Dr. Phil, Love and Expectations…Ramblings on Valentine’s Day

Dr Phil, Love & Expectations

Did I ever tell you about the time ten years ago when my husband and I were invited to be on The Dr. Phil Show? I don’t think I have…

Let me give you some back story first. When I was in high school, on Valentine’s Day every year, our school office would be overloaded with flowers, balloons, candy, stuffed animals, etc. The bigger, the better. The school office was long and in the main area of the building. Lined with windows, you could easily walk by and see every inch of the office. Teen girls would walk by the windows, sneak a glance, envious of the other girls picking up their armfuls of Valentine’s. We’d wait anxiously, all day, for our name to be called over the loud speaker to come pick up “something in the office.” For me, it happened once and it was from an admirer whom I didn’t appreciate like I should (sorry, Doug Hammer).

I had boyfriends in high school and I had plenty of love from my family. They just didn’t shower me with flowers and candy and balloons on Valentine’s day. They always gave me something, but it was never through a public display at school. I knew I was loved, but always felt slighted because of the lack of goodies waiting in the school office for me. I had high expectations and they weren’t being met.

Fast forward to married life. My husband, who is great in every way, was not the best at celebrating Valentine’s Day. It got to the point where I was a bit peeved and one night, after reading about a new show by Dr. Phil that was coming on air, I wrote into “Ask Dr. Phil” and explained my “problem”.

“Dear Dr. Phil, I have a really great husband. He helps out around the house and does more than what most husbands do. He does the laundry, helps cook meals, treats me great, is an excellent father, etc. He works hard at his job so I can stay home and raise our kids. I am really lucky.

I am writing today because I am frustrated that he doesn’t seem to understand the importance of gift giving and making holidays special. It is really important to me, but today is another Valentine’s day that I have received nothing but a card. I don’t understand why he doesn’t’ do more. Doesn’t he understand it’s an important day to show that he loves me? We have fought about it more than once and I can’t figure out how to make him change. Can you give me some advice?”

A few days later, Casey, a producer from The Dr. Phil show called and said they were interested in flying Nick and I out to be on his show. I was on board (not quite realizing what I was getting myself into), but I wanted her to talk to Nick first. Naturally, after Nick got a surprise phone call from The Dr. Phil show at work, he was less than thrilled. Being chastised on a stage on national TV seemed to not his idea of a good time. Little did I know, that the chastising was going to come to me… why was I letting one day out of the year erase everything my husband did good all year long? My expectations were out of whack and Dr. Phil was going to be certain to make me understand that.

yellow flower

We ended up not signing up to be on the show… but that event changed how I see Valentine’s day.

My husband does things all year long to make me happy… he brings me Starbuck’s, he makes me breakfast in bed, he does the laundry, he brings home flowers for no reason, he cleans up the puke when the kids get sick, he calls just to say he loves me, he’s thoughtful, caring, loving and compassionate every day of the year.

Ladies, I’m writing this post to remind you that Valentine’s day is a great day to celebrate love, but it is not THE day to hold your loved one up to expectations they might not be able to meet. Love, romance, passion, etc… those are all important, but they should be shared and demonstrated all throughout the year. Not just on Valentine’s day. If your spouse or loved one fails to live up to your Valentine’s Day expectations, take a step back and think about everything they do for you all year long. Measure them that way… not on if they measure up to all the hype and hoopla on just one day.

We now celebrate Valentine’s day as a family, with a very special candlelit dinner made and served to the kids in the evening. To be honest with you, it’s my favorite display of our love, all year long.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you all… may you feel loved this day and all year long.

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  1. says

    You hooked me at Dr. Phil. This is very funny but true. I think of it in the reverse. If you’re only treating each other well on Valentine’s Day, you’ve got a problem! Thanks for the story and have a great V-Day!

  2. says

    Love the honesty of this post–and what a great reminder!

    When I start thinking that my husband isn’t perfect, I remind myself to wake up and realize that I’m certainly farrrr from perfect. It’s so important to focus on the positives and tell your hubby often how great he is. Because let’s be honest…my guy deserves a lot of praise just for putting up with me. 😉

  3. says

    Love this, thank you for sharing! I think that’s why many relationships fail… we get so focused on the stuff that doesn’t matter nearly as much as those daily interactions that really show love. I mean, he cleans up puke! Not sexy but as a mom,, so fabulous.

  4. says

    Boy oh boy can I relate to this post. My husband doesn’t like being thrown under the bus for not getting me stuff on special days either. Same story… does nice things for me all year long and gives me gifts for no reason. Today… we didn’t even buy each other cards, just a smooch in the morning and plans to spend time as a family later. I’m not upset. I’ve just had to learn how to handle it and not expect things from my mate.

