So it’s your first (or second, or third, or fifth or ... crap, pass the wine) year celebrating Valentine’s Day as a fiance. You’ve celebrated years previous, but something about this year just feels different, so it’s no secret that Cupid is basking in his 15 minutes of fame and everyone you know is talking to you about Valentine’s Day. Whether you love or hate the day, it sparks up a passionate debate that we love to witness (sound off in the comments below, we LOVE it).
Some would describe the day as an over-commercialized, disgusting display of materialism that imposes traditional gender roles on modern day relationships, and others would argue that it’s a chance to celebrate love, find joy in the little things, as you honor your passions and your partner. Here at Unmistakably You, we like to sit somewhere in the middle of the two, in peace, because after all of our years of experience we’ve finally cracked the code to a successful Valentine’s Day; and we’re so loving we’ll tell you.
Okay, so maybe “crack the code” is a tad too presumptuous, and maybe the term “we” is a bit mis-leading, but I, Jacqueline, have implemented these tips into my own relationship and know that without doing so, I too would be a victim of the “Valentine’s Day Disappointment” that we all know, and definitely do not love. Disclaimer: Alex, if you read this blog, this Jacqueline is talking about a totally different Jacqueline than your Jacqueline. And this Jacqueline has no idea where your Jacqueline is… usually she’s just sitting on the couch with a coffee and bagel typing away. This Jacqueline is really sorry, and wishes you luck finding your Jacqueline, because we are definitely not the same. Where was I? Oh yes, reminding you, Alex, that this is not your fiance, Jacqueline, but a different Jacqueline. Anyway, without further ado: Jacqueline’s secrets to a successful Valentine’s Day:
- “What Do You Want”
I can’t even read those four words without hearing a sweat soaked, angry, beautiful, golden lit, muscular Ryan Gosling yelling in the movie The Notebook, pardon me as I wipe the drool off my keyboard… *9AN>iahdahdaff…. there we go.
We say it all the time to our couples “We can’t give you ‘the best day ever’, if we don’t know what ‘the best day ever’ is to you”, the same goes for you and your partner! It was the toughest lesson Alex taught me, but I finally learned that our partners really can’t read our minds. To be clear is to be kind and nothing is more clear than actually considering and deciding for yourself what and how you’d like to spend your day. With that in mind you almost have to do your own risk analysis on your “dream date”.
For example: You decide it’s important to feel appreciated with gifts, new earrings, flowers and a fancy dinner. YAS, secure the bank and treat yourself. I’m here for it 100%, so long as you understand that means your partner may need to pick up additional shifts to budget accordingly, which means they may only be able to get off work at 8PM for Valentine’s Day, is that okay?
Alternatively, you may decide you want to spend the entire day together and watch goofy movies and hang out, but understand that they may have to take the day off of work to give you that, so the uber-eats may be McDonalds vs. those custom cupcakes and chocolate boxes you saw on Instagram. Remember, real life means real life balance so keep in mind what is most important to you before you discuss your wish list or date ideas with your partner.
- Discuss Your Expectations
You can ask anyone who knows me, I love the human mind. I am so curious as to how each brain is so similar, but so unique. If I say blue, chances are you and I are imagining two completely different shades, if I say flower we probably think of a different bloom and season altogether. I've always known everyone’s perception is different, so why did I automatically assume my partner's perception was identical to my own? You see, in the past I would say things along the lines of “I want to have a romantic evening, and I want to be wooed (yes, I use the term woo) but consistently find myself in a pit of disappointment, crying, and often screaming “you don’t get me at all!” hours later. Looking back, that was totally unfair to my partner because how was he to know that my idea of a romantic evening was to find ourselves tangled in the sheets by 7PM, but his idea of a romantic evening was a sunset walk around our neighbourhood. Who’s at fault? The one who wanted an unexpressed romantic evening, or the one who thought of and delivered an unexpressed romantic evening? To be clear is to be kind, and there is nothing more clear than expressing your wants and desires.
Alternatively, if you genuinely want to be surprised, then state that as your expectation! It’s absolutely acceptable to express that the gift/experience is less important than knowing your partner put together something specifically for you. What is no longer acceptable is getting angry with your partner for giving you the present they were excited about a few days early if you never told them you wanted a surprise! Don’t give your partner too much credit…they are still your partner, they do not always think things through, and they cannot read your mind.
- Sensationalize Your Love As Much As Celebrities Do
For anyone else who has become equally obsessed with pop culture, specifically the new brand of “engaged couple”, you’ll likely need to re-read this section a few times over to fully let it sink in. For those of you unaware of the current engaged couple trend, I’ll give you a quick rundown. Oh, The UY Team will be dropping our Striped-Shirt-Proposal clothing line just in time for Fall.
Full disclosure: I genuinely LOVE these four, and have considered doing a mock up of these shots for my own engagement announcement because it is too iconic to pass up. Thanks to social media, and the everneed for entertainment after spending hours “bored in the house, and in the house bored” the past 3 years we’ve turned back into the sensationalization of celebrity couples, that’s so 2000’s!
Again, I am a part of this as much as anyone, but the art of comparison does not draw the line between fame and fortune, and everyday couples like you and I, nor does it see the zeros (or lack thereof) in our bank accounts.
It’s easy to compare your partner's displays of affection, declarations of love through Instagram captions, and sometimes a tad too much public adoration to the partners we see in the media. But remember behind every Travis Barker, is a scheming Kris Jenner fronting the bill (and a full paycheque coming back to the family every time we click their photos: it’s a nauseating and addictive cycle, and I love it). Although I have full faith that these couples are in-love and so happy, I also have full faith that they sit on the couch some nights, look at their partner and think “when was the last time you shaved your neck”.
Take the next few weeks to romanticise your own relationship; you found your forever person. You found the person that you have chosen to spend the rest of your life with, your ride or die.
That is literally the main plot of most movies, and you’ve achieved it, you’re literally the main character, so sensationalize your dang self for a change! The striped shirt group will still be there when you get back.
Is it really a surprise that the real Valentine’s Day code you need to crack, really comes down to communication? I mean, this is the UY Blog, you had to know it would relate back to one of our key principles somehow. As I’ve mentioned, the term “cracking the code” may be a tad over-promising, and my age may make my advice laughable, but trust me, I love proof and data, and the data doesn’t lie. I know from experience that reflecting on my own wants and needs, setting clear expectations, and celebrating what I have has allowed me to find beauty in the every-day moments of my relationship, and my life (and even has led me to love his neck beard… or tolerate it, if you’re still reading Alex).
Try implementing these tools as you enter your Valentine’s Day weekend, and continue them onwards in your relationship. Much like your wedding day, Valentine’s Day is only one day out of many in your life that is dedicated to declaring and demonstrating your admiration, so however you choose to celebrate, do so mindfully and kindly. Stay clear, stay connected and go be the main character of your own Rom-Com, because your life together is worthy of watching.