It’s almost VALENTINE’S DAY!! Which to some of you is very exciting and for some of you, this is awful news. It’s one of those holidays where the pressure is “on” to have the perfect date night combined with the perfect gift, the perfect mood and the perfect person to share it with. But let’s just remember… it’s just another day. Yes, it’s fun to get dressed up and go out, but you can literally do that at any time of the year with anybody. I just want to remind us all (myself included) that this day, although romantic, is just another day.

Now that that is out of the way, I want to quickly talk about the expectations we put on ourselves and our significant others, and how to avoid disappointment this time of year.

To those of you with no dates: HAVE FUN ANYWAY. All these movies are filled with women who fall apart because they don’t have a date this 1 day of the year. Girl, you are so much stronger than that (easy for me to say I know, but hear me out). You are a wonderful creation who is filled with wonder, power, bravery, creativity and beauty. If you are sitting at home wishing you had someone to take you out, guess what. You do. You want to go out? Go. Out. Chances are you have at least 1 friend who is feeling the same way, so get your GALentines on and have a girls night. You can still eat chocolate and drink wine. Heck, why not buy yourself some pretty flowers while you are at it? You deserve to look at something pretty other than the mirror.

If you can’t find a friend to hit the town with, you have 2 options as far as I see it.
1) Go out anyway. There is no shame in eating a nice meal alone or going dancing solo. Maybe you’ll even meet a new friend or group of friends while you’re out!
2) Grab your favorite type of chocolate, a bottle of wine and treat yourself to a stay in movie night. None of these romantic sappy movies, though. Unless those are your favorite. Watch something that will make you happy and feel good about where you are in life. Maybe take the night to create something you haven’t done in a while! Pinterest is full of good ideas. Do something FUN.

The point is if you have put the expectation on yourself (knowingly or not) to have a fun night on Valentine’s Day, then fulfill that expectation! You don’t need someone holding your hand to have fun, I promise.

To those of you with dates: Let your expectations be known. I can’t remember where I was told this, but it’s maybe the best marriage advice I’ve received in our almost 4 years of marriage. If you have an expectation of your significant other, don’t set them up for failure by keeping it a secret. Let them know so they can bless you instead of disappointing you.

Example: I really love getting small gifts. It doesn’t have to be an extravagant, expensive, elegant, well thought out, AMAZING, MIND BLOWING gift (although of course, those are nice too). I just really love the “I saw this stupid keychain at a gas station but it reminded me of that trip we once took that weekend, so I bought it for you” kind of gift. I love the “I got you flowers cause you’re beautiful and I love you” days. Those gifts are unexpected and beautiful.

So on Valentines Day, I HOPE for a gift like that. I want my husband to walk in the door with flowers in hand and him to say “I love you, You are beautiful”. Neil and I have a few Valentines under our relationship belt and I am happy to say that for the past few years he has walked in the door, flowers, Starbucks and chocolate in hand and has said, “I love you, You are beautiful”.  Ok, maybe he doesn’t say those exact words but something to that effect.

But it hasn’t been every year. I know this because I didn’t make it clear what my expectations were one year. And he didn’t do anything. Because I told him not to “ah, don’t worry about it Hunny… I don’t need anything”. I set him up for failure. I didn’t let him know what my true expectations were and I was disappointed in the results. I even got mad about it, but why? It wasn’t his fault he listened to me when I said not to worry about it!

This year we have moved into a new house, had a child, we are building a basement, planning for a garage and backyard this summer and the everyday costs of life are adding up. So I have said “Let’s stay in and cook together and not do gifts” and I truly mean it. My expectation is that we have a nice evening cooking, laughing, maybe have some wine and just let each other know how much we mean to each other. I don’t need the overpriced flowers on my table to tell me that, I need to hear him say it. So that’s my expectation, and he knows it. No feelings getting hurt over here this year!

Set yourself up for happiness. Set your partner up for success.

*The picture for this post is taken by my beautiful friend Tessa who owns Cake Face here in Saskatoon, Sk! She is selling delicious homemade treats including cookies, chocolate covered strawberries and 3 types of macarons! Check out her business page to see more of her creative works and to place your order for this Valentine’s Day!*

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