Today is Valentine’s Day. I know what I thought that meant before I was aware of relationship inequalities. I believed that was the day it was OK for men to profess their love for their partner. Do it any other day…and maybe you’re not a real man or I dare say “whipped!” I’m not sure why, but I always thought of it as a day that men did things for women. Probably because women did things all year round and this was the one day they would be showered with affection and praise. Also perhaps birthdays and other holidays. Seems like an awfully long time to wait to know that you are appreciated/loved. I think this sets women up to have high expectations and I wonder what the effect is on the relationship when he does not meet those expectations.
Do we really need a day to acknowledge our love for one another? Love is present everyday, all day! I mean how much sense does it really make to bank on one day of the year to let your partner know how important they are to you. If people made a habit of doing this continually would there even be a need for a day like Valentine’s Day? Wouldn’t it seem silly? I think the reason why it doesn’t seem silly is because in our culture Love is so far removed from our everyday individualistic lives that we need to set aside a time to remember that it is important to honor the relationships and people we love. Maybe it seems easier for men to buy a gift or spend money, rather than doing the more vulnerable things to show love. Marketers and companies probably picked up on this and capitalized at the expense of many men’s wallets and relationships. Think about it, is it easier to make a reservation at a restaurant? Or anticipate your partner’s needs day by day and do little things to make sure they are being met? Women do this more “naturally” because we are socialized from birth to do so – this is what we call attunement. And once you sense what someone else is needing – it is difficult not to be affected by it and subsequently act upon it.
I think some men are missing this critical relationship skill. Ever receive a gift from a man and think HUH?! Why would he think I would like this? If you get a gift or gesture that you really love and didn’t have to tell your partner what you wanted, then you can be assured your partner is attuned to you — unless he cheated and asked someone else who is attuned to you what you would like.
Just for the record…I’m not anti-Valentine’s Day…I just think we should treat one another like everyday is Valentines Day, minus spending all the money we have on gifts for one another, by mutually attuning to one another’s needs and acting to meet them. This can be one of the simplest, yet most profound ways to show love and it doesn’t cost a dime.
I’d love to hear other’s thoughts, both men and women on the meaning of Valentine’s Day to you. Who knows? Maybe my ideas are outdated. Anything is possible.