Commercialized Valentine’s Day

Commercialized Valentine’s Day

I told my husband of 14 years to not worry about to getting anything for me this Valentine’s Day.  No, I’m not the best wife ever or being a martyr.   I just was thinking of how manufactured and commercialized Valentine’s Day has become.   Americans and those looking to make a profit after Christmas have turned this holiday into something that often produces a lot of pressure. If you’re in a relationship then you feel pressured with “what should I buy him/her?”   And if you’re not then you might be bummed on Valentine’s Day with seeing all the social media posts about “look what I got from my ____, he/she is so wonderful!”  Then I had a second thought. For those men that are not naturally romantic this holiday pushes them to think and do things outside of their comfort zone.

Have you ever heard that men’s minds are like waffles and women’s minds are like spaghetti?   This means that in a woman’s brain everything connects.   We can start out talking about work and end up talking about how we think we need another pair of shoes.   Women totally just got how that would connect!   Men section things off in their minds.   When they talk about work, they focus on that, they don’t move to another topic without a noticeable verbal transition to signify why the second subject is coming up.   When they do things they are in that “box” and don’t easily get out of that box without first a little mental effort and deciding to do so. For instance, when a man is watching a football game, he’s in his “sports box.” If the wife walks in and asks him a question he either doesn’t hear her because she is not in the sports box with him or if he hears her then he must make a mental effort to switch boxes. Sometimes depending on the question he must occupy two boxes: the relationship box (so he doesn’t respond in a negative way because she just interrupted his sports box) and perhaps the parent box because she asked him a question about the kids.   Women, by the way, men really do have a nothing box then can mentally go to! I know —-MIND BLOWN!—– they really are thinking of nothing when you ask them “what cha thinking?” and they respond with “nuthin.”

So even though Valentine’s Day is a overly commercialized holiday. And YES you should tell someone you love him or her more than one time per year. It is a good reminder for men to get into their “loving/romantic box” because for some men that box is not used very often and sometimes forgotten about for weeks at a time.

So I hope you had a good Valentine’s Day and if you didn’t then I hope this helps you realize that men and women’s brains work differently. So you can now decide to be happy that you’re single and you don’t have to deal with this box and spaghetti thing. Or if you’re in a relationship you can decided to give some grace to your loved one because some boxes are hard to access and some plates of spaghetti are covered with too much sauce (i.e. stress)

To give credit: I did not come with the concept of boxes and spaghetti. I borrowed it from Jimmy and Karen Evans. I can’t recall the name of the video but here’s a link to their YouTube page where there’s a ton of great videos on marriage.


Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

Teenage Heartbreak

Although I do consider Valentine’s Day to be a commercialized, man-made holiday…..I do appreciate the foundation for which it stands. Valentine’s Day is the day to openly express your love for your loved ones. By openly, I do not mean vulgar……some things need to kept behind closed doors and sometimes vaults! I’m quite sure most of you know what I am speaking of.  Don’t get me wrong, I am for tasteful public displays of affection.  Valentine’s Day is a time to express your love and/or admiration for the special people in your life….not just your significant other.  You do not necessarily have to go spend an arm and a leg to show your appreciation for your loved ones. Yes, commercialization is absolutely a money-maker. There are many other things you could do that cost very little or are absolutely free. Instead of the fancy five coarse meal (nice but not always necessary), cook a nice meal to enjoy by candlelight at home. Enjoy a nice bottle of wine while watching a movie from Redbox. Make you significant other a card. Make them a delicious dessert….who said it has to be imported chocolates? The main point to get across to your loved ones is that they are loved and that you appreciate them and all they do to make your life more meaningful and fulfilled.   I do not think this should just be a once a year occurrence. You should love and cherish the time you have with your loved ones and govern yourself accordingly.  We happened to be Blessed with the most amazing Valentine’s Day gift ever…..the birth of our daughter. Usually on this day we celebrate her. My husband and I celebrate having one another on a daily basis. I know what works for us may not necessarily work for you….just wanted to share some options.

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!




What Is Love?

What Is Love

Love… Do any of us really know what it is?

A dad was telling me that when his baby girl comes home to tell him about a boy who told her that he loves her, he is going to sit down and read 1 Corinthians 13 to her and then ask, “Does he love you like that?”

Robert Sternberg says love is based on three different elements and 7 different stages. Stenberg says the three elements are intimacy, passion, and commitment. He says that if a relationship has at least two of these elements, it will survive; however, if it only has one of these elements, it will not.

He outlines 7 different stages:

  1. Liking – warmth, closeness (intimacy but no passion or commitment)
  2. Infatuation – love at first sight (passion but no intimacy or commitment)
  3. Empty Love – unhappy marriage/relationship (commitment but no intimacy or passion)
  4. Romantic Love – close emotionally and physically but no future plans (intimacy and passion, no commitment)
  5. Companionate Love – long-term marriage/relationship, close emotionally but not physically (intimacy and commitment, no passion)
  6. Fatuous Love – dating, courtship and marriage fueled by zeal but no attachment or closeness (passion and commitment, no intimacy)
  7. Consummate Love – ideal relationship, sexually, romantically, and emotionally in sync; harder to maintain than achieve (passion, intimacy, and commitment)

Do you agree? If you used this rating scale, how would your relationship rate up?

