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

    I love this post, Kristen, and you even more for sharing it. My husband is one of those that does amazing things all year round and is so sweet with his words every day but doesn’t make a huge deal out of holidays. You have such a great perspective!

  2. says

    GREAT post K! This is EXACTLY how I feel! I’m sure I played into the whole VD expectations when I was young, but as a very happily married woman of 26 years,………..I enjoy all the days he does things and buys me things “just because” NOT because the calendar says he needs to do it.

  3. says

    I’m with you sister. Valentine’s Day is for amateurs. It’s what happens all year long that will take us through the long haul. And I’m so glad you didn’t go on Dr. Phil. OMG, you might not be married anymore if you did!

  4. says

    Sounds like a good hubby to me! Vday has always seemed silly to me, but it does make you feel good to feel special. I think getting something on a random day, even if it is small and unexpected is better than anything I could get Vday :-)

  5. says

    Kristen, thank you for sharing. I adore this story of classic personal growth in married life. Expressing our love and appreciation for “all the little things” our husbands do is all they need to keep giving. Marriage really is all about giving. I receive and enjoy “little Valentine cards” and kisses every day. I’m immensely grateful for each and every single one and make sure The Big Lug knows it! xoxo P.S. So glad you didn’t go on Dr. Phil!

  6. Jackie Davis says

    Love this story! Both you and Nick are so lucky to have found each other. What a beautiful family you have. Love that you celebrate Valentines day as a family event. We do the same.

  7. says

    Yes, yes, yes! Although, that would have been great to have seen a clip of you on Dr. Phil! “How’s that workin’ for ya?” 😉

    I think movies & TV play a huge role in our expectations as well. And that’s FICTION!!! Haha!

    Hope you and your sweetie had a happy valentine’s day!

  8. says

    Amen Sistah! I went through a period also with Ken, where I was just ticked about his lack of loving me through gifts on the days assigned that he should do so! Come on….we gotta keep up with the Jones, right?! But then I like you realized what a lucky gal I am and backed off. Sorry but I sorta got the giggles about the what if of you going on Dr. Phil. xoxox

  9. says

    I love this story!! I had no idea!!! Too funny. I am in a similar situation. I always get roses on Valentine’s Day but I would like it on June 20th or September 27th for no reason. :-) Has it happened? No. But at least the laundry and dishes are getting done. 😉 xo


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