Every year when the month of February rolls around, there are two words that become a point of contention for many couples, new and established: Valentine’s Day. Everyone has an opinion on Valentine’s Day. Some love it, some rebel against it because they aren’t in a relationship, some ignore it entirely, and some actively hate it. The chances of winding up in a relationship with someone who feels exactly the same way about Valentine’s Day as you do are fairly slim, and these differences in opinions can cause even the most mature couple to have a tumultuous time on February 14th.
So what do to when Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and you and your significant other disagree on how to handle it?
The biggest thing to keep in mind, for all couples, is that it’s just one day. It is one day in the course of your relationship, and it shouldn’t be the cause for major disagreements and resentment. There don’t need to be towering expectations and tons of money spent. Yes, greeting card companies and other consumer industries have put a huge emphasis on the “stuff” that is involved with the day. Flower prices rise, jewelry commercials air on television, and heart-shaped chocolate is everywhere. But when you boil it all down, these things shouldn’t detract from the sentiment of the day: to show the person you love how important they are to you.
Some people say, “It’s better to show love every day than to just pull out all the stops once a year because someone tells you to!” That’s a very naïve and immature way to look at the day. Just because someone is making a gesture or doing something special for their loved one on Valentine’s Day does not mean they shouldn’t do nice things or treat their loved one well every day of the year! Of course they should! The idea of Valentine’s Day is to take the day to show the person you love how special they are to you—it’s an excuse to do something nice. A bonus, if you will. Why on earth would you deny the person you care about some extra love and kindness?
The best thing to do when dealing with conflicting views on anything, including Valentine’s Day, is to try to see where the other person is coming from. If you love Valentine’s Day and have a partner who hates it, try to find out why—find out if it’s the expense or the expectations that are bothering your partner, and try to work with them on that. If you hate Valentine’s Day and have a partner who desperately wants to celebrate, keep in mind that what they want more than anything is a day where you both go out of your way to treat each other excellently. Understand that the other person isn’t disagreeing with you because they’re selfish, but because they have their own thoughts and feelings that are important to them, just as yours are to you. Your feelings absolutely matter, but so do theirs even if you don’t see eye to eye with them. Hear them out and try to see if there are ways to compromise and spend the day in a way that you’ll both enjoy.
The fact of the matter is, you can’t be stubborn and insistent on getting things exactly as you’d ideally want them because this is something that affects both of you. You can’t insist that Valentine’s Day is just a stupid made-up holiday and plan to ignore it if your partner places value on it. Likewise, you can’t insist on flowers and roses and jewelry if your partner isn’t comfortable spending that much money in one day. You cannot solely control the decision as to how to celebrate Valentine’s Day, no matter how strongly you feel about it—it’s something you need to decide together. At the end of the day, you love your partner and want them to be happy, right? So you both need to work together to find a solution that makes Valentine’s Day a positive one.
There are plenty of ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day without going over the top. You can find an activity for the day that the two of you can do together, cook a special meal together at home, make each other a gift instead of buying one, or just relax together and tell each other how important you are. A celebration can be low-key and private if it’s the public expectations that are the point of contention. Both partners equally putting effort into making the day special and making the other person feel loved—that’s what’s important about Valentine’s Day. That’s why it’s worth compromising and finding a way to make the day work for both people.
The bottom line is, your relationship is a partnership. Make sure it feels like one this February.