Valentine’s Day is for sweethearts, but what happens when the thought of celebrating Valentine’s Day conjures up more disappointment than it does romance? Maybe you’re like many of the women in my counseling practice who are married but feel single and alone. In that case, the thought of Valentine’s Day can bring sadness.
The day is certainly not going to disappear and neither are you, so what can you do to make the most out of the day?
First, let go of your unrealistic expectations. If you and your spouse can’t seem to get along for more than 20 minutes without arguing, what makes you think Valentine’s Day will be any different? Instead, face reality and set expectations based upon where you are in your marriage. If you’re not super romantic with each other, then maybe just agree to go out to eat and talk about what’s going on in your lives. If your relationship is truly damaged, the best thing you can do is start over in getting to know each other.
Second, don’t wallow. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard women complain about their spouse on Feb 15—what he didn’t do and what he should have done. I hear words like “All I wanted was…”
Stop. Your words simply aren’t true. Let’s face it, if he gave you that little thing that you were looking for, that wouldn’t have been enough. You want more than little gestures, and that’s ok. But be honest with yourself, then move on. I understand you want things to be different, but wallowing over what you don’t have will only lead to more resentment and possible depression.
If you feel like a single woman even though you’re married, don’t worry. God has the power to transform even the worst marriages. But while God is doing His work in your husband (and in you) there are things you can do to make the most out of the holiday and still feel good about it:
Go to a counseling session. I know that doesn’t exactly scream sexy, but if your marriage is in disarray, then getting help should be a priority. What better way to say “I love you so much that I’m willing to invest in us” than a counseling or coaching session to work on the hurts and communication issues?
Give of yourself. If your spouse wants nothing to do with you or the holiday, perhaps you can donate your time. Find your favorite charity and give of yourself that evening. Maybe you could rescue a young couple with little children who don’t get out much. Just because your marriage is stuck, it doesn’t mean you can’t help another. I’m a firm believer in sowing and reaping.
Do you want a better marriage? Help another couple improve theirs.
Celebrate you. Just because someone else doesn’t see your value right now, you still can. Make a date with yourself for that evening. Do something you love. Go get a massage, spend your time in praise and worship (God would love to be your date for that evening), or spend a therapeutic evening with a cup of tea and a journal (and maybe a piece of chocolate!). In the journal, write all of the things you like and love about your spouse. You will be amazed at how you start to turn your mind around from all of the negative things that you have been focusing on.
But at the end of the evening, remember a marriage is about the two of you. Resist the temptation to focus only on what he did or didn’t do. In doing so, you will allow God’s healing work to begin in both of you.
P.S. If you are struggling in a toxic relationship, there’s help. I created your Toxic People Survival Guide to help you Identify and Deal with Difficult People. Grab your FREE guide here.