In Defense of the "Ordinary" Valentine's Day Date

by Vanessa Salas

I have a slight aversion to making a big deal out of Valentine's day. Most of it stems from this implicit message that seems to say: you must do something spectacular and memorable and fantastic for the one you love, because they deserve nothing but the best! That means you must treat them to the most expensive restaurant, give them a gazillion roses, max out your credit card for your sweetheart etc. etc.

And if somehow your sweetheart falls short of expectations, that means he or she doesn't love you enough.

Maybe it's just me, but after 12 years with my husband and a kid in tow, the idea of romance has changed (evolved?) quite a bit.

Dressing up to drive all the way to the city so that we can make it in time for our 7pm dinner reservation on February 14 just seems too much of a chore. (And too much traffic to deal with).

What I find romantic are the little things that are often overlooked and sometimes ignored.

Things like:

A leisurely morning in bed in our pajamas while the toddler is quietly engrossed with his puzzles on the floor.

Having my husband finish the laundry while I beat a writing deadline.

My husband babysitting our son so I can have some more "me" time at the mall.

Him picking up the trash without being told to.

Sitting in quiet companionship, he with his smartphone (watching some Youtube movie), me with my iPad (doing the same).

The husband preparing breakfast for the little boy while I take a shower.

Being amazing in, um, the bedroom. 


Some might accuse me of settling for too little, or being too complacent. Or a cheapskate.

Some might say that I should push my husband to prove his love for me by letting him make a big show of it, or shout his devotion from the rooftops for all to see and hear.

But those dramatic firework displays of affection are fleeting. What matters to me are the things he does to try to be a better version of himself, and his encouragement for me to do the same thing. Romantic dinners and weekend getaways are always a welcome respite, but I put a bigger premium on those unseen, quiet gestures of endearment that often go unnoticed. 

I believe that it's those little things that make a marriage, one that will last a lifetime of quiet bliss and fondness and affection.

This Valentine's day, will you be having an all-out celebration, or opt for a quiet night with your special someone?

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Van Salas
Van Salas