by Aaron Traister, REDBOOK
DEAR WHYS GUY:
"I don't want to be high-maintenance, but every year, I'm a little disappointed by how little interest my husband shows in celebrating Valentine's Day. It would mean a lot to me if he'd put a little effort into planning something, but when the day rolls around, he asks me what I want to do that day rather than making reservations in advance or planning a surprise. How can I encourage him to plan something without being a nag?" - Eileen, New York
Related: The Real Reason Men Hate Valentine's Day
Valentine's Day is a pressure cooker for men. It makes our brain lock up and we can't make simple decisions because we're so worried about screwing up on "the special day." So inevitably we screw up on "the special day."
Related: Dear Whys Guy: "Do Guys Believe in Finding One True Love?"
So my advice to you? Don't make Valentine's Day the special day. Keep expectations low - a good movie together on the couch, a home-cooked meal, a card. Make it clear that your husband doesn't have to hire a clown or blow something up to make you feel important, let him know that simply sharing his company is all you need for V-Day.
Related: Could You Love a Man Who Wears Skinny Jeans?
Wait wait, I know what you're thinking. I promise I'm not trying to get myself, or other guys, off the hook for showing some love and affection to their significant other. Most guys want nothing more than to spend a special night out with the woman they love.
So after you've lowered the expectations for Valentine's Day, let him know that February is the toughest month of the year: The holidays are over, the weather sucks in most of the country, it's dark, and there is not a lot to look forward to until March Madness begins. Tell him you want to make sure that you guys have one or two nights out of the shortest but longest month of the year that you can be excited about. A super date night or nights, if you will. Either plan one big date together, or two smaller ones for each other. Make it clear what you want on your end.
Related: Dear Whys Guy: "How Can I Bring the Sparkle Back to My Marriage?"
You knew your husband couldn't read your mind when you married him, and since he probably hasn't been exposed to radiation and become a mutant telepath since then, you can't expect him to be one now (unless of course he is a mutant, in which case never mind, and congratulations). You might be surprised how romantic your guy can be when he doesn't feel like he's in a romance competition with the guy at the next table at the restaurant, and when he understands what your expectations are.
Related: Valentine's Day Plans Generator
Do you expect your man to plan something for Valentine's Day?
- Yes, I'm a sucker for roses and chocolates.
- No, I think Valentine's Day is overrated.
- Yes, I don't need a big cheesy display of love, but a card would be nice.
- No, we plan something romantic and low-key together.
- Yes, I always hope he'll plan something romantic, but it usually doesn't happen.
Need help decoding odd male behavior? Redbook columnist Aaron Traister, who lives in Philadelphia with his wife and two kids, is our resident male who is happy to answer any questions you might have about the mind of a man. Either leave your questions in the comments or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org with Whys Guy in the subject. Letters, emails, and comments may be edited for clarity and length.
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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.