“Valentine’s Day is just a creation by Hallmark Cards and the florists to make money.”
So said my extremely left-brained husband 40 years ago. This did not lead up to the romantic evening I had envisioned. It turns out I had other unrealistic expectations. My young husband would sweep me off my feet and fulfill my every need. Apparently, wives don’t live up to the expectations of their young husbands either. “What are a man’s expectations?” I asked. “Well, he anticipates a sexual Paradise and a companion—who is just like him—to do things with. It would also be nice if his wife took care of the cooking and laundry the way his mother did.” Some couples succumb to the inevitable wave of disappointment, decide they must be in the lower half of the 50 percent of marriages that end in divorce, and give up.
Are you ready to give up? Don’t do it! Shaunti Feldhahn’s The Good News About Marriage is a worthwhile read with much encouraging research. She says the 50 percent divorce rate is a myth. “Actually, the divorce rate has never hit 50 percent. It has never even gotten close.”
Want to increase your odds of a happy marriage?
Feldhahn says, “The total of those [married couples] who said they were very happy was 72 percent among those who regularly attended worship services, twenty percentage points higher than those who never attended! An active faith and being part of a supportive faith community tend to lead people into much higher levels of marital satisfaction.”
She also provides this encouraging statistic: Most couples who aren’t happy right now will be if they stay committed for five years with the largest improvement coming from those who were the most miserable.
So, the good news is when you are disappointed with your spouse or your spouse is disappointed with you, hang in there. Most of us learn along the way. Even my extremely left-brained, not-naturally-romantic husband came around. After a lovely lunch in Palm Springs, we rode the aerial tramway to the top of Mt. San Jacinto, talked, enjoyed the spectacular views, and sang “My Girl” with a zany tram conductor and 72 other passengers on the way down while taking in the twinkling desert lights below us. This wouldn’t have been my prescription for Valentine’s Day 42 years ago. The day filled my every expectation and desire now. I’ve changed, too. This year we celebrated Valentine’s Day a few days early to accommodate Bob’s desire to not have to fight large crowds.
Give your spouse some time. Give them some grace. You make the day special for them. Happy Valentine’s Day this year and for many more years from The Marriage Dance.