to say, “Thank you for being supportive in my life. Thank you for your companionship. Thank you for holding down the fort when I was swamped with work for three weeks. Thanks for handling the kids when I couldn’t. Thanks for going on bike rides with me even though it’s not really your thing. Thanks for being so nice to my mom when she came to stay with us. Thanks for helping with the taxes. Thank you for letting me share my life with you. Thank you for sharing your life with me.
That’s all it really is. It’s an opportunity to say thank you.
One of the most common problems in long-term relationships is that we grow complacent. You see each other every day, you take trips together, you eat together, you brush your teeth next to each other. For newlyweds, that’s an exciting prospect. For marriage veterans, being together so much breeds complacency.
Valentine’s Day is a reminder to stop being complacent, to break up the cycle a little.
Maybe you’ve raised kids together, started a company together, redone houses together, traveled together, suffered the loss of family, or helped care for an ailing relative together. Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to say thank you, to express gratitude for the role she plays in your life, to say, “I’d pick you all over again.”
–Dr. Kevin Gilliland, for the team at Innovation 360