Valentine’s Day is an interesting holiday. It’s a holiday that doesn’t have a consistent fan base like Christmas or Halloween. You either hate it or love it. You can fear and loathe it or have a great expectation from past experiences or future dreams. You have an exact idea for how the night is going to go and so does your spouse or date. Due to different brains and weird circumstances that happen, your V Day can turn into D Day.
Here’s how expectations work: you believe someone will act in a certain behavior. They are unaware. They do something different. You are disappointed, resentful or have regret towards your significant other. When putting it in the simplest terms, expectations become something silly, but we all have them anyway.
Me and Valentine’s Day go way back. There have been times where I was a Valentine’s nut and other periods of time that I completely rebuked the day as a holiday. One guy I dated always made a grand and over-the-top effort while another guy took me to Hooters on our first Valentine’s Day. The girls in the orange shorts got more roses than I did. Even with my amazing husband, we’ve had romantic flops. From booked up restaurants to overly sensitive smoke detectors repeatedly going off because of a couple of candles lit, we haven’t had the most romantic nights due to outside circumstances. However, we have learned to take a night that might have resulted in disappointment, resentment or regret, and quickly turn into a perfect night. Here’s how we did it:
1. Be Thankful
No matter what happens, be thankful for what you have. Shift your paradigm. Example: Your dinner didn’t go as planned. Your thinking: “This is awful. This night is supposed to be perfect! Now the night’s ruined. It’s the end of the world!” Intentional thankful thinking: “One dinner went wrong but we have so many more dinners ahead of us to get it right. And at least we had the night off and the finances to buy dinner and spend quality time together!” Shifting your thinking into thankfulness can instantly change your mood. Remember, you have control over your emotions. Don’t let them take over the night by taking charge of them through thankful thoughts.
You don’t need to communicate all of the details of the night with each other because that will take the fun and surprise out of it. However, communicating the general game plan for the night can help eliminate wild expectations. It also creates the opposite of expectations, which is reality. If there are any extra surprise romantic gestures, these turn into “bonus points” and positive actions. Also, make sure you don’t over promise to each other. This can be dangerous way to feed the wildfire of expectations.
3. Plan Ahead
Waiting for the last second to plan the night is a disaster waiting to happen! Everyone has the same idea as you do on Valentine’s Day and will be booking reservations at all of the popular restaurants. Make your reservations up to two weeks in advance to avoid the catastrophe of booked restaurants and valentine’s activities.
4. Learn the Art of Surrender
Learn to accept and be at peace with the circumstances. Often times we want to control things, especially when there has been a bad experience. You’ve learned to control your circumstances as much as possible to prevent disasters but control might not always be the best way to handle the night. Learn how to let go, stop fighting with reality and enjoy the freedom that comes with surrendering your expectations.
5. Change it Up!
Valentine’s Day can turn into a no brainer. Dinner, roses, candlelight and then *cough, cough, ahem*, you know what I mean. That’s a nice night but no wonder why you’re disappointed when it comes to February 14th. Stop stale expectations in their tracks by getting creative and doing something out of the ordinary. Buy a small projector and have a movie night outside with candles and blankets or book a trip somewhere special.
Do you have something on Valentine’s Day that you just can’t live without? Let your significant other know. If Valentine’s Day just isn’t Valentine’s Day without red roses, chocolates or a back massage, communicate your needs to your partner instead of sulking if you don’t get what you want. You might feel silly making the request, but it’s better than not communicating with your date now and expecting them to telepathically know what you want.
Warning: Keep in mind that this only works if you if you are in a long term relationship or marriage. You might come across a little demanding if the relationship is new or if your are in the early dating phase.
7. Be Flexible
This one is a little more on the planning side of Valentine’s Day. If things don’t turn out how you planned, be open to changes and get ready to think on your feet. If your favorite restaurant is booked up, get dinner to go, grab some blankets and candles and have a romantic dinner on the beach. It might not have been the original plan, but who knows, plan b can be even better!
8. It’s Not Just About You
Women are really guilty of this. And by women, I’m especially talking about me. A day that celebrates love gets turned into a day of consuming. You can blame it on Hallmark and Hershey’s, but a lot of us tend to think of Valentine’s Day as a little one sided. More often than not, one person in the relationship is expected to plan the whole night and buy gifts, flowers and/or chocolates for their beloved. When remembering that the day is not about just you, the need for your own expectations drop and you become focused on making your other half happy. Modern Valentine’s Day is about celebrating love of two people after all, and if the other person was not there, you’d have no valentine.
Remember all of these tips are Valentine’s Day approaches. Check out the rest of our blog for Valentine’s ideas. Good luck!