disaster n. 1 serious or sudden misfortune; calamity. 2 complete failure causing great harm or damage.
The more I learn about interactions between men and women, the more I realize how Valentine’s Day can be a set-up for men to fail and for women to be disappointed. Yes, from time to time, people have a wonderful celebration (I hope you are one of them). But for too many people, Valentine’s Day has become the antithesis of romance. The day often results in a disaster for all involved: men, women, love, romance and relationships. Personally, I would prefer to see the entire day banned!
It is unlikely that Valentine’s Day will be banned anytime soon. In the meantime, these suggestions can help transform potential disaster into a contribution to you and your relationships.
First, consider that you might want this day to be as much about giving as getting. You could ask the man in your life what would make him feel appreciated that day.
Second, remember that whatever he provides for you on Valentine’s Day is a GIFT. You have not earned any special treatment just because this day is marked on a calendar. Expectations turn receivers into takers. The giver can now only submit or resist – no chance to be generous or creative or romantic. Watch out for “timed expectations.” For example, in a 9-month relationship we expect consideration for marriage and potentially a marriage proposal on Valentine’s Day. Ladies, our timelines are ours alone – men haven’t agreed to them nor are they generally aware of them. In Understanding Men, we explore how we can win with men more often when we let them in on “little secrets” like these.
Third, provide quality information for what you would like to receive. Because women mistakenly believe that a man should already know what they want – and they think it doesn’t really count if you have to tell them – most men will not know how to succeed at Valentine’s Day. The majority will fail for lack of useful information. (See below for how to provide quality information)
Fourth, provide a lot of appreciation for his efforts, not just the results. Reward him by letting him make you happy and show it.
Providing quality information to the men in your life will help your man succeed by making you happy, which is exactly the outcome he’s hoping for. The following information will work for birthdays, holidays, and in most situations where a man will be providing for you.
First, think about Valentine’s Day and ask yourself, “What do I need that day?” In other words, “What is the thing that, if it doesn’t happen, will leave me upset?” Try to remember it is just one day. Don’t have it determine the future of your entire relationship. If you are single, it might be, “I need to spend time with the man I am dating.” Speaking for myself, as a married person, I need to be treated by my husband as his girlfriend and lover, not the mother of his children. If you are not dating, it may be that you need a male friend or relative to tell you how special you are to him.
Second, ask yourself, “After I have what I need, what would make me happy?” Again, it might be quite simple. For me, it is a personal message in a card and a small amount of really good chocolate! (Don’t ask, “What do I want?” This question will lead you into the sea of fantasies and no-win expectations.)
After you have figured out what you need and what will make you happy, there are two more very important steps.
Third, honestly consider if the man in your life can reasonably provide these things. Is money tight? Are you expecting him to spend a lot on one day? Is February 14 a workday? Does he express himself through actions instead of words? Here’s a big one: Are you expecting him to do what a woman would do?
You may need to modify your desires to place them within reach. This is really important. Telling him something that is out of reach will just make him fail sooner.
Fourth, tell your husband, boyfriend, lover, new man you are dating, brother, son or friend what you need and what will make you happy. Tell them simply and honestly. Make sure it is not a demand. Tell him why you are talking about it – so he can succeed. Tell them what Valentine’s Day means to you. Tell them how their efforts will enhance your life. For example, you could say something like:
“I know Valentine’s Day can be a real problem for men. Whatever you do, I will appreciate it. But, I don’t want you to have to wonder how to succeed. What Valentine’s Day means to me is ________________. What you do for me on that day makes me feel _________. All that I honestly need is __________. Beyond that, what would make me really happy is __________________.”
Fifth, ask, “Is there anything you need me to do, for you to be able to give me what I need on Valentine’s Day?” Take his answer seriously! The answer may be, “remind me nicely,” or, “make the reservations.” If you are unwilling to provide what he needs, don’t expect him to do what you have asked.
spontaneous adj. 1 acting in accordance with or resulting from a natural feeling, impulse, or tendency, without any constraint, effort, or premeditation. 2 having no apparent external cause or influence; occurring or produced by its own energy, force, etc. or through internal causes; self-acting.
The opportunity to be spontaneous is essential to men expressing their love and affection. This doesn’t mean they don’t like to plan romantic situations. It means the source of planning romantic situations comes from their own inspiration, not from an expectation of ours.
The conditions created by Valentine’s Day are the opposite of spontaneity. They actually prevent men from being romantic, which they truly enjoy.
Carefully following each recommended step can set up the special man in your life to succeed instead of fail. He’ll have the information he needs and the opportunity to express himself uniquely. Maybe for the first time in his life he could win on Valentine’s Day. What a great gift from you!