  5. says

    We live in the middle of nowhere and the flower shop is 45 minutes away, my husband works on the ranch so it’s not exactly easy to stop on the way from work to get flowers. I do consider myself luck to be married to my best friend and that he is so caring and loving to me and our boys. This is a great post and I so agree with you. I always enjoy having Valentine’s dinner with the kids. Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful day with your family!

  6. says

    Nice reminder. At times when I’m frustrated with my husband, I bring myself back to realizing everything he does is for me and our family. He works so I don’t have to, etc., etc. The good things he does WAY outweighs the little things. 😉
    Thanks for sharing your story.

  7. says

    That is so very true! If your loved one treats you wonderfully the rest of the year, what does it matter if they don’t do anything huge on Valentine’s Day? I think me & the mister are just hanging out at home, maybe watch a movie or something fun :)

  8. says

    I would rather my man show me that he loves me by doing things for me the other 364 days of the year instead of spending an inflated amount of money on flowers that will die in 2 days and candy that I don’t need on just one day of the year. I’m all about spending quality time with each other and making sure he knows I love him dearly. Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!!

  9. says

    First of all, I’m so glad you didn’t go on Dr. Phil. Second,, you must have been feeling really badly to write that letter. I can relate…especially when my children were little, the dating and the romance of our early days was over, and it appeared that the rest of life would be driving kids around, cooking, cleaning, working…. I felt that way too. But I’m here to tell you that guys begin to mellow at some point…especially those great guys we married who are living through these years with us. I saw my father mellow later in life, and now I can see my husband mellowing too. Our kids are grown up…and we miss the little people who used to live with us, even though they were a lot of work. Now we have more time to demonstrate our love and appreciate the times we have been through. And most importantly, I am better able to see things from His Perspective and I’m sure he sees things from mine sometimes too. Maybe it’s hormones? Maybe it’s maturity? Maybe it’s just part of life as women. I still want him to bring flowers, ask me out to dinner, give gifts….but I also understand that he feels pressure when he thinks he is being judged by what he does on holidays. So now I am careful to notice the things he does on his own. And I try to listen and notice when he expresses what he wants and needs. Isn’t that what it’s really all about?

  10. says

    We’ve done nothing to celebrate apart from exchanging cards this morning bit it’s been perfect. I couldn’t want anything more and this post is such a good reminder of this.

  11. Laura Drzemiecki says

    Love that…I agree we share our valentines with our boys on 2/14 and we then have a night on our own on another night. We too exchange cards and no gift giving. The gift is our family :)

    PS..love the website

  12. says

    What a nice reminder and so true! We have it similar at our house too. We always tell each other that we celebrate Valentine’s Day every day and we try to make each day special (sometimes successfully, sometimes not). I think it’s nicer than only appreciating each other one day out of a year? We do like having a glass of wine together in the evenings to give us a chance to talk about our day without interruptions. That’s our special time I look forward to every day.

  13. Pat Wogan says

    I remember the Dr. Phil call. You have a wonderful husband and he has a wonderful wife. You have great children. As Dad and I prepare to celebrate our fortieth anniversary, I wish for you the same happy life…with a few bumps in the road….that we have had. Dad got me a card and chocolates today. I’m glad you and Nick found each other and remember everything that had to happen to bring you together. Love, Mom. Happy Valentine’s Day!

  14. Kelsey R says

    This is the first time I have seen your blog and I love what you wrote, you summed everything up so well. I try to remind myself of these same things every year, some more successfully than others:) I also love how your momma was the first person to comment and what a beautiful comment it was:)

  15. says

    Because of you, we do the same thing, Kristen. I remember you telling me long ago about your family Valentine’s Day dinners, and now we happily have our fancy dinner on Valentine’s Night as a family, just as it should be. As Sean was cooking dinner last night, I was definitely overcome with love for my husband and for my family. Family is love, and that defines Valentine’s Day for us.

    Yesterday, the littles were given hearts at school that said, “Love is….” Summer’s response was: Strong. Love is Strong. Everyone who saw it, loved it. When I told her that I loved it and asked her how she came up with it, she said, “Well, when you are loved by a lot of people, it makes you strong.” Absolutely! Sweet lessons from a five year old! So, to us, celebrating as a family of five just makes love day even stronger. :)

  16. says

    Great post! My husband is not a gift-giver either, and after 15+ years of marriage I am finally okay with that. He shows his love for me in so many other ways. I don’t need overpriced flowers from him to prove it!


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