Navigating Valentine’s Day when partners don’t agree about its significance
For heterosexual couples, there’s no special occasion that men and women disagree about more than Valentine’s Day! Many men that I hear from are frustrated and confused about the (seemingly) disproportionate emphasis that their female partners place on this day relative to other days of the year. Why do women like Valentine’s Day and place more importance on it? Let’s talk about it!
Note this article is not intended to exclude same-sex couples, but rather to address some of the significant sex differences that do exist between men and women when it comes to Valentine’s Day.
Why do women like Valentine’s Day?
So, let me explain why I think women like Valentine’s Day.
They like Valentine’s Day for reasons that are, in spirit, not dissimilar to the reasons they like other special occasions. The day is a celebration of something very special in their lives – love.
An informal poll of my female friends was unanimous. This is a day that women want to feel extra loved, appreciated and special to their partners.
Chalk it up to the childhood dreams many of us women have about fairy-tale happy endings and knights in shining armour. It’s perhaps a little silly, and usually far from the reality of life, but certainly, something that makes many feel warm and fuzzy inside.
How to navigate Valentine’s Day without feeling like you’re letting your partner down
Here’s what I suggest:
- Rather than getting caught up worrying about why so many other people like this day, ask your partner. Find out what it is that they value about the day. After all, it’s their opinion that matters the most.
- Ask your partner how they would like to celebrate.
- Then communicate – non-defensively – how you feel about the occasion. It may be that you’re putting undue pressure on yourself and thinking they expect something much grander than what is actually the case.
In his fantastic book, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts, Dr. Gary Chapman writes about the differences couples encounter when they are speaking different “love languages.” He articulates the importance of understanding your partner’s primary love language (i.e. quality time, words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service or physical touch) as a way to improve and strengthen your relationship.
Special occasions – and the associated celebration of them – often speak to the different love languages couples have, and the differences partners have about how the other communicates their love.
So, smile. Enjoy the day. Go the extra mile for your partner on this day, then ask yourself: Something that makes her feel extra happy and special can’t be all bad, can it?
Single this year on Valentine’s Day? Read our article about surviving Valentine’s Day when you’re alone.
Valentine’s Day can be tough for many of us. Survive being single on Valentine’s Day by loving yourself and re-think what Valentine’s is really about.
Valentine’s Day comes with high expectations and often a high price tag. Here are some Valentine’s Day financial tips to fit your budget.