A Husband’s Guide to Valentine’s Day (for next year)

There are two groups of husbands in America:

Meat Heart
  1. Those who made Valentine’s Day special for their wives.
  2. The other 90%.

OK, maybe the numbers are off.  But here’s what happens on that special day:

  • Hallmark stores are jammed with guys who took off work early to pick through the few cards that remain on the rack, trying to select a sentiment that was written by someone else to impress their spouse.   (If they’re late enough, it’s happening at 7-11.)
  • They go to the grocery store and find the “temporary red” aisle, buying chocolate that a marketing person convinced them would be romantic because it’s wrapped in red foil over a heart-shaped box.
  • They buy a cinnamon-scented candle and a small stuffed bear to demonstrate how thoughtful and sensitive they are.
  • If it weren’t for the guy selling overpriced roses in the median next to the left-hand turn lane, the evening would be a disaster.

So, what’s wrong with this picture?

It’s supposed to be a day when we reflect on how special our wives are, and we do things to celebrate how much they mean to us.  We want them to feel special, and loved, and respected, and needed, and appreciated.  We really do.

But honestly, our Valentine’s Day shopping isn’t usually about honoring them.

It’s about us not wanting to feel guilty.

Meat HeartThose gifts usually don’t come from deep inside of us, expressing our love.  They’re convenient purchases to convince our wives that we were thinking about them.

Now, I’m not trying to heap on more guilt here.  I’m writing from my own experience over the years.

I adore my wife.  She means the world to me.  But when it comes to Valentine’s Day, many of us seem to be missing the romance gene.  (Otherwise, the card store wouldn’t be so crowded at the last minute.)

We’re guys.

So, we’ve got a year to figure this out.  Is there anything we can do to make next year’s Valentine’s Day a true celebration – without having to change the way we’re hard-wired?

Try this:

  • Buy cards and flowers occasionally throughout the year, unrelated to a holiday.  Do it “just because.”
  • Next year, don’t buy a valentine.  Go to the blank card section and find one that reminds you of something in your relationship.  Write your own words in it.  No poetry – just a sentence or two in your own words.
  • Initiate a date once a month, doing something that’s more important to her than it is to you.  Put it on your calendar.  Make the arrangements yourself instead of having her do it.
  • Every Sunday afternoon, plan the week ahead.  Ask yourself, “What is the most important thing I can do this week in my relationship with my wife?”  Not the biggest – the most important.  Then schedule it.  Block off time to make it happen, and protect it the way you would protect any other appointment.
  • Have mini-Valentine’s Days throughout the year.  Whatever you would normally do on that holiday, surprise her on a random day several times in the year.
  • When you come home from work, sit in your car for an extra minute before going in the house.  Tell yourself, “I’m just about to do the most important work of my day.”  Then find the energy – somehow – to give your spouse your best attention.
  • Once you walk in, immediately give her a hug.  Ask her questions about her day – then listen to what she says.  Make it about her – she’s worth it.  You can talk about you later.
  • Think about what you did when you were dating, trying to win her heart.  Now you have that heart – don’t take it for granted.  Keep pursuing it.
  • Be grateful.  It’s easy to focus on the things that irritate you.  Keep track of the things that you’re grateful for.
  • At least twice a week, do one of the chores she usually does (without being asked).
  • OK, you’re tired in the evening.   So is she.  Spend less time sitting.

Want next year to be a guilt-free Valentine’s celebration? 

Start now.  Make it a lifestyle, not an event.  Don’t spend money; invest yourself.

She’s worth it.

(If you’re a wife reading this, don’t cut this out and sneak it into his briefcase.  Just say, “Hey – a guy wrote this.  Check it out if you’re interested.”  And leave it at that.)

Leave your comments below – or under the headline at the top.

  • Phil Dickey

    Great stuff, Mike; Of all the things I’ve done in my life, the one thing I’m closest to being satisfied with is my relationship with my wife. This Valentine’s day, I got up and she said to me, “Happy Valentine’s day” , to which I replied in kind. Then I said, “I didn’t do anything special for you” to which she replied in kind. We were both fine with that because I have spent the past forty plus years (mostly) doing many of the things you suggested. It is well worth pursuing that relationship year after year. Thanks for putting it into words.

    • That’s called leaving a legacy, my friend. No regrets. And it’ll have more of an impact on our kids than anything we do in our careers.

  • Jim Hale

    Awesome blog, Mike! What a great reminder to not be lazy about our relationship but to cherish and honor the person we love the most. I especially like the pausing before going into the house to prepare for the most important job of the day. Well said!

    • Yep – They’re worth our investment. (The trick is finding the energy at the end of a crazy day.) Thanks for your thoughts!

  • Joanne

    Great post. I can’t wait to share it with my husband. We can both use ideas like these as reminders of how important it is to continue to “pursue” each other even after 25 years of marriage. With this in mind, I’m excited to see what we do with this advice between now and next Valentine’s Day. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks, Joanne – You’re right — seems like the longer we’ve been married to our spouses, the easier it is to take them for granted!