No Valentines gift, and I survived!


Today is Valentines Day. A day when many are enjoying expressions of the love of their significant other, or they are expressing their feeling for someone that they have long desired. Of course, there are also those that dread this day and see it as nothing more than a reminder that they are single. Most amusing among these people are the husbands that have failed to buy a Valentines Day gift for their wife. I remember watching a sitcom back in the 90's where men were fighting tooth and nail to get their hands on the last card and box of chocolates in the store. It was pretty funny. Well, I have a confession to make. I haven't bought a Valentines Gift for my wife in several year. I'm still alive and still married. Imagine that! Now don't misunderstand me. I have always been big on Valentines Day. I used to get roses or other flowers for all of my female friends in high school because I didn't think that any lady should be without a flower on Valentines Day. Yes, I gave my girlfriend more than I gave my friends. I tried to be creative every Valentines. This continued into my marriage. I was always trying to come up with something unforgettable each year. It started to become a rather expensive and stressful endeavor, especially since my wife felt the need to try and match my creativity. Then one year, and I don't quite remember when that was, we both started asking ourselves, "Why?"

It would be easy to start thinking that the romance has gone out of my marriage. After all, I have been married now for over fifteen years, we are parents, both of us work full time, and Netflix and chill for us actually means that we watch Netflix and relax. Add in the fact that we don't get each other Valentine's Day gifts and it's easy to think that we are just going through the motions. However, you have to take a look at the other 364 days in the year to see that this isn't true. I never miss the chance to tell her that I love her. We snuggle together on the couch every night. We are constantly holding hands. One of the reasons that we have stopped getting each other gifts (we often do not give Christmas gifts to each other either) is so that we can save money to go on trips as a family and have fun together in new ways. I can honestly say that I haven't missed the Valentine's gifts. I recognize the love that is there for me every day.

Now, if you happen to be someone that enjoys Valentine's Day, be my guest. I'm not trying to rain on your parade. Have a great time. However, if you chose not to give a gift this year, make certain that you have expressed your love every other day this year. What better Valentine's gift could anyone ever hope to get?

Love is in the every story!


This week I put together a vlog asking questions about romance in stories. Ever notice how most stories do have a romantic interest involved? It's like we can't escape it, regardless of what the topic is. So is it necessary? If you are adding a romantic interest into your story, how do you do it correctly? Well, take a look and let me know what you think![youtube]

A letter to ladies who ask for more romance from their husbands


In July I will have been married for fifteen years. There aren’t many things that television shows and movies get correct about normal life, but one thing that they do tend to accurately portray is the idea that as time passes in a committed relationship, romance seems to go away. How often have you heard married women talk about how they wish that their husbands were as romantic as they were earlier in their relationship? I’m sure that my wife says the same thing. I feel that I need to help deal with this problem. However, I am not writing this to tell the husbands to take more opportunities to be more romantic towards their wives (although they should). I am writing to explain to some of the wives out there how often your husbands show you how much they care without you ever knowing it, much less acknowledging their efforts. I don’t claim to be an expert on male psychology. I tend to be more of an observer than a participant when it comes to many of the male-bonding rituals. What I have observed leads me to a conclusion about myself as well as other men: we rarely show our true selves. Men worry about our reputations a lot more than we will ever let on. You can’t show weakness in front of the other guys. Aggression is applauded. Meekness is degraded. There are a million things that a typical guy can do in a minute that can impact his reputation, both with other guys as well as with women. It might be his choice of vocabulary. It might be how he answers a question or if he chooses to answer at all. It might be his posture. It might be if he smiles and how. I don’t know if it is all social conditioning or a natural aspect of male psychology, but men have a lot of difficulty trusting someone so completely that they always show their true selves. (No, I’m not saying that every man secretly cries a lot and always wants to watch rom-coms. That only happens in the movies.) Once a man finds that level of trust in someone, it is a very big deal.

I understand that ladies want a romantic candlelight dinner and a night out on the town. That’s perfectly legitimate to expect and even demand. However, if you want to know how truly romantic your relationship is, just look at a typical day around your loved one. Look for the times when he relaxes around you. Maybe he holds your hand or puts his arm around you. Maybe he gives you a kiss on the forehead. Maybe he volunteers to tuck the kids in. Maybe he cut the time he was spending with his friends short so that he could get home. Sure, he may make jokes with his friends about “the old ball-and-chain,” but maybe he’s coming home early because he wants to be with you. Even if it seems like a lot of the things that he does are out of a sense of obligation, he may be doing them because he wants to. He may trust you enough to be showing who he really is.

In July I will have been married for fifteen years. I’m sure that there are times that my wife has wondered what has happened to the romance. She’s right to ask for more outward displays from me, and it would be appropriate for me to accommodate her. Still, I hope that every day she might look at the things that I do and realize that I trust her with seeing my true self. Each one of those acts that shows that I am relaxed around her is another time that I am showing her how much I love her, and how much I appreciate her for accepting me for who I am.

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