The Concept of Adult Romantic Attachment


Continuing our discussion of Sue Johnson’s book Love Sense, this time we will talk about adult romantic attachment.

Adults’ attachment style is influenced by the attachment style they experienced with their mother (or other primary caregiver). Just like children, there are three types of attachment:
1. Secure attachment: is the optimal style. It is built based on the trust that one can count on his/her partner to be available and receptive when needed.
2. Anxious attachment: take places in a relationship where partners are inconsistently responsive and/or neglectful toward each other’s needs. Individuals with anxious attachment have difficulty trusting others due to doubt and insecurity.
3. Avoidant attachment: people with this style of attachment tend to suppress their emotions and desires for connection as a result of fear of abandonment and rejection. Adults with avoidant attachment view others as unreliable and/or untrustworthy.

Just like children, adults experience attachment threats in this way:
First step: anger and protest
Second step: clinging and seeking
Third step: depression and despair
Fourth step: detachment (the worst one).

Just like children, adults need a “secure base” in order to feel confident and able to meet their potential. Needing a partner is not pathological or weak, it is the way we are made. We desire to love and to be loved, to share ourselves with an intimate partner. When this relationship is threatened or does not exist, we may feel lonely, desperate, depressed or otherwise unfulfilled.

It’s the Simple Things

It's the Simple Things

This week is Valentine’s week and most couples; married not spend a lot of money on materialistic items that eventually will fade away. Valentine’s Day is so-called the most romantic day of the year…or is it? Mention Valentine’s Day and visions of hearts, flowers, candy, fancy dinners, and dancing are sure to follow. It is also known for a holiday for lovers, a time to express to that special someone how much they mean to you and, generally, your overall commitment to them. Valentine’s Day should not be about materialistic things or making sure she/he has the best money can buy, it should be all about the person you love, you are married to and/or the person you are in a relationship with. I personally do not think it takes a lot of money to have a perfect Valentines week or day. For me it is all about creativity, it is the thought that counts. Little things left out for me or even done would brighten my day and put a huge smile on my face. A quite relaxing dinner in front of the fireplace would be nice (something you usually would not eat). The most important gift that you can give to this Valentine’s is your time. All of the other craziness needs to be set aside; this is a day for celebrating the love that you have for your partner. Taking the time out of your day to give yourself is more important than any of the other thing(s) that may be going on.


Some meaningful things you can do on Valentine’s Day:


1. Write a love letter – Make sure he/she knows just how much you love them and why you are attracted to them. Also include what you admire about them, and how glad you are that he or she is a part of your life. Writing a letter is a time-consuming process, but it speaks to the heart of the person you are writing to, and it carries its own rewards.


2. Turn off the television, spend time talking with each other.


3. Hold hands.


4. Turn off your cell phone.


5. Dance with one another.


6. Play some soft music.


7. Do an activity you both enjoy.


Most of all spend quality time with the person(s) you love, make sure they are aware you love them more than anything, and do not let Valentine’s Day be the only day you show this kind of love.


Gottman’s Sound Relationship House: Part 4

gottman 4This is the fourth installment of my series on Gottman’s Sound Relationship House. I have taken all of these from Gottman’s books The Marriage Clinic and The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. I highly recommend the second book, because it is written for non-therapists and is a quick, easy read. But if you are up for something more scientific, The Marriage Clinic is one of the very best, most interesting books I have ever read.

The fourth level of the Sound Relationship House is about accepting influence from your spouse. Generally speaking, Gottman’s research shows that wives tend to accept influence quite readily from their husbands, even in unhappy relationships. Unfortunately, the opposite tends not to be true. Men sometimes think it’s “unmanly” or “hen-pecked” to accept influence from their wife.

By not allowing your wife to influence you, you could “win the battle but lose the war,” according to Gottman. Listening to her suggestions, taking her advice, and letting her contribute in important ways to the relationship helps build trust and unity.

Claiming that the man is “the head of the house” is not a reason to ignore your wife’s opinions. A wise leader always gets input from his team.

Accepting influence will help avoid power struggles in the relationship. It will also model for your children appropriate male-female relationships and teach your children respect.

Accepting influence from your wife means showing her honor and respect. It means turning off (or pausing) the TV when she wants to talk to you. It means giving in to her on things that are important to her.

Gottman says, “I believe the emotionally intelligent husband is the next step in social evolution. This doesn’t mean that he is superior to other men in personality, upbringing or moral fiber. He has simply figured out something very important about being married that the haven’t–yet. And that is how to honor his wife and convey his respect to her.” (The Seven Principles, page 109)