On Valentine’s Day, my husband Bernard surprised me by having a dozen red roses sent to my work. Their aromatic smell and emanating beauty gathered many compliments from co-workers passing by my cubicle. One woman stopped to remark on how pretty the flowers were and then proceeded to say, “I’ll be lucky if my husband even remembers it’s Valentine’s day.” I find comments like these to be uncomfortable at times because I am never sure how to respond. In most cases, I try to be humorous. I replied, “I put a reminder on my husband’s calendar two weeks ago that Valentine’s day was coming up and to get me a card.” The woman blinked at me in surprise, “Doesn’t doing that take the romance out of it?”
It isn’t the first time I have been asked this question or some other variation of it by someone who learns that I send my husband reminders for special dates and holidays and I am sure it will not be the last. I merely answered, “No, I don’t think so” to this woman then our conversation concluded. I felt at that moment a small bit of pride because although that woman clearly felt my reminder took away the romance, I did not think for a second that day, “I hope my husband remembers it’s Valentine’s day.” I knew he would, and in addition to a card which is all we typically exchange, he surprised me with roses. What I think my “friendly” reminders as I like to refer to them do, is not take away the romance, they take away the potential for hurt feelings and conflict.
Let me explain.
I have heard time and time again – women get upset because their spouse or boyfriend did not remember some important date or event. Often when this happens, their feelings are hurt, a conflict ensues which leads to yelling and / or the silent treatment. I have heard women then say that they feel unimportant in their spouse’s or boyfriend’s eyes and that they are not a priority. If you genuinely feel that way, then you may have a much bigger problem on your hands, and one that requires a serious conversation. What I find most frustrating is when I hear a woman say, “My husband/boyfriend is just so forgetful.” If your husband / boyfriend is forgetful, why are you surprised or upset that he forgot? Why wouldn’t you give him a “friendly” reminder to bypass hurt feelings and conflict as well? The answer for many to that question is similar to the woman who stopped by my cube; it takes the romance out of it if you have to remind them.
This isn’t The Notebook, and he is not Noah Calhoun.
I firmly believe movies, television, and books have negatively impacted women’s views of romance in a relationship. Also, we now have social media where people are continually posting the cute, romantic, and loving moments of their lives which causes others to judge and evaluate what is or isn’t going on in their own lives. Readjusting our view of what is romantic so it is more realistic is necessary if we want to appreciate and love our significant other for who they are rather than criticizing them and being disappointed for who they are are not.
But he was so romantic in the beginning!
I can empathize with that, to some extent, men lay the romance on thick in the beginning, but as your relationship deepens romantic gestures change, and that goes for both sides. I remember in the early months after we started dating Bernard surprised me by taking me on a date to a golf course at night, setting up a blanket under the stars and bringing along cream soda (a favorite of mine) for us to enjoy. Nineteen-year-old Bernard had ample amounts of free time back then to plan such dates with only school and a job at Target to worry about and minimal responsibility weighing on his shoulders. Now, twenty-nine-year-old Bernard works a fifty plus hour work week. He leads multiple complex projects simultaneously; he has bills to pay and a house and wife for which to care (though I am pretty self-sufficient). Although Bernard isn’t sneaking me onto golf courses at night anymore, the romantic gestures very much like the person have changed, just like I have, and that is to be expected. The other day Bernard sent me a text telling me that he was going to make dinner that night and not to pick anything up on my way home, now that to me is romance.
Which brings me back to this Valentine’s day and my calendar reminders. Bernard likely would have remembered it was Valentine’s day, as he typically remembers special dates and holidays. However, I also know my husband on most occasions cannot tell you the date. He does not have a job that requires him to write it, nor say it out loud, and he has so much going on at any given time that sending him reminders is not only appreciated but welcomed. I also like to title these reminders something witty or funny, so when they come up, it will make him smile or chuckle. As I mentioned earlier I do not think it takes the romance out of it; I look at it from a different perspective. I know my husband so well, that I recognize there is a chance he could forget and rather than spending the night arguing or upset I choose to take the road that leads to a happier evening for all parties involved.