Yesterday was a great Valentine's Day for us. And folks, that is rare. You see, I used to get all worked up about this most romantic of holidays. In fact, when we were dating, our first fight was on Valentine's because I was so disappointed. I was not setting a good precedent.
For me, part of being married has been learning to let go of my expectations. I learned to go into the day focusing on others and not on what I am getting out of the deal. Then anything that happens is a pleasant surprise... and anything that doesn't happen is not a huge disappointment. One of the ways I have done this is to plan a family celebration. I always make red food-- spaghetti, Cherry 7Up, etc. The kids love it and look forward to it every year. I always serve a heart-shaped cake for dessert and we just have a fun family time. No pressure for Curt to produce anything-- he can just enjoy having his family gathered around a special, memorable meal. It relaxed things a lot around here.
But that didn't happen yesterday. We broke tradition (much to the chagrin of our children, I might add) and went to the Love and Respect Marriage Conference... along with 2900 other people. Friday night and half of Saturday was spent learning how to better meet each other's needs. Did you know that men need respect more than they need love? And yet the culture pushes love, love, love so much that women miss the very thing their man needs. We need love, but to get the love we seek, we must respect our husbands-- the love is born out of the respect we invest in him. The conference taught about how this cycle works from both partners' perspective.
This is a compelling message that isn't being taught... but should be. My eyes were opened to some of my past mistakes and some great perspective for how I can handle things in the future. We women put so much emphasis on love and miss the very thing our husband craves. I have to say, if you get a chance to go to one of these, by all means DO. You can have a great marriage or a failing one... you will learn either way. I can't think of a better way to spend Valentine's Day and I am SO glad we went. If you don't have access to the conference, they do have cd's and dvd's and books, etc. you can purchase at their website. If you are struggling in your marriage, I would strongly encourage you to get these resources and make the investment of time to listen to them. Even if you aren't struggling, this is something worthwhile to learn. It will change the way you see your husband... and that's a good thing.
After the conference, we went to pick the kids up (God bless my mother in law for being willing to invest in our marriage and give of her time to keep them for us) and headed home for a brief rest before the evening portion of our very full day began. The kids got to go to a Valentine kids' night out at a local dance studio, owned by my friend Jackie. They had a blast playing games, making crafts, eating pizza, and watching a movie. While the kids were occupied, Curt and I snuck off for dinner, some hot tea at Barnes and Noble, and a movie. Then we raced back to pick up the kids.
It was a full day, an exhausting day, but a great one. I hope yours was wonderful!