Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Valentine's Day At Home

As little girls, we grow up with vision of Prince Charming and Prince Eric  in our heads. The hunky, handsome hero who is never void of a romantic gesture and enticing line. As we enter our teen and college years, the prince is replaced by the beloved rom-com as the sultry stares and humorous quips of George Clooney, Ryan Gosling and Matthew McConaughey make our lady parts flutter.

We are trained to believe from early on that this is how men act when they are courting a woman. Then you meet a man and fall head over heels. Before you know it, the world's most romantic holiday is just around the bend and you anxiously wait to see what magical surprises your sweetie has in store, what memorable adventure he has planned, and let's not forget the thoughtful gift he most certainly has up his perfectly pressed and tailored sleeve.

Then the day arrives and reality hits.

Now yes, there are those select few men out there who indeed take their cues from the "Say Anything" and "Love Actually" realm (And yes, I envy and loathe the women who found them). However, I know I am not the only one out there whose significant other finds gift-giving and pressure-filled holidays a burden. My shnookums prefers naps on the couch while claiming to be watching Breaking Bad over in bed, roses and candle-lit meals.

For those of us in this certain situation, Valentine's Day can be frustrating. We simply cannot understand why the men in our lives don't want to shower us with love and gifts. How is that so hard?!

Then, as the relationship continues, a funny thing happens...you learn to adapt. Valentine's Day becomes less about being swept off your feet and flown at the drop of a dime to Paris for a designer shopping spree and more about intentionally taking the time to be together and enjoy your common interests. In our situation, it's also a good excuse to have a date night.

For T and myself, we also have to consider finances. We are saving for a wedding and a house, so things like gifts and date nights have been kind of put on the back burner for awhile. However, I don't want the day (which is also our anniversary) to go unnoticed. This year, we will be planning a night in.

The deal we have in our house is that I cook, he washes the dishes. The boy can hardly boil pasta and this girl LOATHES doing dishes, so it's a compromise that has been working for us for the past 6 years. He hates cooking so much that even on days when I ask him to help me shred cheese or chop a few veggies so I can get dinner ready faster, I am met with sighs and pursed lips.

But this year, we will start off by hiking Stone Mountain (something I've been wanting to do since we moved to Atlanta, and something he would enjoy because it involves physical activity). Then, we decided to cook a fancy meal TOGETHER. I plan on lighting some candles and turning on some sweet music. Afterwards, we will buy a new Blu-Ray (cheaper than going to the movies) and cozy in on the couch with some 98 cent boxed candies from WalMart and a 2-liter.

So it may not be a story worthy of a Ryan Reynolds hit, but it's the reality of real relationships, people! Real men. And as you grow with a real relationship, him offering to cook dinner with you becomes just as special as a shopping spree in Paris.
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