For years now this phrase has conjured a wild mix of emotions in my inner being. I am a woman, so of course the romantic force is strong with me! But also, I am a woman who has happened to have lived a long and observant life, and hence has detected a cheesy shallowness about this holiday that I totally despise. The feelings are sort of like those I have at Christmas, that somehow the point is being missed completely!
This is the other time of year when performance orientation addicts are in an all-time panic, one side desperately hoping that this year, “he gets it”, and the other side desperately hoping that this year, “It works”! With very few, on either side, totally understanding exactly what it is that is to be “gotten”, or what “success” in this area would even look like!
And for those unfortunates who find themselves, not “in a relationship”, to use the popular face-book status, it becomes “Happy Single-Awareness Day”, or even, “Happy Rejection Day”! Because it magnifies the “lack” in their lives, or in themselves even, depending on the general emotional/mental core belief structure. It can produce everything from frustration to depression.
And it is mostly so bogus! Face it, few guys are into Valentine's Day! Reportedly there are those few incurable romantics out there who actually have taken the time to know what women like because they actually care about those things (and aren't just working an angle to get laid)! However, barring those rare exceptions, the rest of the real guys fall into one of several categories: 1.they care, but not enough to invest the time it would take to really figure it out, or 2. they are only working an angle to get laid, or 3. they really don't care but feel the need to pretend that they do care in order to keep the peaceful distribution of labor flowing properly in the household! This latter bunch are the confused ones who can't figure out “how she always sees through it”, and why it doesn't seem to work! Yet, year after year they persist in their exercises of futility! Go figure! Lol
At our house we have tried to just ignore the whole thing, but over the years the kids, who love any excuse to celebrate something, have won out, so we do get cards and treats and such. But, Gene and I have tried to ignore it for lots of good reasons. We feel that it is a bogus and disgusting exploitation and manipulation of folks' emotions for the purposes of mere consumerism – yes, we are the original hippies! Plus we feel that it is an extreme perversion of what God meant by the concept of “love”, which is the thread that connects all of His writings into a cohesive work. Everything He did is because He LOVED us enough to “send His very best”! No, Hallmark did not make that up first!
So, for those reasons, at this point, we just go through the motions of”Valentine's Day” for the sake of the fun that the kids derive from it, but we both agree that real love is comprised of those every day, inconvenient, disciplined, faithful, determined, sacrificial ways of doing and being, and that it is those individual acts of kindness that are going to make or break a relationship!
So, If you guys really want to know what women want, tune in here, we want ROMANCE! 24/7/365! And what romance means to us is being treated like we are the one thing you cherish most! It means thinking of us when we aren't there ( kind thoughts only please). It means not making a point to emphasize everything we don't do to your specs, it means not having so many damned specs in the first place!
It means making time just for us. It means taking note of what we like, and planning a special date based on that info. Not this lame crap of, “so, honey, what do you want to do tonight?” Believe it or not, we do not want to have to always decide that! You should know us by now – this question indicates laziness or apathy.
And especially when it is asked in that tired tone, which, we have figured out by now, really means, “please say you want to veg on the couch again while drinking beer (or beverage of choice) and watching football (adventure flicks – or whatever lights YOUR tree), eating obnoxiously unhealthy snacks, (that, combined with the beer or whatever, are turning you into an entity resembling Jabba-the-hut”)!
We also know by now that this question is emotional manipulation. We know that it means that, for tonight at least, you are really more into yourself than you are into us, and that it is designed expressly to make us feel like dogs for wanting to go dancing! Yes. We know.
But what we really want from you guys are events that are interactive - besides the big bang! Though we are generally more into “making-love”, if the events leading up to the culmination - the whole activity - lasts long enough to get us where we need to be to enjoy it! We are all tired of the “wham-bam-thank-you-mam” approach to sexual relations! That is NOT love-making to us! It is humiliating, frustrating, degrading exploitation of our relationship! The only thing worse than that is “wham-bam-snore-like-you-don't-give-a-damn”, (which is followed frequently by divorce papers, but probably not frequently enough! )
What we want from you guys, in a word, is EFFORT! Yes, and more than most of you (from the groaning I hear) obviously feel is necessary or want to put in! We want you to tune in to our universe - and - not be irritated by it! We want you to pick up on our hints, which, we KNOW are becoming less subtle each year – that being a hint in itself - by the way! We want you to behave in a way that lets us know we still look good to you, not in the way a steak looks good to hungry dog! Again the idea is that we want to be tenderly cherished, not selfishly devoured! We want you to be as tender to us as you are to that cherished car, guitar, or TV-remote! We want top billing on your totem pole – right after God! Not second, after your job or mother or sport or TV program, or worse, at the bottom of the pile!
We do NOT want to be only your under-paid, over-worked household staff - and brood-mare! Though, doing for you delights us to no end, when the price is right (and we are not discussing money here, which is only a sorry compensation for what we really want)! No! When we feel cherished, when we are cherished, and it is obvious that we are, we can not do enough to please you! You are shooting yourselves in the foot to ignore us, disrespect us, belittle us - even subconsciously, and then dare to treat us with disdain. We've loved having a family with you, but don't check out and leave us with it!
So here it is, the Valentine Challenge. I challenge each of you guys who were brave enough to read this to tune into your wife, and begin doing little things that prove your love to her (hint- paying the bills does NOT qualify!) If you read this on your own, guys, give yourself 2 gold stars, if you plan to change anything after reading this give yourself 5 gold stars. But if your wife pushed it in your face and you think it rots then go back to your easy chair and kill yourself with negligence as soon as possible, she deserves better than you! Or better yet, just move away and pay her alimony. You won't be making more work for her, and she will at least have peace. She has probably already gotten over you, since the parts of you she loved left long ago!
And I challenge us wives to look objectively at what we do each day to love our man! Have we let some things slip that we know he loves? Have we succumbed to bitterness, hopelessness or spite work? We need to decide if this relationship is worth staying in or not, and act accordingly. If we are in for the long haul, then cultivating some loving interaction is worth the effort, it will make life sweeter and more worthwhile.
And for those not in a relationship, take notes, but be content in knowing that you are whole in your own right! Love yourself, love life! And use this time to rest up. If you ever do find someone, you will need all the strength you can get! This relationship stuff is hard work! Lol
Oh, and Happy Valentine's Day!
Sandra Carlton Duncan