Valentine’s Day has never been a big day for me and hubby. Perhaps it’s because Valentine’s day is not celebrated in Brazil (where I’m originally from); perhaps it’s because I smelled consumerism from a mile away the minute I heard about this holiday. Perhaps it’s both.
Whatever the reason might be, early on in our relationship I let my then-boyfriend (now husband) know that I neither expected nor wanted anything for Valentine’s Day, save maybe a letter or a card. And this was not a test; I actually meant what I said (why do women do that? “Test” their partners? Mean what you say, please).
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I did let him know, however, that I appreciated little surprises that weren’t given because of a particular day. Just simple things. For example, a letter, even if we were living in the same city at the time (for part of our relationship, we weren’t).
I liked little surprises on random days, and no, they didn’t need to be (and I preferred it if they weren’t) material things. I’m not the first girl to prefer experience-based gifts and acts of service as little tokens of her guy’s love. Women’s love of material things, particularly jewelry, is an assumption too many advertisers make and too many guys fall for.
I recently read an awesome book called The 5 Love Languages. Chapman’s knack for over-the-top metaphors aside, it was a very enlightening book, and might explain why my hubby and I don’t care for Valentine’s Day gifts: both of us scored “zero” on the Receiving Gifts Love Language.
It also explains why my favourite gift from my husband was this: My good friend had recently moved three hours away. She didn’t have the money to come visit me at the time, so, unbeknownst to me, at a time when I was feeling pretty lonely, he purchased her a ticket, picked her up at the bus stop, and “delivered” her to my living room. The best part? He arranged childcare so I could spend a whole day together with my friend.
That kind of gift shows me that he cares for me, understands what I value (relationships), and that he’s willing to go out of his way to put a smile on my face. And doing all the work, including arranging childcare, is a wonderful act of service for a busy mom.
Since my love language is acts of service and words of affirmation, doing all this work to bring my best friend to town, plus telling me that I deserve some time with my best friend because I work so hard, gave me all kinds of gushy feelings for the awesome man my husband is.
There’s no diamond big enough in the world to rival this kind of gift.
You would be surprised how many women prefer gifts of service to gifts of material goods. Get to know your partner, and really understand what it is that makes her feel loved. Sometimes, a night in with a glass of wine, or simply watching a sunset together is more valuable than anything money could buy.
How about you? Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? How are you making sure it’s in a way that will truly show your love, rather than just empty your wallet?