With Valentine’s Day upon us, in all its flower-gifting, date-planning, and love-soaked glory, it can be difficult not to get wrapped up in the extravagance of the holiday. I was quite struck this year in particular, noticing all the excited talk in the hallways about what everyone had planned for the evening. Some of the more ambitious couples even had whole itineraries planned out to last the whole weekend together. I wanted to take this time to bring some perspective to couples, as well as singles who might be a little love-drunk, on this highly lauded day of romance, so that they might get the most out of their time together. Consider this a cautionary tale.
As I was going about my business earlier this week a friend (we’ll call him H for the purposes of this article), approached me for advice about his girlfriend and the plans he had for her with another couple. H and his beloved have been dating for almost half a year now, and he wanted their first Valentine’s Day to be special. He had a whole dinner planned for the night of Valentine’s Day that he would cook for her. It was when H asked me about whether it was a good idea to request that his girlfriend take an excused absence to drive the five hours down here to campus that I got a bit worried.
He began by telling me about his, and his girlfriend’s, previous horrible experiences on Valentine’s Day and how he wanted this time to be the best it could be for his new girl. This is where my brain stopped working for a second. I had to ask H to repeat his idea. He wanted her to skip class in favor of having more time to spend together? I took a breath and steeled myself for what I knew had to come next. I put a hand on his shoulder and told him that his sentiment was the sweetest thing I’d ever heard and about how many girls would kill to have such a guy so committed that he would want to spend the entire day of Valentine’s Day with her, regardless of cost. Except that H was going about it all wrong. I was really afraid that he would blow it all in his quest to make everything absolutely perfect. As a friend, I knew I couldn’t let H make that mistake. So I gave him a dose of reality, telling him that if he cared, he wouldn’t ask her to make such sacrifices, especially considering that I knew his girlfriend had been having a stressful time with her classes lately and really needed all the time in class she could get. If he really loved her, he would take the responsible path and make a compromise that fit for the both of them.
H came back to me on Tuesday, Feb. 12, absolutely beaming. So I asked him what was so amazing. Barely able to contain his excitement, he told me about how he thought about what I said and talked it over with his girlfriend. They’d agreed upon her getting to campus rather late in the evening on Valentine’s Day, around 9 p.m., for that extravagant dinner I mentioned earlier, and doing everything else they had planned on their double date with another couple who were friends of theirs. It ended up working quite well in the end. Although Valentine’s Day was not as jam-packed with as much fun as H had planned, he was willing to work things out and enjoy what I hope to be a wonderful weekend with a girl he really loves.
Article by James T. Burns